Getting Kids Involved

Jonathan with a rooster he prepared for dinner.

My 10 year-old son Jonathan can go out to the chicken coop and put a roasted chicken on the table in a few hours.  He can go out to the barn and bring 3 quarts  of goats’ milk in for the family in an hour.  He can bring home a fish dinner from the pond and can grow just about any vegetable needed in the home. 

How do we get kids involved?

The biggest problem with parents today is the love of money.  They are more worried about losing $5 worth of milk than seeing their children learn adult skills.   They would rather do all the work so that not a crumb of bread is lost than let the kids gain experience with real work.  I say it is the love of money that causes this problem in modern families because what is ultimately determining what the kids do is not what is good for them, but what is best for Dad’s wallet.  That is immoral.  Money, if needed, is needed for the family…like soap it is earned to be used for good purposes, not saved for its own sake.  However, behind the love of money is (a) a lack of trust in God’s providence and (b) an aversion to work.

To train up mature and skilled children, we must sacrifice money and resources.  Jonathan has spilled buckets full of milk, has broken tools, has broken eggs–and much more–but that was simply the cost of his education in self-sufficiency. It is nothing compared to the cost of a college education that gives far, far less.  In fact, most college graduates can’t provide themselves with food as Jonathan can.  When a boy learns how simply food can be procured, he is set free from all anxieties of life and life becomes easy.  

We have to trust that God will provide for our needs and that our needs include the wasted resources needed for the training of our children.  We have to embrace and enjoy rather try to escape hard, physical work.  It is good for our souls to work unto exhaustion.  It is the penance God assigned all men for original sin and is a necessary part of our salvation.  Rather than fall for the lure of conveniences and vacations, put some overalls on and work.  You will be surrounded with fruits on every side and all the misery of trying to live without spending any money or doing any work will disappear.  This, is what they call “the good life”–a life with a table full of bread from the sweat of our brow, accepting the curse of the Garden of Eden and looking forward to the Paradise that awaits.  It is a life of satisfying work and full of hope.  From that satisfaction and hope, all joy proceeds.  Therefore, it is a life of singing and celebration…not because everything is wonderful…but because it is will be and ain’t all that bad today!

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4 Responses to Getting Kids Involved

  1. Jessica B says:

    My children, my sons especially, are so eager for hard physical work and are happiest when they’ve been given the opportunity for such work. During our move, they were right by our sides hauling, sorting, cleaning, scrubbing. We had workers out nearly daily for the month prior to our sale working on various things for us. They ALL marveled and commented on our children’s work ethic. “How do you get them to do this? My kids would NEVER do this.” I said, “We are a family and we work together. Besides, if they don’t work, they don’t eat.” Stunned silence followed.

    This “good life” you speak of is exactly what we are on the brink of beginning. We’ve now sold our home and rid ourselves of useless possessions. We are now praying…searching…hoping to find the right place to begin our journey. Our temporary housing affords us the time to think and pray about what the Lord would have us do (how much to spend, how far to go, how much to buy, etc.)

    We are gathering advice according to the book of Sirach; advice from men who keep God’s commandments and who are living a life of simple self-sufficiency. We are blessed to know a few such men and, of course, we visit Villa Pacis! (We are also trying to remember who NOT to seek advice from as we seek out a good place to begin the “good life”.)

    St. Joseph, pray for us.

  2. Kristin Knight says:

    What kind of daily chores do your kids have at their ages? Indoor chores? Outdoor chores? Morning? Evening? Can even your little kids help with things?

    • villapacis says:

      Lately, Dania and I have been working full-time on the CLAA, so our kids have been doing everything. They love it.

      Jonathan gets out around 7am and milk the goats. It takes him an hour–totally alone–and he makes sure the animals are all fed and watered. So, a 10yo provides our family’s milk. We reward Jonathan anytime he brings in more than 3 quarts at one milking, that encourages him to do well. He gets $1 for 3 quarts and $2 for over 3 quarts (plus he gets first dibs on the milk). David gets the first started outside on days when Dania plans to cook outside. He’s the fire man. Elizabeth (8) prepares food all throughout the day…using a bread machine…and keeps me supplied with coffee. She makes a few loaves of bread every day and usually some kind of dessert. She makes soups and stews from the gardenwith the crock pot too. There are days when Dania doesn’t prepare a bit of food.

      In the evenings, Jonathan repeats all his chores, since the goats need milking and the animals need feeding/watering again. David cares for the chickens and gets eggs. Elizabeth preps dinner. They do all the dishes throughout the day by hand, working with a 3 compartment restaurant sink like an assembly line.

  3. jessica hannon says:

    Next time you butcher a chicken could you put the whole process on this blog- pictures and step by step instructions? We have a couple of roosters that will need to be butchered soon and we are not experienced with butchering.

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