Friday, September 24, 2010

Work and Wholesome Recreational Activities

 My name is Mariel, I am the co-author of the women's blog, "Or so she says..." (  I typically spend lots of time sharing with my readers random ideas to make parenting, marriage, and life easier and more fun.  I share endless ideas for "the best" products and my favorite things, but...I have neglected to share with them the MOST important thing in my life.  It is my absolute FAVORITE thing...but, we'll come back to that (you have to wait.)

This month we are celebrating families.  We ALL love our families, so why the big fuss??  Well, in this day and age, the importance of being in a family, being a quality family member, and tightening family connections is being dismissed as "unimportant" and "old fashioned."  Both of which are FAR from true.  In fact, with all the horrible things going on in the world, we need to tighten our reigns, realign our priorities, make our home a haven from the misguided world, spend more time teaching our children, and standing up for what is right.  It's such a blessing to have The Family Proclamation to accurately define my position to the world...and hopefully, your position too.  Can you imagine what a different world it would be if the every family in the world taught and practiced respect, love, and being an honorable person??  I can get whisked away in La-La Land just thinking about it...

One of my favorite lines in the Family Proclamation is, "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."  I've decided to focus my post today on "work and wholesome recreational activities."  Luckily, there are lots of other gals who will post on the the other principles because they are all so important.

So, let's start with work.  Because we all know, "work comes before play," right??  If I was taught one thing as a child, it was how to work.  Every Saturday of my childhood years was spent deep cleaning the house, as a family.  There was no half-effort allowed.  Every job completed had to face Dad's "inspection".  If it wasn't done well, it was done again.  Notice, I said "well," not "right."  It didn't matter which method we used to fold the clothes, so long as they were folded.  It didn't matter which direction our lines went when we vacuumed, so long as we got the carpet clean.  You get the idea.  But, we learned to be helpful, clean, work together, and do a job "well done."  Wasn't my mom SO lucky to have that kind of help?!?

It was important to my dad that we learn the value of money.  He signed my brothers and I up for a paper route.  Every morning, before school, we would wake up at 5:30 and deliver newspapers.  He sacrificed his time to get up early with us, load up the car, and drive us around the New York neighborhoods...every day.  Of course, he let us keep any money long as we paid our tithing and put money into savings.  That experience taught me so much about hard work, as a child.  It also taught me the value of sacrificing your time to teach your children.

My dad provided service opportunities for us.  He found a sweet, elderly lady on our paper route that lived all alone and needed a friend.  We would frequently visit her, bring her meals, and do service projects in her yard.  Dad would take us to feed the hungry at homeless shelters and to donate unneeded projects to goodwill.  He was always on the lookout for ways to help out and it has influenced me greatly.

It's been so fun, as a mother, to teach my children the value of work.  Okay, it's not ALWAYS fun.  Sometimes, it's exhausting, frustrating, and I would rather just do the work myself.  But, I know it's too important to overlook!

Chores.  When it comes to kids and chores, it is totally one of those things that is usually "easier to do yourself."  But, there is so much value in having your kids do chores daily.  It's no easy task running a household, especially keeping it clean (as if you don't know!)...we need help and we should have it!  In our home, nobody gets away with not helping out.  The family is a team and everyone needs to do their part to keep the house tidy.  It's best to teach children while they're young, make it a habit, and continue to require them to help out for as long as they are living under your roof.  Their future spouse will thank you!  Chores done consistently can be a great help in teaching responsibility, hard work, cleanliness, and consideration...all qualities you want for your kids!

Here are some links for ideas on coming up with age-appropriate chores and making it work.

(A couple of the fun dollar bills I printed with my kids' faces in them...great for allowances!)

Besides chores, I think it's important to provide your children with the opportunities to complete projects, taking their "work skills" up a notch.  A project is different than a chore in that it takes a LOT more time to finish.  Projects teach values, such as patience, attention to detail, hard work, appreciation and they are a great way to provide your children with a sense of accomplishment.  I really believe that accomplishing goals brings self-esteem and confidence.  Children need to know that they have the ability to do something that is hard.  In fact, everyone needs to know that!  This world seems to have lots of people that have no idea of their potential.  The taste of accomplishment is so yummy and addicting!  A project could be helping grandpa build a fence, helping grandma plant her garden for the year, organizing and taking inventory of the food storage room, tying quilts for the womens' shelter, reading 100 books over the summer, etc.

A couple of the projects my kids have had lately:

I had the two older boys make several items to sell at the county fair.  They got to keep any money they earned, AFTER they paid taxes, booth fees, tithing and the cost of the products.  It was a great way for them to learn about money and how hard work can pay off.  Plus, they had a blast and stayed busy in the summer!

  Read about some of the things we made, here.

