It was a legitimate question I suppose, but my reply was, "Well, I doubt it will help Adam get the job done any quicker. In fact, it will probably take longer. However, there is more to it than just finishing the project quickly. By having our children "assist" with projects, it's teaching them so many things. I love that my husband is so patient with the kids as they work alongside him. He is so great with them!
They learn togetherness, teamwork, how to be a good helper and not to mention all the "boy" things Carter will be learning as he helps his dad. He loves to load the chopped wood into his miniature version wheelbarrow while his daddy loads his full size one. Both boys love to push the button on the power drill while daddy holds it in place. Whatever the task, it's such a blessing to know that our boys want to be working right alongside dad. Recently, our oldest was so satisfied to know that he got to help Daddy hang the new cupboards in the kitchen.
And you know, I've seen them start to take iniative on their own now. One morning this week I found the table set, toast out for everyone, cups filled and the dishwasher being emptied. (Love those days!)
Letting our children work alongside us is also about the time spent with that child talking with them and instructing them and letting them know we value them immensely. It also makes for good times to talk about the Lord, His goodness and what He is doing in our lives.
I was reminded of these things yesterday when my oldest son was so excited to help me bake cookies. As we were working alongside each other, I had this feeling in my heart like I'd missed him--and I think it was because it'd been so long since he and I had done something like that together.
Life gets busy the more children you have and the more things you take on and I just hadn't had time for baking in a very long time. The other two kids happened to be napping so it was just Carter and me. After he helped me add all the ingredients I was ready to dollop the cookie dough out when he asked if he could do it.
I hesitated for a minute because I knew I could do it faster and with less mess, but then decided, "Why not? He needs to learn anyways and it will free me up to do something else." He did a pretty good job and although there were a few stray pieces of oatmeal that didn't make it into the cookies, the clean up wasn't that much more had I done it myself.
I keep these things in mind when I notice the laundry isn't folded the way I would do it, or the table set preciously or whatever the task may be because it's about more than that. It's teaching our children valuable work skills and helping them to understand that no matter how small the task, it's to be done for the Lord. It also teaches them that they are important to us and the fact that they want to help is more important than something turning out perfectly or getting done quickly.
Someday our children will be grown up and either they won't want to help us at all or it will be first nature for them to be working alongside us--in which case, I'm sure their tasks will be completed much more beautifully than they were when they were little. Then again, beautiful may actually look like the laundry folded slightly off center because I know precious little hands did the folding.
So, take the time to invest in your child now. The pay off will be great. Not just because the tasks will get done nicely, but because your child will enjoy the fellowship of working alongside you. (At least I'm praying this is the case!)
Here are a few pictures from days gone by of the kids helping me in the kitchen.
Perhaps I write this post as a fool. After all, my kids are only 6, 4 and 2, but I certainly hope that since we love to be together now, we'll love to be together 20 years from now. God-willing, it will be so!