Last week through a series of events my wife and I found that our oldest daughter was not following some guidelines that we had put in place for her phone. So we put into effect disciplinary measures and for the weekend I had a spare phone and ipod. She was much less enthused about it than I was.
We heard grumblings of, “I miss my friends”; “I don’t have anyone to talk to” and so on. Anyways, on Friday I informed her that she would be joining me cutting wood on Saturday. Again, she was less than enthused.
After a lazy Saturday morning came to a close we prepared to head outside to behind the wood shed (literally). I split while she stacked. We worked along at a steady pace for two hours completing the task at hand.
What did she get out of the experience?
When she complained:
- I reminded her how much she likes a warm house.
- We talked about the fact that she was contributing to the family. Giving her a sense of accomplishment, contribution, and belonging.
- We talked about how live is hard and we need to work harder. Often times things are not just handed to us in life.
It also afforded us one on one time to talk casually about life and about choices we make. It was a great time for us to work together as dad and daughter to accomplish a task. We were able to talk about friends, and family; about school, classes, and teachers.
Did it really bother her to work? Yes, absolutely, before we started she complained and sulked. While we worked her attitude changed. After the job was done there was a sense of pride and accomplishment (she even bragged about it later).
What did I get? Time! I banked two hours of time spent with her working together with a shared purpose to accomplish a shared goal! That time in invaluable.
We need to play with our children and we also need to work with our children. If we do not teach them how to work who will?