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!