Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Blessing of Work

Pure Hearts, by Liv Carson, from Lovely Whatevers

Getting house work done in a timely manner can be quite a challenge with small children underfoot, but it can be managed. Just incorporate the children into the tasks and elongate the time it will take to do them.

Children love activity, and to them, tagging along with their mother is like play time. They actually do not know that shucking corn or pulling up weeds is work. They love organization and they are happier when their mother is busy. Of course the mother has to have the instinct to know when it makes more sense to sit and hold her child or to pay total attention to him.

Take the playpen into rooms you are working in and have the other children entertain the baby, peeking over the bed and sharing toys, playing peek-a-boo, and laughing. Older children can be told, "I'm cleaning house today, so bring your favorite toy or book and come along." Some of them can help, and others can be quiet and wait, others can be busy with a project of their own. Keeping them in the room where you are working, helps you get the job done without running back and forth to supervise the children or rescue them from some trouble.

All children, even a toddler, can help in house work, and it is very good for them. It is actually not good for children to grow up in a home where they are served constantly and where everything is focused on their comfort and their happiness. In helping with the housework, whether they are drying the plastic plates or putting away the spoons, they are being taught to work for the good of others, and not just themselves. By the time a mother has raised several children, she needs to be a supervisor, and let the children do the work.

Mothers have to delight in their work in order to give the children a healthy concept of work. God gave us work so that we would be happy, and the Bible says that in all labor, there is profit. The results of labor is sometimes the only reward we need, as we see the house looking better and the children appreciating it more. So, when working, it isn't too smart to act like a martyr, moaning and groaning and complaining. If you want children to love work, you have to at least act like you enjoy it and find something good about it. They will usually grow up having the same attitudes as the parents. Discussing the importance of work while employing your children, will give them family "sayings" to remember, when they are grown, sayings that will be quotes to live by, precious to them.

Helen Keller:
I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.

John W. Gardner:
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

Pearl S. Buck:
The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

Rudyard Kipling:
Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made By singing: -- "Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade.


Lydia said...

Somehow I clicked the wrong thing on this post and lost the comment area. It is fixed now for comments!

Lynn said...

What a lovely post - and so true.

You made me think of people I have known; women who were excellent home-makers from whom I can not remember a single complaint. And then I remembered less than good housekeepers who I can remember regularly complaining about the boredom of homekeeping jobs. Those ladies happy with their routines had better kept homes and they were happier homes too.

Kelli said...

This is so true. I have seen the children of such homes grow up and become useful and happy adults who can turn their hand to almost anything. Homemakers that enjoy their work also pass on a positive attitude about work to their children. I enjoyed your quotes today - especially Helen Keller's. What an inspiring lady!

Anonymous said...

We think a lot alike. I posted this article on my blog. But you have such a sweet way of saying things. YOur posts make me feel peaceful.


Anonymous said...

Good lesson. I've become better and better at getting my kids involved with work around the house. And they love helping. But good tip to remember to elongate the time needed for the task!

~ Ann

Anonymous said...

I love this!...and the quotes that followed as well. It seems to me I heard that plumbing & philosophy one somewhere before. I have a friend that struggles right now to get things done with small children around (and unfortunately, complains a good deal about her housework), & this article is something that may help her. You've addressed the actual doing of the work, but more importantly, you've focused on attitude!

many thanks,

Mrs. K's Lemonade Stand said...

Even animals like dogs enjoy having work to do. I think it is in God’s plan that we feel content when we “earn” our days.

Anonymous said...

You make some very good points. I can't imagine it is very common, but I grew up in a home where my homemaker mother waited on us as if she were a servant. She was a very capable homemaker and did everything without complaint, but she thought the best gift she could give me as her daughter was to do whatever I want.

I am ashamed to say I took complete advantage of this--threw my clothes anywhere throughout the house, left dirty dishes around, I would not even put a piece or rubbish in the bin because it did not occur to me! Everything was just "magically" kept up, and I did not know any better.

When I got married (at a young age; I went from my parents' house to my new home with my husband) I could not do a thing. I was not even aware of things like dusting, or that dirty dishes will mold and attract insects if you let them pile up, or that bathrooms do not clean themselves.

Our home was absolutely slovenly for the first year (and I have always been at home) -- while my mother would "help" by cleaning when she visited because I could never figure out how to manage things! By the second year of marriage we had moved further from family, and I discovered a world of homemaking books at the library which I devoured. Cleaning, decorating, cooking, time management, I read so many books and incorporated their tips into my days.

