You can make a big difference in your children's future by asking them to take out the trash. And do the laundry, wash the dishes, make the beds, put away the toys. Research by Marty Rossmann, Emeritus Associate Professor of Family Education at University of Minnesota, shows that involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact later in life. By involving children in tasks, parents teach their children a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives.
Research over the years makes a strong case for chores. A University of Minnesota analysis of data collected over a 20-year period found that the best predictor of success in young adulthood, on measures related to education completion, career path, and personal relationships, was whether they had begun doing chores at an early age — as young as 3 or 4.
A long-running Harvard University study of inner-city males found that willingness and capacity to work in childhood — indicated by holding a part-time job, taking on household chores, participating in school clubs or sports — was a better predictor of mental health in adulthood than was social class, family problems, and other factors.
Another study in The American Journal of Psychiatry showed that those who had been industrious as youngsters turned out to be the most well-adjusted adults, to have the most successful work lives and the most satisfying personal relationships.
What does this mean for us? Here are my take-aways:
1. If we need to inspire our kids to do house-hold chores to support them to grow into happy well-adjusted adults, we need to love doing the house-hold chores ourselves. If we don't love and enjoy doing the chores, there is no way our kids will joyfully accept the responsibility of the chores. Whether we like it or not, our kids mirror our beliefs. You don't like what your child is doing, you just need to dig deep inside to pull out a limiting belief that the child is simply playing out.
2. We need to make running of the home efficient so as to reduce the over-reliance on home-support staff (I prefer using this phrase than maids) so that there are chores left for the family to do. Imagine your family coming together and joyfully making the beds, taking the trash out, laying the table, cooking meals together. This means we need to simplify our lives and stop being busy being busy, rushing from moment to moment. We need to learn the science of stillness, performance, effectiveness & time-management and implement this knowledge just as much at home as at office; otherwise how will our children learn these essential life-skills.
3. To shift the family's mindset towards chores as 'not my job' to 'its my responsibility' requires us to deepen our leadership ability. Therefore, we need to become leaders not only to create success at work but also to do our fundamental job as a parent. The lackadaisical attitude that we Indians have towards taking responsibility of our own country is to a large extent because we have pampered childhoods and are protected from doing the chores when we are growing up.
We can use parenting as an opportunity to force ourselves towards our highest selves and have it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, joyful relationships, happy responsible kids and lots of nourishing me-time. You see, if you take on building your leadership depth to inspire your family to joyfully share household chores; you will suddenly have all the time in the world to build a deeply fulfilling successful career. Without leadership depth, you cannot have it all. Know it is not because you are a woman but because you are choosing not to be a leader.
Be a leader and transform what it means to be a woman. Inside of this transformation, humanity itself will transform with an abundance of love, peace and joy all around.
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