Teaching Responsibility to Our Children
Another year of school is behind us. The beautiful days of summer have come! Children are free from the responsibilities of homework. In my visits to homes, I’ve been asking older children and teens, “So, what are you doing this summer?” Most sound bored already! “Oh, I dunno”, some say. Others say, “Play games on my phone” or simply “nothin’.”
I remember eagerly looking forward to summer holidays. I had ambitions, hopes but also opportunities to do things I had no time for during the school year. Part of that is because my parents, even in their busy schedule, took initiative to spend time with us – even if it was at home. They encouraged us to think and plan creatively.
But one big reason we looked forward to ‘special times’ is because they taught us to be responsible with our use of time. The way they did that was by giving extra responsibilities in the summer holidays. We were given responsibilities year around, but tasks were multiplied in the summer. The thinking was, “you don’t sit around. Use your time constructively!” We had to help out extra in the house and also outside of the house, whether cleaning, pulling out weeds in the garden or helping dad with his work. We dared not complain. We were to participate in family life together. that made our free times all the more special and something to look forward to.
"Working hard” never hurt us as children. We were given more responsibilitis when we were teens. We were given responsibilities because our parents wanted to prepare us for life and help us to develop a strong work ethic. We wanted to pass on the same ethic to our children – shoveling snow, doing dishes, weeding the garden, mowing the lawn, doing newspaper routes. This eventually prepared them to earn some money by working for others in the neighborhood. It required strong discipline but it was worth it. They learned the value of work and the hard-earned dollar.
But our guiding principle for teaching responsibility to our children was God’s Word, the Bible. God created us to image Him in three ways: resting, working and relating. Our fall into sin severely distorted His image in us, but through faith in Christ God renews His image in us.