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Christian, husband, father, and pastor. Also a proud and dedicated nerd. One of the dads at TheDadLetters.com and author of TheLivesIHaveLived.wordpress.com. Acts 20:24

Slave Driver

Audrey Rae, Braxton, and Charlotte-

Late July/early August is a crazy time for us.

It begins with Vacation Bible School in July (though it was in June for the first time this year. Yay!). Your mom spends hours upon hours helping plan for it, and then spends hours a night for a week teaching for it. You guys go and have a great time, and your mom has a great time too, but she’s also very excited when it’s over.

We get about a week to breathe, and then I’m out the door for high school camp the last week of July/first week of August. Your mom is home alone with you guys while I’m getting 6 hours of sleep a night and wrangling twenty some teenagers.

I come home and get a week to breathe until I’m off for Jr. High camp, where, for yet another week, I help wrangle (with several other adults, of course) about 120 Jr. High students.

I tell you this to let you know one very important fact: usually, in August, your mom is alone for two weeks with the two of you, just after spending a month working overtime for VBS. She is exhausted, but you guys are energized, and for those two weeks, it falls on her to be your single parent.

That’s the way this is right now, at least. But by the time you guys will be old enough to read this, I will expect something of you that you may not like, that you may not understand, and that you may try to avoid altogether.

I will expect you to share responsibility for our home.

You see, kids, I think that a lot of modern parenting strategies hold the opinion that the parent is there to serve the child, to meet needs, and to make sure the child wants for nothing.

I disagree.

If you’re old enough to read this, then you’re old enough to hold responsibility for our home just like I do and just like your mother does. You being the “kids” and us being the “grown-ups” does not provide you with some unspoken exemption for participating in home maintenance. Your mom and I will help serve you and our home, because it is our responsibility, but let me make something absolutely and undeniably clear to you.

It is also your responsibility to serve us and our household.

If you live here, you will pull your own weight. Not because you’re in trouble or because I’m running a dictatorship, but because you are part of this family. And as such, you will help serve the rest of the family as they help serve you.

I can promise you that you won’t like it, but let me tell you a not-so-secret: your mom and I aren’t fans of cleaning and doing laundry and lawn care and other household chores either. But we do it because we love each other, we love you guys, and we understand that we all need to work together to keep our home a clean and livable place.

For two weeks in August, every year, I will be gone and your mom will be exhausted. This will not be a time to let things slip, this will not be a time that you guys can skip chores because Mommy is skipping some too, this will be a time for you all to step up and help take care of our home. Or, more importantly, this will be a time for you to step up and help take care of your mom. And the rest of the year, it will be our job as a family to work together to serve one another and our home.

You’ll learn to do your own laundry. You’ll learn to do yardwork. You’ll learn to cook some meals. And you’ll learn what it’s like to be responsible for a household.

Now, we won’t expect more of you than you’re able, of course. And there will be things that your mom and I take care of because we are the adults and you guys won’t need to worry about it. But just remember that you are part of this family. And as such, you’re responsible for helping to take care of it just as your mother and I are.

I love you guys, and I just want to say this now, in case I don’t say it enough out loud: thank you so much for all you do for our family, even if it’s just unloading the dishwasher.

1 Corinthians 1:4

Dad

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2 Comments on “Slave Driver”

  1. fatherhoodisagift July 29, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Could not agree more with you!

  2. The Rookie Dad July 29, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    It’s an interesting dynamic between being kids and parents, I remember complaining that I had to do chores as a kid but now they have become as an everyday habit. Kids will hate doing their chores and little do they realize how much easier we are as parents if they just do what we ask them to do. If they do their chores and pull their weight we are easier on them and let them do more things than if they don’t.

    Hopefully, someday your kids and mine will realize that.

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