Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CHORES {we expect what we inspect}

We EXpect what we INspect

Those are the words that motivate me to follow up on chores, check in on assignments, and in general just make sure that the job I have assigned has been completed in the way I asked. 

If we don't follow up on and inspect the work we assign, we are conveying the message that we don't really expect it to be completed any certain way.

And we don't mean what we say.

When listening to Terri Maxwell speak a while back regarding chores she shared that bit of wisdom~ that we really expect what we inspect~ and it has remained with me ever since.

I think we all intrinsically know the value of chores for our young ones. Lamentations 3:27 tells us: “It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth.”

In our spirit we know this to be true. The value of doing chores is inarguable. We can see that a child who has learned to work will be a capable adult who values work and, on the flip side, a child that is taught to be lazy will probably always struggle in that area.

But what about the value of doing chores well? If we assign the yoke to our youth and they don't really bear it (meaning they don't really do the job we've assigned in the manner that is expected) I wonder if assigning a chore really does more harm than good.

Not only are we training them that our word is of little value, we are also teaching them that no one will really care if they do a good job~ it's acceptable to slack off.

I know, it can be a tiring task, but when I am tired I try to remind myself that I am training our children so that they will be able to submit to God's authority as adults.

I know if they have been trained to work hard and cheerfully for me it will be all the easier for them to work hard and cheerfully unto the Lord. I know that if I keep an eye on their work and hold them accountable, they will expect God to do the same.

Additionally, if I let things "slide" I am really only making more work for myself. I will be required to tell the children numerous times what I should have only needed to say once. I will find myself aggravated and overwhelmed. 

In short, we do both our children and ourselves a disservice if we don't call them to be accountable for the jobs we assign.

For my younger children that means asking them to come and tell me when they think they are done doing a job so that I can check it.

So, what if I inspect a job and find it isn't done correctly?

1. I remind myself not to be shocked that my children are sinners. Why are we always shocked? They are going to try to be lazy. It's really nothing personal against us. They are looking for the easy way out. Let's make obedience the easy way.

2. I ask myself~ did I train her to do this job correctly? If that seems to be the problem then we can do the job together cheerfully. I'm not mad. I'm training and I'll know that she knows what I expect things to look like which will eliminate confusion in the future.

3. Because we all naturally look for the easy way out, my job as a parent is to reward diligence, not laziness. Just like in other areas of training our goal is to make disobedience more difficult than obedience. We might say, “I'm sorry sweetie, that's not the way I showed you, you're going to need to redo this."

If a lack of diligence becomes a habit, it might mean assigning an extra chore. “I'm sorry, I'll need to add to your work today because you didn't do your job diligently.” If that brings up a bad attitude, I usually remind them that God's Word says we are to “work hard and __________” they usually pipe up “cheerfully” at that point (Colossians 3:23). Right. We can deal with the attitude separately, but it cannot derail us from what we have assigned.

4. For younger children I remind myself that the window washing that a 3 year old does will look different than the window washing a 10 year old does. That's ok, it's rather cute really to see the windows washed from only the waist down. Skill will improve over time. For now they just need to learn to work hard and cheerfully.

"We expect what we inspect." I am motivating myself. I've got to go check some things. : )

Blessings to you!




  1. Good Reminder!

    I had one little sweetie today that got 3 extra chores. For some reason he (or she) kept complaining every time I would give him a chore (and he had a lot of reasons why he couldn't do them) and after the third extra chore, he started having a REALLY good attitude, for the rest of his work. He was also really pleased at what a good job he did when I came to inspect. It is so worth the extra time and effort to train them to work.

    I love your blog! And ladies I live next door, and can verify that those little girlies can and do work!

  2. Awesome Lizzy! I know it saves work in the long run. You're SUCH a great mama. Had so much fun taking the long road yesterday. Thanks for helping me with my errands again. I laughed a lot. Now listen, you can't make me laugh after the surgery. Last time I was in pain, remember? I mean it... Love, RJ

  3. I had fun too!

    Listen, it isn't my fault that after you have surgery suddenly everything is hilarious. And the more we try to stop laughing the harder we laugh. It's like back in school when you are trying so hard to stifle a laugh, suddenly everything is laughable.

    I'm actually laughing just thinking about it. I'm not sure that bodes well for your immediate future. :-)

  4. Thank you for a great reminder in this post. It's easy to forget! I just found your blog and I really enjoy it!

    The Frazzled Mama