The Curly Head writes an essay, goes to school

January 25, 2018 Rhonda Schrock Rhonda's Posts

The other day, I took a phone call from The Cub’s teacher. She was teaching persuasive writing and after scouring the internet for examples, she’d come up empty. Could I help, she wondered? And could I talk to the children about writing?

Sure, I said. So I did.

After some deliberation, I picked my topic, did my own homework, and went to the fifth grade to present. With four boys of my own, I thought perhaps I could sell it..

Imagine a world without chores. When I was a girl growing up on the Kansas prairie, I hated those chores. A world where chores didn’t exist, where I could read books all day or go to the farm to play with the cousins? It seemed like the perfect kind of life.

Oddly enough, my parents didn’t agree. They just couldn’t see how all those jobs they gave me were interfering with my happiness. My entirely reasonable arguments against such unjust treatment only earned me a stare as though I’d just babbled the Pledge of Allegiance in Greek. And then they’d give me—you guessed it—another chore.

Cruel slave drivers that they were, they forced me to cook. To bake. To clean the house. To iron for hours in the dungeon (okay, down in the basement), along with many other jobs.

“It will teach you responsibility!” they said.

“It will help you succeed!” they said.

“You will thank us one day!” they said.

“Oh, sure,” I said with an eye roll and a sniff you could hear in Pittsburgh.

Then I grew up, got married, and had four boys of my own, and all at once I loved children and chores. Because I could cook, my children got to eat. Because I could bake, my children got treats. Because I could clean and take care of the house, my children stayed healthy and wore fresh, unwrinkled clothes.

I know it seems like chores are a waste of time and that watching TV and playing video games would be the perfect life. Just imagine, though, if your parents did that or (what about this?) if the President of the United States did that? There’d be no one to run the country, all the children would be hungry, and no one would have clean underwear.

Of course, all of my boys complained about doing chores. They made their own “reasonable arguments” against pulling weeds, scrubbing toilets, folding laundry, and sweeping rugs, a few of the skills they’ve all learned.

Of course, they’ve called me a slave driver, and of course I’ve said to them what my parents said to me. “It will teach you responsibility. It will help you succeed. You will thank me one day.”

Chores matter, and so does being responsible. When we do our chores without complaining and we do them really well, we’re contributing something important to our families. That gives us self-respect, and it builds our self-esteem.

One day, you will grow up, go to college, start careers, and have families of your own. If you are faithful in doing the small chores you’re given today, you will be ready with the character and skills you’ll need to succeed. Even if you’re elected as president.

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