Perhaps you already have chores; maybe your parents gave them to you. Actually, I hope you have chores around the house that your parents gave you. It’s good to learn some responsibility from those who are trying to shape you into the healthy, mature, hard-working adults that one day will need to work to pay my social security. In any case, you should go ahead and give yourself two more chores on top of those imposed from your parents.
WHAT??? Why would I, a kid, want to give myself extra chores? You don’t know very well what kids are like, old man.
Yes, two more chores, and you will be happy you did. Keep reading…
Listening to you feels like a chore.
The First Chore
The first one should be something that needs to be done every day. Something easy to remember, and easy to account for. For example, making your bed. It needs to be done every day, and it is easy to see and remember when you don’t get it done. You can easily keep track of when it gets neglected, and you can punish yourself in some way when you fail to accomplish that goal. Maybe the punishment is no desert, or no TV time, or an extra fifteen minutes of doing math problems.
Hold on… You want me not only to give myself extra work, but to punish myself when I don’t do it as well? What world are you from?
The world where you become the best, most successful, diligent, strong, self-controlled and mature being you can possibly be.
I don’t know about diligent and mature, but successful seems like a goal of mine.
The Second Chore
The second one should be different every day. Perhaps the first day it might be organizing your closet. And the second day it could be cleaning out the family car.
Too much cleaning for me.
The third day could be studying the birds in your neighborhood for 20 minutes. The fourth day could be helping your little sister do a puzzle when she is getting on everyone’s nerves. It doesn’t really matter what the second one is, as long as it is something good that you struggle wanting to do on your own.
Why don’t I just pick the same thing every day? Wouldn’t that be easier? You know, getting into a routine?
Making it easier and more routine is exactly why you shouldn’t make the second chore the same every day. The first one that you do every day is the routine to serve as a reminder and help you think about picking the second one. The second one should involve some thought. This will help you be more aware of the needs around you, drive you to develop thinking skills, foster your creativity, and serve to organize everything in your environment.
Sure, this idea isn’t for everyone. It’s only for those of you who want to be a responsible, organized, creative leader. For those of you happy to be in the middle—or back—of the pack and quite comfortable there, it won’t work.
To help spur yourself on, keep a list, not only of the second chore from each day but give yourself a checkmark each time you get both chores done and an “x” every day that you don’t complete it. Then try to get 10, 20, 50, and then 100 checkmarks in a row.
Here is an example of my list of the second chore, something different each day:
- 8/24 Fix the screen door
- 8/25 Unclog the bathroom drain
- 8/26 Make a birthday calendar so I stop forgetting birthdays
- 8/27 Organize and pay off the credit cards
- 8/28 Look at the trip details for an upcoming vacation stay
- 8/29 Fix the dryer
- 8/30 Paint the brick wall outside
- 8/31 Put a tow hitch on the car
- 9/1 Clean up the laundry room
- 9/2 Erase 50 emails from my inbox
- 9/3 Finish an article for the Forum
- 9/4 Take some stuff to the dump
- 9/5 Plant some grass seed on the bare spots of the lawn
- 9/6 Learn the names of 1 unknown bird and 1 unknown plant from the yard
Now yours might look a bit different, depending on your age. A lower or middle-school student’s list might look like this:
- 8/24 Learn the names of 1 unknown bird and 1 unknown plant from the yard
- 8/25 Take out the trash without mom and dad asking me to
- 8/26 Clean up my room
- 8/27 Pick up the sticks on the lawn so that it can be mowed
- 8/28 Learn about the Dewey decimal system
- 8/29 Write a letter to my aunt who lives in CA
- 8/30 Memorize the names of the first 20 presidents
- 8/31 Look up more about that John Quincy Adams, and what he did
As I get older, I realize how much of my younger years were “wasted” by not continually striving to be a better person. And now that I am making efforts to be that better person, I know I still have a long way to go. I wish now I had at least tried implementing more of the advice that adults offered me as a young man. I know that it is not impossible for younger people to try the advice, because I meet many young adults every year who are not wasting their lives as I did at their age; these young men are either extremely mature on their own or—as is more likely—they have listened to and considered advice given to them.
I have been a mentor for many years at The Heights School, and there are myriad times when I meet a young man and think, “I wish I had been as mature as he is when I was his age.” I am grateful to be in an environment where I meet so many of these young men, but it is also important to remember that we all have more improvements to make in our lives, and if we don’t continually strive to be better people, there are so many around us who will not get the help, friendship, advice, and love that they deserve to receive from us.
This is not to say that my two-chore idea is particularly sound advice, but could it really hurt to give it a shot?