It’s officially summer. Time for swimsuits, popsicles, fireflies, and…chores. I’m always relieved when school gets out. I can step back, breathe a little, and take more time to teach my kids the things I want to–and the things I feel I should.
Chores fall into this latter category. They aren’t always fun to enforce. A little nagging and complaining just goes with the territory. But they’re worth it, right? After all, chores teach self-discipline, time-management, life skills, and teamwork. All good things, but I’ve found that looking beyond the obvious benefits of chores is motivating me to persevere in my efforts to teach my children well.
Already this summer, I’ve discovered four spiritual benefits of maintaining a chore routine:
- It emphasizes the Sabbath
One Monday morning, my seven-year-old daughter suddenly said, “Mommy! We didn’t do our chores yesterday!” Her comment started a conversation about the importance of resting and taking a break from our regular routine on Sundays. We also talked about how some chores, like cooking and dishes, still need to be done–we just try our best to only do work that is truly a necessity. The routine of daily chores during the week helps us to better make Sunday special and holy–a day set apart for God and family.
2. It supports a prayer routine
Chores provide some routine to our summer days. In building a schedule for cleaning toilets, polishing windows, and mopping floors, we also include time for regular prayer–at least a Morning Offering and mealtime prayers together. The discipline of a chore routine carries over into the discipline of a prayer routine–and helps us to remember that prayer is an essential part of our day.
3. It connects body and soul
We were created for work. Work is good. God worked to create the planets, animals, and us. Adam and Eve worked in the Garden of Eden even before the fall. Work gives us purpose. It connects the ideas of our minds and the longings of our souls with the motions of our bodies. It reminds us of our humanity while revealing the divinity of our creativity. My children sometimes complain about their chores, but I am often surprised by their enthusiasm in attacking them. By contributing to the beauty of our home and the welfare of our family, they feel valued. They discover for themselves that they are unique and unrepeatable images of God.
4. It helps us better appreciate God’s gift of leisure
There are days when everyone is weary, when everyone is grumpy, when everyone truly needs a break. A spontaneous trip to the beach or pool, a morning spent hiking a nature trail, or an entire weekend get-away becomes truly special amidst the routine of daily life. We’re more grateful for the vacation, and ready to return to the security of work and routine once we are refreshed.
Chores help us to find God, appreciate the gifts He gives us, and be more human. Persevere, and work on!
Copyright 2016 Charisse Tierney
Photo by Condesign via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain