Children often complain about homework and chores. Too much of the time they do these things unwillingly, grudgingly. Parents need to coax, chide and threaten before their child’s responsibilities are complete. Moaning and groaning ensue. In the end, most parents see to it that children learn to be responsible, but they are baffled about how to encourage a better attitude in them.
In this week’s Torah portion, the Israelites offer materials and skills to build the sanctuary. However, not everyone has to give, only “everyone whose heart makes him willing”. The people of Israel ultimately give freely and generously with an open heart, each contributing what they can in order to build the sacred sanctuary. In the end, there is more than enough.
In an ideal world, children would fulfill their responsibilities with a “willing heart” instead of whining and complaining their way through their chores. But parents have enough on their plates to see to it that children do what they have to do. No one can really force someone else to have a better attitude. The best that parents can do to is to reason with their children and to model how they themselves fulfill responsibilities. Do they do so with a heavy heart, with complaints, or do what they have to do, gladly and willingly? The more open-hearted and willing parents are, the more they can show their children how to live willingly, even joyfully, amidst the serious obligations of life.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the way they feel about their chores and obligations.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
- Which chores are hardest for you? Why?
- Which parts of your homework are hardest for you? Why? What would
help you get through it?
- Why are chores and obligations important to do?
- Could resisting chores be a habit? Could you develop a better attitude if you wanted?
By Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses
Values & Ethics: Through a Jewish Lens is created to bring values/ethics of Judaism into family discussions.