If there is anything a kid hates to do while growing up, it’s probably chores. Now I did discuss this to an extent in Work is Fun Together, but that was addressing one side of things, such as the concept of doing chores alone is what made chores boring. But there’s another piece I realized in what made chores part of “living hell”. That piece is the perception of an absence of gratitude.
Now most of us have probably heard that doing chores is supposed to be a child’s way of saying, “Thanks” to his parents. However true that is, I am not referring to that. That part of reality has been addressed and we already know the arguments for that. I am talking about parents’ gratitude.
Something I realized sort of before I left for college is that children are more appreciated after they are gone for a long time. I saw this in how my mother treated my brother before he left for school and the times he came back to visit. Before I left, I was fighting with my mom over chores and responsibilities. So seeing how things were, that revelation influenced my decision to get far away from home and come home only twice a year.
As I predicted, things were much better. I felt more appreciated and wanted when I came home. No longer was my mom attacking me to do something. Instead I would just help, sometimes randomly, and I would be thanked for it. Simply saying, “Thank you” has so much power. It can make the difference of heaven and hell. It could save marriages if the couple just thought about it. People like feeling wanted and needed. It helps give people a will to live and thrive. However, without that feeling of being wanted, people fall into anger and despair. Perhaps that’s the core of why some people commit suicide after a tough breakup. So yes, you can save lives by making a person feel wanted, but now I’m digressing.
Back to my topic, would a simple “thank you” make a child’s life growing up much better? To an extent, yes. This is assuming the child can recognize it as appreciation. That is why it is not only important to say it, but to actually mean it. Parents, don’t focus so hard on getting your child to say, “thank you,” that you forget what it means and how you need to say it too.
Now are there other ways of expressing these simple words? Ways to convey that someone is appreciated? Yes, there are. I know one tactic of getting kids excited to work was to pay them. I do think it is important to convey your appreciation through various methods, so as not to water down any of them, but none are as important as the two words. As people grow up, they place more value on Praise and Appreciation, so let’s not forget to do those.