I made my way down the stairs in search of the child belonging to the stray sock in my hand. Flustered, I looked around the living room as the minutes ticking down to the opening of church service. My son stood in the middle of the living room, beaming, “Hey mom! Do you like it?” I looked around the living room. Where an hour before there had been dirty clothes and toys had been strewn across the room, I could now see carpet. The once messy dining room could now be easily traversed and holy moly, all the dirty laundry was in a pile in the corner.
“Dude!” I exclaimed. His smile only widened and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see his chest puff out just a bit. “You were such a big help! Sundays are crazy! Thank you so much for cleaning up.”
He practically burst from excitement as he declared, “Yep! I did it withoutcha even asking me!”
I don’t know about you, but Sundays at my house are insane. Getting five children, plus myself ready and presentable for the public is always quite the feat. The last thing I want to do on the “day of rest” is walk back into a house that looks like a bomb went off inside. Even so, many a Sunday that’s exactly what happens and without fail I find myself snapping at my littles because I want a clean house and clean kids and for heavens sake a a clean me. Thankfully, this one Sunday morning, Roman pitched in without being asked and in doing so completely blessed not only his mama, but his sisters as well.
Learning to serve is a huge part of growing up, but serving starts at home. When you’re a boy in a house full of girls (well, any house really) one of the best ways to show service is to help with the chores. Mamas, can I just tell you that by teaching your son to PITCH IN and help without being asked will not only bless you in the present, but will bless your son’s future roommates at college and eventually his wife. I’ve found that giving my son responsibility (and using that word) has only allowed him to flourish. Don’t get me wrong, we still have plenty of days where I’m mumbling about such and such on the floor and he won’t pick them up, but we’re starting–just starting to get the hang of this helping with the cleaning/laundry/household chores thing.
- Encourage/compel your son(s) to help out with age-appropriate tasks all over the house. A toddler can help fold the laundry (though really, I skip this because I just want the laundry folded) or maybe a better recommendation would be that they can help gather all the dirty clothes up…that’s sounds more realistic (for my house at least).
- Vary their responsibilities…yes, they may cut the grass, but also teach them to wash the dishes. Putting away clean laundry can be interchanged with carrying in the groceries or helping with dinner prep.
- Praise initiative. Even if your son’s execution of a task doesn’t turn out so well, be sure to praise the fact that they took initiative, that they saw a need and filled it without being told. In the beginning you will have to prompt your son, however when they do take the initiative, be sure to recognize it and laud it regardless of the outcome. This is also great training for later in life when our sons start to realize that God doesn’t call us to be successful, he calls us to obedience.
Thank you so much for these gifts that are my sons. Please help me to take advantage of the times they can help without worrying about how much faster I could do it without them. Help me praise attempts and not success. Help me encourage initiative and not perfection. Lord, please bless them and bless the women they will someday serve with these skills. In Jesus name, Amen.
- Name one chore you could incorporate into your son’s daily routine that would serve no purpose other than to serve his siblings?
- What’s one area in which your son shows initiative?
- How could you encourage your son to see an opportunity and rise to the occasion?
Kristina is a single mom of five kids whose house is rarely clean and whose heart is full. In between work and kids she grasps snippets of fleeting time to write a little here, edit a little there, and sneak chocolate after dark. Reading is her favorite past-time, but you’ll also find her netflixing it up (yes, that’s an expression) on her couch. She has four girls and one son, bless his heart. You can pray for him.