Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom is talking about The Road to Avonlea television series, now available on DVD, which she just loves. As a Canadian, it's great to hear praise of it!
Anyway, for those of you who don't know, it's set in Anne of Green Gables' neck of the woods at the turn of the last century. Sandra explains much of this, but what I want to pick up on is a comment she made. She said,
Watching the series you see young girls who by the age of 9 or 10 can cook, sew, embroider, take care of little ones and pretty much run a household, which then makes me understand why in the early 1900's they got married a lot earlier and
younger than we do now.
The boys helped the fathers with all of the physical work done in the farms and the ranches and this was all done before school, when today I can barely get Jasmine dressed and out of the house for school, imagine if she had to go milk a cow or gather eggs or clean the stables before hand? LOL
That is so interesting. Children in earlier times, and in different parts of the world, have far more responsibility than ours do. They used to have chores. Many of them! Not just making their beds. They learned to look after themselves. And they were richer for it.
I think one of the reasons that 14 and 15-year-olds in eras past didn't try to "find themselves" in the same numbers as today's teens do is that they already knew they were useful, and they had a purpose. They learned to think outside of themselves.
When kids do chores, they learn that other people rely on them; that they are expected to contribute to the family; that their work is useful. They learn that they can master something important, and that they must think about the effect of their own effort, or lack of effort, on other people.
Our children, on the other hand, live a very self-centred existence. From the moment they're born, our lives revolve around them, rather than the other way around. We take them to play dates, put them in kindergym and kindermusic, and then they go to school where they learn all about self-esteem.
As parents, we need to start getting back to the idea that children need responsibilities. Their lives should not revolve around entertainment. I think kids who do have responsibility and learn to care for the home actually end up less depressed and less rebellious because they are less self-focused. So our kids do a lot of chores. And we expect them to volunteer at church and with caring for younger kids. What about you? What do you think?
Labels: adolescence, chores, parenting