Saturday, March 28, 2009

The most valuable lesson

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. --Thomas Huxley

As Thomas Huxley said more than a hundred years ago, the most important thing our children can learn (aside from their catechism) is how to do what they need to when it is needed. You can help plant this understanding by assigning your children household tasks from a very young age. Little ones can set the table, empty small wastebaskets, make their beds, feed the cat, wipe off coffee tables and kitchen tables, and so on. Insisting on everyone's pitching in also conveys the idea that family members pull together--Mom and Dad aren't supposed to do it all.

When it comes to table-setting, I came up with a shortcut many years ago. This also cut way down on the number of times we opened and closed the flatware drawer in our kitchen each day! Get an attractive plastic flower pot and stand your spoons, forks, and table knives in it. Keep it on the counter or the table. A plastic container is better than ceramics because those will chip with the wear and tear.

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