Monday, November 11, 2013

Their Job is to Play

Mike is a hard worker. He began "working" for a construction company at 12 years old, and working has been a passion of his ever since. His choice of activity is often physical labor. My work efforts are the antithesis of his. It isn't that I don't work, I just don't enjoy it. I do a job because it needs doing, and derive little satisfaction from the actual labor of it.

Somehow, despite the differences in mine and Mike's work ethics, teaching our children to learn to work has always been a priority to both of us. Fortunately a few of our children have turned out to be a little more like Mike, and enjoy working hard. Regardless of our children's ability to work hard, and even like it at times, they are still children, and they attempt to negotiate after-school chores, and weekend Cleaning Hour more than I think they should.

This week was a week like that. It seemed every chore chart sat untouched on the magnet board on the kitchen wall. No check marks noted a job completed, and it seemed more discarded underwear and dirty clothes than usual graced the bedroom floors. One morning this last week, as the children left the house for school, after the hugs, kisses and goodbyes were given, I very firmly announced, "Oh and Cleaning Hour will be done TODAY as soon as you get home." (I'm a nice farewell bidding mother like that.)

I'm not sure what day Cleaning Hour got done (or if it even happened) this week...

You see, the weather has been glorious lately, and considering we are approaching mid-November, there is no guarantee how long it will last.

As much as I say our children are hard workers, they also have an ability to PLAY hard like few children I know do. We never have to beg our children to go outside and get fresh air and exercise. We never have to ask our children to unplug from technology and use their imaginations. In fact, we have to do the opposite.

As the early fall sun sets, instead of allowing a child to turn on the back patio light, we suggest they come inside. Instead of always using their imaginations (forts are being built in my family room as I type this), we suggest they get some computer practice and do something on the computer, or I put an ipad in front of them for a reading practice game.

Perhaps the glorious fall weather, and the "play hard" personalities of my children are one of the reasons my house seems a little more like a tip than usual. (Haven't used that English word in a LONG time...) Last Friday afternoon, I watched Drew and his little cousin play in the back yard. Their imaginations and their choice of activities captivated my attention. A smile crept onto my face as I watched wood chips fly over their heads and I found myself having a major a-ha moment as I exclaimed aloud to myself, "Their job is to PLAY!"

Obviously, Cleaning Hour can't be skipped too many weeks in a row. Work, specifically housework is a necessary component of real life and family life. But I'm going to relax a little more, especially while the temperatures outside hover a little above average.

A child's main job is to PLAY.
So this last week, instead of opening the back door and calling children in to empty the trash, or set the table, I opened the back door more to watch them playing.
A child's main job is to PLAY!!
I need to not lose sight of that.
(Yes...that would be Luke playing football from a goat pen wearing his BMX riding clothes.)

(This teenage girl scene certainly entertained mowing the lawn, the other walking a goat?!)


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