Why is it important for families to work together? I mean what kid thinks that doing house work or yard work as a family is the best way to spend their time? While it may not seem like the funnest activity, families that work together build closer bonds and have better relationships. Yes, there will probably be complaining of some sort or frustration, but it helps families in ways that are very subtle. The time cleaning or weeding the garden together is extra time that we get to spend with each other. These are great excuses to check in with everyone and have fun, meaningful conversations. It could take years for children to recognize this, but I think that eventually they will. I just want to talk about a few different things relating to family work.
First, parents do not need a perfect system for doing chores. Wait what?? Isn’t have a perfect system the only way chores get done? I believe each family is unique and each week will have unique circumstances and that is why there isn’t just one perfect system parents should follow when it comes to chores. Kathleen Slaugh Bahr says,
“Individuals and families, with diligence and through inspiration, can discover better ways to solve their earthy challenges than anything a leader or so-called expert could impose. Each family can prayerfully evaluate their family work practices and in light of gospel principles make changes that will eventually bring great joy.”
Involve the spirit to help make decisions about chores and what will work best for your family. Also, ask your children for their opinions. This could help ease some tension when it comes to fulfilling the tasks that need to be done. Family work should be done with attentive love. Parents need to be aware of why their children are acting a certain way. Also, be willing to work with your children in the tasks you ask them to do. “Helping a child pick up toys, then cuddling with her, connects her to the family; requiring him to clean his room alone isolates him” (Bahr). Love can help to connect parents and children together, which can lead them to helping each other with and being excited about family work.
Second, all family members are vital to family work. There will be more happiness as each family member participates in the work. Sometimes it may seem easier for mom’s to just do all the work instead of continually asking the children to help. However, President Monson has said,
“Mothers, share household duties. It is often easier to do everything yourself than to persuade your children to help, but it is so essential for them to learn the importance of doing their share.”
I believe that it is so important for children to learn how to work in their home because they will then be prepared for work outside of their home. Children will learn to take responsibility as they are encouraged and asked to do work in the home.
Third, family work becomes a joyful blessing when not seen as a burden. Make work fun! Use chores as an excuse to make up a new game or see who can clean their room the fastest. Making work fun will encourage children to continue to do is as they grow older. Also, what we teach our children will probably be passed down to their children so we have a responsibility to set the tone of how family work will be seen in future generations to come. Bahr said, “The daily rituals of family work are the Lord’s gift and blessing to all people and cultures, providing daily opportunities for parents to teach while working alongside their children, for husbands to draw closer to their wives, and for siblings to bond while they work together to serve the family. Daily rituals of cooking, packing lunches, washing dishes, making beds, folding laundry, weeding gardens, sweeping floors, and countless other prosaic tasks are the invisible glue that can bind families together. Instead of asking how to make such work go away, parents should ask how to use it to increase love and joy in their families.”
I know growing up my parents did a great job in each of these areas. They expected us to do family work, but they showed it in a loving way. From their examples and lessons about work I have been prepared for life. I know how to work and the importance of work because of my parents. Looking back some of the best family conversations have come from everyone weeding the garden together or folding the laundry. Because of how I was raised I now enjoy cleaning and laundry or other forms of work around the house because of the memories growing up. I hope to teach my children the importance of family work as my parents taught me. I also encourage everyone to think about your families and how to best include your children into the work that needs to be done. Family work is a great way to increase relationships and love within families.
Click here for a great video about family work!