As a mom, I wanted to prepare my two boys to be fully capable adults and help them show love for others. As they were growing up, I found that life skills—though, at the time, I didn’t think of them as life skills—were the best way to get my boys where they needed to be. Cleaning, organizing, cooking, handling finances—these are all key in helping children show love. And I learned early on that the best way to teach life skills was by keeping my boys involved.
Enabling children to help when they’re young
Little kids love being involved, and they love helping. I may have been blessed with two boys who enjoyed being involved, but I also tried to encourage that love. Whenever my husband or I was cleaning, my boys would want to help out. But at first, there were a lot of things they couldn’t manage. Our adult dishes were heavy and easily chipped, the vacuum was large and heavy, and our broom was far too tall for a little kid to hold.
Instead of waiting until they were older, I just got more kid-friendly things. I traded out my big plates for light ones that the boys could carry, and I got the cheapest, lightest vacuum I could find. I even got little brooms and dust pans they could use to sweep up their crumbs after meals. They didn’t always do a good job, but they were learning motor skills and coordination—and they were helping Mom.
Teaching new life skills as they come up
I have boys. Boys eat—a lot! And, since we homeschooled, they thought they could eat pretty much whenever they wanted. They loved helping out in the kitchen, and since they enjoyed eating, I taught them how to cook. So when it was time to eat, and I was making one thing, they could make whatever they wanted for themselves. And today, they both really enjoy cooking all kinds of things.
As they grew older, they showed interest in watching their dad do taxes each spring. He would explain what he was doing and how he did it. Now that they both have jobs of their own, they know what to do, and my husband can advise them.
All these things that kids should learn as they grow up are a part of life. We didn’t have to spend class hours teaching life skills. Since my boys were actively involved in our lives, we had the opportunity to teach them new skills as they came up. And today, I hope they can see that cooking, cleaning, and other life skills are a ministry. My sons can show love to my husband and me by helping around the house. When they get married and have families of their own, they’ll be able to show love to their wives by taking on additional chores. But it all starts when they’re little and they just want to put the dishes away, saying, “I help, Mommy!”