The corollary to the the task chart, of course, is that you must teach a child how to do the chores and you must accept, if you assign the task to a four-year-old, that the chore will be done as well as a four-year-old can do it. Sometimes, that is considerably well. Other times, the four-year-old simply does not do the task as well as a 44-year-old. He just plain can't. Our children do not come to us fully equipped for adulthood. Furthermore, this is a process of learning. Children do not come wired to hear something once and to understand it and implement it every time for ever more. That's why we have about two decades to train them before we launch them. Instead, they come knowing very little about practical life and they are dependent upon our patience and perseverance to learn the lessons they need and to learn them well.
So there it is again. In order to improve our children, we must improve ourselves. We must be patient. We must show them again and again how to complete something well. This requires some acceptance on our part of the limitations of the child. If you want your house to look like it's been cleaned by a team of capable women, hire a team of capable women. But if you want your children to care for your house, work with them to do the best you all can and then accept that you are not a team of capable women. You're all still learning.
We must persevere in outlining the steps involved in a job well done and in holding the children accountable to the clearly delineated standard. We cannot do this from an Easy Chair. We cannot hang a chore chart and tell them to consult it and expect the house to be clean at the end of the day. They are not maids for whom we leave a list and a check. They are children who need our constant care and guidance. We must move with them, beside them, working together towards all matter of goals.
We're working towards a clean and orderly house, to be sure. But we're also working towards loftier goals: a spirit of cooperation,determination to do a good job, gentleness and sweetness towards each other as we work, even gratitude for the house we keep and the work it entails. These are goals beyond a child's understanding. They must witness those attitudes in their parents, they must absorb them from the atmosphere in our homes and in the goodness of our demeanor. And they're not going to get it from someone who commands and directs. They'll only truly learn it from someone who journeys alongside them--who works,both manually and spiritually--striving to do well.