Saturday I had to get some yard work done. I was mowing the yard when my 8 year came up and asked if he could do it. I had two choices: 1. Tell him it was too dangerous and have him go play or 2. Take the time to teach him and show confidence in his abilities to learn new things. I went with option number two.
The first thing we did was empty the current bag so that he had an empty bag to start with. I then showed him how to start the mower (it's a push mower). Now starting a mower with a pull rope is not easy, especially when you also have to hold down a bar. He tried a couple of times with no luck. I asked him if he wanted me to help him. He said no and so I let him continue. He was able to start the mower in two more pulls.
I then showed him how to engage the drive with another bar to make the mower move easier. I then showed him the line I was cutting to and had him begin. Now being 8 and not having any experience he didn't exactly follow the line. No big deal! When he got to the end of the line I showed him how to turn the mower and continue on. He ended up finishing the rest of the yard with a few missed spots. Once done I asked him to show me what he missed and we went back over those areas to finish up.
I have to admit that a part of me didn't want to take this time to show him as I knew it would take longer. But the other part of me remembered that it is important for children to learn how to work and that there is tremendous value in being able to perform some tasks.
I remember growing up in Western New York on 8 1/2 acres. I remember my Dad showing me how to work our lawn mower and being responsible for the lawn from an early age. I learned other things as well from my Dad including how to split and stack wood, how to start the fire in the furnace and keep it going, and myriad other "chores". This instilled in me the need to be able to perform tasks that would benefit me later in life when I had my own family.
Now I get the chance to do what my Dad did. Teach my children the value of hard work and the value in learning various tasks. I told my son that when we go to visit my Dad this fall that we might be able to split wood and stack it together. It would give me the opportunity to teach him as I was taught.
I truly think that in today's environment there are a lot of people who don't get to learn some of the tasks that teach the value of hard work. Too often the tasks that are asked of children are too easy and then they are allowed to go and watch TV or play video games. I look forward to helping my children understand the value of hard work and hope they would take the time to teach their children as well.