“Children need to learn how to do things which they do not want to do, when those things ought to be done.”
So says H. Clay Trumbull in his book Hints On Child Training.
This quote is a good reminder when I get concerned about making my children work too hard.
We had snow this week. Lots and lots of snow.
Have you ever read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder? I was living it this week! (though on a much smaller scale) There was much shoveling and moving of snow to be done. My husband was out of town and, thus, unable to help. So it was up to me and the kids to plow through the drifts in our yard, and, truth be told, I left most of the work to the kids (though I did help out a couple of times). Mind you, the children were plenty old enough to tackle the job. The youngest is thirteen.
I felt a twinge of guilt as I worked in the warm house (cooking lunch and doing laundry) while they scooped snow out in the cold. They even helped scoop the neighbors’ driveways.
Bless their hearts.
Am I being mean, I wondered, having them doing this?
Am I asking too much of them?
Trumbull would say no:
“Older people have to do a great many things from a sense of duty. Unless children are trained to recognize duty as more binding than inclination, they will suffer all their lives through from their lack of discipline in this direction.”
I don’t want my children to suffer, but I would rather have them suffer with sore muscles that come from a hard day’s work than from indolent inclinations. As they get older there will be many things that they must do that they don’t want to do. Better to learn a little hardship now than have to learn it as an adult. Besides, there was a big pot of hot chocolate and an enormous amount of appreciation to be had when they were through!
The guilt was there as I checked on them through the frosty windows.
Lord, help me to remember that your word says to “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Pr. 22:6)