Monday, July 15, 2013


I took the kids to the doctor last week for their well-children check-ups. Good news: they're pretty well. One is pretty big for his age, and one is relatively small. One had to get one shot, and the other had to get two. And the recommendations from the doc for both were the same:
  • Practice fire drills
  • Keep applying sunscreen regardless of perceived futility as determined by translucent complexions
  • Assign chores
It's the third recco that I learned about for this blog entry.  Chores.  There were massive wars in my childhood home over our chores.  I remember crying, screaming, and name-calling.  I was called the names by my dad - I don't think I called anyone any names.

A google search indicates that most parenting mags and informational websites seem to think that chores are a great idea.  I found chore charts, chore whiteboards, and chore apps.  In theory, I like the idea of chores.  But, my problem is that I just want the jobs to be done as they need to be, not on some irrelevant time table for allowance.  If I need help with the laundry, I ask someone to help.  Similarly, I ask someone to take a bag of recycling out or get the mail.  Do I need a chart?  I read a famous essay that seems to be used in many a college comp course by Jane Smiley called, "The Case Against Chores".  Her deal is that the work has to be meaningful and interesting for the kids in order to be beneficial.  She says, "Good work is not the work we assign to children but the work they want to do."

She doesn't say what happens when they don't want to do any work.  So, I'm still wondering about that.


LH said...

I don't know why it bugs me that chores came up as a topic at a well child visit. Just focus on their milk drinking and their inner ears, I'm tempted to say. Chores?

Probably a sore point because we weren't chore oriented. Kids are awesome adults. They do tend a bit toward the messy side. Alas. Oh well. Water under the bridge.

LH said...

I read the Smiley essay and liked it a lot.