I've got a case of the "super-duper picky eater" in my house.  My oldest son was showing such a lack of appreciation for food and the effort that went into making it.  So, project time!  He was enrolled in a cooking class (at home).  Every week he has been learning how to make a new meal.  When he's done, he takes a picture of it, writes a paragraph about the experience, and will soon be getting his own cookbook printed to give to his grandparents.  It has turned out to be so fun for him and it's funny...he'll eat and LIKE the food if HE makes it!  Read the full post, here.

As important as it is to teach children how to work, it's also important that they know how to play.  Have you ever known someone who was such a busy-body and was no fun at all?  Have you ever known someone who loved to play and always shirked their responsibilities?  They're everywhere!  The trick is to find a balance and to teach balance.  Work hard, play hard, and love life.

To me, there is just as much value in children playing with their family as there is in working with their family.  Playing together invites tighter bonds, happier memories, and positive outlooks.  Who doesn't want that for their family??  

Take time off for vacations, save your money for vacations, don't always let life get in the way!  Vacations don't have to cost a lot of money, be creative!  It's always fun to have friends and extended family with you on vacations, but the BEST vacations are the ones with just your family.  That's where the magic happens.  There might be bickering in the car, arguing over where to eat, and total exhaustion...but, those are the vacations that have the potential to be the most meaningful.  Remember to be light-hearted, go with the flow, don't overly plan the days, allow for relaxation, and absorb all of those smiles you see.  Sometimes, just having time to be completely BORED together turns out to be the most memorable experience ever!  Enjoy each others company and don't forget to bring a camera!

By incorporating a balance of work and play into your family, I know that the love in your home will grow so much stronger!  

And, back to what else I know...

I KNOW that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is where the whole truth is at, it has been confirmed to me hundreds of times throughout my life.  Nothing has ever been more right to me and brought me more happiness.  I don't KNOW it because somebody told me.  I don't KNOW it because I had some grand "come to Jesus" moment.  I know it because of all the little things and because I found out for myself.  It's the peace I feel when I'm reading The Book of Mormon.  The insight, lessons, and history found in that book have never cease to amaze and inspire me.  It's the comfort I feel when I pray.  I am so humbled to know that Heavenly Father listens to MY prayers and that I can pour my heart out to him any time I want.  It's the happiness that comes over me when I look around at all of my many blessings and the trials that have taught me so much.  It's the confirmation in my heart that the teachings are true.  It's the understanding that I have acquired that He wants us to know the truth.  We are so important to Him and if we truly desire to know who we are, where we came from, where we're going, why we're here and what we need to be doing here on this earth...He will tell us and YOU will know too.  And, friends, is my most favorite thing.  (I'm sorry I didn't tell you before!)

Keep celebrating your family...every month of every year!

Thank you, Mariel!

Now, please feel free to link your posts on the Family Proclamation below:

And remember to go see what Chocolate On My Cranium is talking about today...
and tune in Sunday to hear if you won a party favor this week!

Our Family Is Something To Crow About Metal on Wood Plaque

Our Family Is Something to Crow About
by For All Seasons

1103  - Vinyl Lettering -  Family Name    Be true to who you are and the family name you bear.  Gordon B. Hinckley

Vinyl Lettering Customized with Your Family name
and "Be true to who you are..." quote.
by Design Divas

CTR Wood Block Letters
 by Craft 28 Junkie

Eternity Dictionary Page Banner

Eternity Banner
by Bazinga Crafts

Theme blocks with Paper Lettering

"Be Strong and of Good Courage" Blocks
by Under My Umbrella

2010 Primary Theme - 5x7 Print

Primary Theme "I Know My Savior Lives"
by Jot & Tittle


  1. perfectly balanced home. And you are right....He will.

  2. what a wonderful fun family....good job.

  3. great ideas and so useful for today's families. right on!

  4. You guys have so much FUN! I love the money! I'm definitely going to do that when the time comes!

  5. Oh and play. Two topics I often spout off about on my own blog. :) Loved your post! (and I am going to steal the cooking school idea for my the cookbook part!)

  6. Love the picky eater solution. My children think they are slaves because they have to clean their rooms. We need a bit of work here. Great post.

  7. I think I need reminders every single day (hourly even) to let my children do chores. It's one of those things that tries my patience more than I think I can bear because I know I could do it so much more quickly and efficiently myself. But that would be doing them a disservice. Teaching my kids how to work is more important than having the house cleaned quickly.
    Thank you!

  8. So work...isn't that wholesome recreation. Some times it is especially if it gets everyone together. Chores start early than there is no question when they are bigger.

  9. LOVE this post! It's fun to do chores when the music is blaring and everyone's having a hip hop happening good time.

  10. Oooooh, this got me thinking about all the chores we did as kids - having a ball, I might add.

    I LOVE the cooking/recipe book idea. We are so going to do that!

  11. This post has totally inspired me to encourage my children to work. So often it is just easier to do the work myself.