Household Labour Relations

No new column this week because of no newspaper on  Labour Day. But I missed posting last week’s column so I’m due to catch up anyway. If you didn’t see it, I wrote on the challenges of finding good help around the house.

But I’m pleased to report that in the past week alone our household labour relations have improved dramatically.  The boys are suddenly very helpful. In fact, today they were even fighting over who was going to do which chore. “I want to do it!” “No, I want to do it!”

How did this miracle happen? It’s all a matter of motivation. About a week  ago the Whirlwind decided he wanted a new Lego set that costs $25. We told him to keep it in mind for Christmas, but of course that’s a whole eternity to a five-year-old. He decided he wants to earn money and save up to buy it himself.

So we made him a chart, so he can earn an allowance. My wife found this model online somewhere. Probably Pinterest, I assume.

He’s been very diligent taking out the compost and doing other jobs around the house. As he started working, a funny thing happened: the Mastermind decided he doesn’t want to be one-upped by his younger brother. So he has a chart too and he’s working just as hard. The last two mornings he has emptied the dishwasher before I’ve even made it downstairs.

So there you have it: our kids will chip in around the house, if they’re motivated by money or competition.

“I’m not sure if we’re teaching them about work ethic or materialism,” my wife said tonight. “I hope a little of the first is rubbing off on them.”

I’m happy to report that the General, at least, will still work from the pure intent of just hanging out with me and being my helper. I’m hoping to indoctrinate him good while he’s young and stave off the general principle that the more physically capable a child becomes, the less interested he is in doing actual work.


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