Rewind 15 years. My little brother and I would wake up on bright and early on the weekend to watch our favorite Saturday morning cartoons, mostly consisting of Pokemon and Yugioh. We wouldtry to bend the antennae on the TV just right so you could make out the characters out of the black-and-white snowstorm of static. Eventually though, mom would come down the stairs, and in her happy sing-songy voice would sing that omen of misery: “Saturday is a special day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday! We clean the house and we…” We knew we were in for a day of picking up toys, vacuuming, wiping down stools, and if it were summer, add in mowing the lawn and weeding the garden.
Chores. Is there a way to help kids like them? I don’t think adults ever fully come to like them either. They just silently accept them as a fact of life. My mom did a noble job trying to tell us the benefits of chores. She told stories about how all her brothers and sisters would sit down to snip a couple of buckets full of beans and just chat. I would resign myself to my own bean-snipping assignment, and push down any feelings of actual enjoyment if they did arise! Sometimes it was fun to talk to my mom and my family, but I wasn’t about to accept chores as a pastime!
Another story I remember hearing from my parents growing up was the story of Adam and Eve when they were cast out of the garden. The Lord said to Adam, “By the sweat of thy face, thou shall eat bread” all the days of thy life! As a kid, I still somehow didn’t connect the fact that work was inevitable. The world would go on if I didn’t do my chores, right? My mom would remind us often, “Do you think that a fairy is just going to come pick it up after you?”
But somehow through those childhood experiences I learned something, and I’m grateful for it. I learned to work, and I’d even say that I learned to enjoy it. Work at home is time with family, and I can see why my mom could say she enjoyed it. Now, cleaning up around the house is a break from the daily stresses of school and a job. It often has a zen-like quality to it. I can let my mind wander, or I can think of absolutely nothing at all.
The moment I learned that the chores wouldn’t get done unless I did something about it was in a missionary apartment in Germany. I realized how quickly the dishes piled up in the sink! Did it really happen that fast? It was full after only one day! Bathrooms required regular cleaning too—even some out-of-the-ordinary maintenance. I remember scrubbing off a ceiling that was entirely black with mold. I got into a regular habit of doing the dishes on a daily basis and cleaning the house on preparation day before heading out for the day’s activities. It paid off. Perhaps chores could feel good if I took ownership of them.
So yes! Saturday is a special day!