Now after 14 years, I have long had a neat home and a very organized schedule for daily life. Being a homemaker really is my vocation, and one that I love. But such a rough start! My dear mother meant well; she wanted to give me an easy, carefree girlhood because she's always felt that her own mother worked her too hard, but this actually makes a child lazy and selfish, and handicapped when it comes time to care for her own home and raise her own children up right.

JKaye said...

Your mention of a playpen reminds me of when I would work in my vegetable garden when my children were babies, and they would play in the playpen under a tree while I worked. I also have a precious photo of my son playing with his trucks and cars in the dirt pathways of the garden, with plants towering above him.

Unfortunately, their father and I divorced, and I had to go to work, and they went to daycare. Our time together became more was limited, and I came home tired in the evenings. I still tried to teach them household tasks, but there was not as much time for it.

Now they are 21 and 23, and share a rental house together while they work and go to college. Sometimes I long for their childhoods, and wish we could repeat the years so we could have more time together and less stress. But, I feel so grateful that I am not working now, and both of them regularly stop by. They see me working in the vegetable garden, doing work around the house, and I have time to visit with them and share some bits and pieces of information. How I thank God for the time we have together now!

(I also worked in a daycare for awhile, and it isn't necessarily a place where children learn how to work. Sometimes adults do way too much for them, and they become spoiled and surly.)

Anonymous said...

This is a lovely and timely article! My six-year-old son does many chores well, and my 14-month old daughter puts her clothes in the hamper, brings what we ask of her, and puts her toys away if we show her where we want them to go. They work alongside me with their own dustcloths and brooms when it's time to clean. It is never too early to teach a child the value of a clean and well-ordered home!

Sue said...

So true. My sweet Mama spent most of our time at home visiting with her lady friends and didn't have much time for my little sis and I. As a result we had to learn the hard way to actually Keep A House.
It just blesses my heart to read these lovely posts that you write so beautifully that teaches a better way than having to waste so much time learning by trial and error.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

It is definately in our attitude that our children will learn the most. If we show them how we dislike our work, they will do likewise. Thank you for your insight.



Mrs. Anna T said...

My husband remembers how his mother used to have the children in the kitchen with her. She sang while she cooked or washed dishes. All her children grew up to be responsible, hard-working adults, always ready to lend a helping hand. I don't think it could have happened if my m-i-l would constantly grumble and complain about having to wash the dishes!

Nicole said...

I can't *wait* until most of my work during the day is housework! As I posted previously, I am working hard at getting home. It kills me to leave the house every morning with so much undone, project never gotten to, and even basic chores behind as I only have so much time and energy in the day after working 35 hrs a week.

This morning I nearly broke down into tears, actually. I had to leave town for five days as my sister had an emergency C-section and her newborn is in ICU, and when I got home, there was just SO MUCH to do. But of course I had to get up this morning and get into work.

I can't *wait* to be home! Thanks, as always, for the encouraging blog Lady Lydia.

Kimberline said...


I hope you can soon be at home. It obviously is where your heart is.

Also, I hope your sister is making a good recovery and that her baby is growing stronger as well. I hope this NICU stay is very short lived and baby comes home healthy and strong very soon.

I prayed for you, Nicole, that God would bless you with the desire of your heart to be able to stay in your home and not have to work outside it.

Thanks for sharing. Your post reminded me just how fortunate I am. I wish every woman who has the desire to be at home would be able to find some way to do it. I am so grateful for the huge blessing it is that I am able to be a keeper in my home on a full time basis.

Mimi said...

Great thoughts!

Nicole said...


Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and prayers. I so appreciate them and my sister's little boy is doing well... all signs point to progress and well-being, but he'll still be in the NICU for a few weeks at least. The exciting thing is the way the Lord is using this time to draw my family, none of whom yet know the Lord, to Himself. My father, a life-time atheist, confessed this weekend he knows there must be a God because of all the miracles taking place in this little boy's young life. God is good.

Thanks again for the prayers and encouragement... I can't wait to be home, and am making the best of the time I have at home for now.

Blessings, ladies,


Unknown said...

My children have been taught to work at home since they could walk. Picking up clothes, toys or whatever. I even trained them to ask if there is anything that needs to be done. After we are done doing the cleaning I always make the comments how nice the house looks, job well done & thank you. I feel this makes our home run smoothly and they have more free time. They are pretty creative. Make we have a happy home.