My mother loves a clean and tidy house. Having been brought up in a house, where women were happily engaged in all sorts of productive activities, from sewing bridal dresses to cooking culinary delights, she has come to expect nothing less from her daughters. Thus, my two sisters and I have been trained – in combat style – by our mother, to juggle our studies along with household chores. It is fun, although I must confess that it is not always smooth sailing.
Not many youngsters are lucky enough to be brought up in a similar manner. With so many families relying entirely on maids for housekeeping, a lot of teenagers, girls and boys, often do not have many domestic duties. I believe they miss out on a very important phase of character development. Occasional housework drills a lot of humility into a person and makes us realize, how hard our poor maids have to work, in order to keep the cutlery gleaming and the surfaces polished.
Getting kids to play a role – even a small one – in housekeeping, is only going to prepare them in dealing more effectively with difficulties and responsibilities that come in later life. A particular Mr. X would be less likely to pick on his food, if he has spent some time in the hot kitchen, learning to cook a dish or two. There are countless situations, where our domestic skills will help us out and prevent us from blowing our top. I have noticed how housekeeping teaches you these skills and virtues:
When you have to do the cleaning before the guests arrive, there is no delaying it. It would hardly leave a good impression, if you are inconspicuously trying to wipe off the dust on the center table in front of the company.
One sibling usually becomes the leader and divides the work to maintain peace and order during housework. How to manage and divide chores is important for future teamwork projects, because one has to put up with similar complaints and fusses that one would encounter during a cleanup Sunday.
Well, cleaning something over and over again, knowing that it’s going to get dirty soon, is bound to make you a little patient if anything – take a mirror, for example, which has a natural affinity to greasy spots and fingerprints.
Respect for your mother
…for all the years she did your laundry without complaints.
Ability to bear with your boss
Just imagine your boss to be an evil dust bunny, who just needs an extra brushing every once in a while to get him all shiny and sweet. If he is not happy with an assignment, improve upon it – for when a stain does not go with an ordinary cleaner, you have to take out the extra powerful one sitting underneath the sink.
Learning to deal with great expectations
Sometimes, the amount of housework you do is just not enough, and your mother will surely expect more from you as you grow. Isn’t it the same with life? As you grow, the world starts expecting more from you. Since “high achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation”, we need to learn to deal with those expectations. Housekeeping teaches us just that.
Everyone knows how frenzied that one moment is, when the bell suddenly rings on a lazy Sunday afternoon and you take a peek through the eye-piece to see a couple of formal guests standing at the doorstep. All hell breaks loose, as you frantically run all over the place, wiping surfaces and stuffing clothes in the cupboards, while also trying to get into shape yourself. Now, does this situation not teach you how to deal with a crisis?
So, the next time you think you will be overburdening your kid by asking her to take out the trash or by asking him to do the dishes, just stop and realize how those chores could actually teach him/her the importance of producing less garbage (to reduce his chore time and save the planet, of course) and being grateful for a clean plate. These chores seem insignificant right now but will play a huge role in shaping your child’s character in the long run.