Friday, March 21, 2014

Children and real work

Happy Feast day of St Benedict!
Ora et Labora...Pray and Work

I am a big fan of real work.  I am no scholar myself, so some may say I am handing on this legacy to my children via my own intellectual inability...but I know that God gave me these children and He trusts me to educate them for the vocation that He will call them to.  I believe heartily that if God desires any of these children to be rocket scientists, or doctors, He will give them a desire and ability for things like Physics and ridiculously high math courses and diagraming sentences.

So, we do academics at our school, but we keep it proportionate.  We make time for real work and real play.  Sometimes I think, the way our culture and society are going, that we will soon be a post academic world anyway.  I have heard some say that the way our financial situation in the USA is going that we will be reduced to a 3rd world country.  If that happens, it would be much better that my children are able to do practical things rather than be able to sit and diagram a sentence.

No matter what type of world our country's classification falls into, our young generation needs to learn to do real work.  I intend to raise up children who are not afraid to put their hand to the menial task.  Children who are not impaired when it comes to using an axe, broom, knife, rolling pin, whatever the tool, they are not too bored or too busy acquiring things and seeking after frivolities to get busy and get the job done.

I am not advocating sending Jimmy to the coal mine, or sticking Ginny in the kitchen and keeping her completely out of the school room!  No, a proportionate amount of academics is a good thing in a day.  If your teen is so busy writing essays that he can't clean a bathroom, or she can't get out and help you clean up the garden for planting, something may be out of balance.

I think I am doing something for my country in raising children who are practical and helpful.  I know that idleness leads to vice, and that is not something I want to stand before Our Lord and have to answer about.  I desire to give Him joyful children who know that they can help out and break a sweat (somewhere other than on the soccer field!) and do the work of adults in their own capacity.

And from what I have seen, it makes the children happy too.  I am not saying they run skipping cheerfully every time I say "lets do it!"...there are grumbles and groans sometimes.  But we usually finish strong with a rosy hue in our cheeks and a whistle on our lips.

So, don't be afraid to put some real work into your daily school schedule.  Don't be too busy that your children do not have time to learn about responsibility and accountability via the road of chores and household or farm tasks.  It has built men and women of sound mind, strong body and courageous virtue for generations before our modern times.  It is time to look again as a culture to the practical wisdom of the old on this topic.

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