I should have known my son would be different. After two girls, I expected a boy would be different, but I didn’t know just how different he would be from the get-go.
At age one, he would watch me split kindling and giggle every time the wood popped. While I was under the sink trying to fix the garbage disposal, he wormed his way in beside me and poked at it with a screwdriver.
He’s not even two yet, but he peeks under the car and hands me tools while I’m changing the oil. He’s thrilled to sit with me in the driver’s seat and pretend to drive the car in the driveway.
He loves anything motorized, and he cries whenever he has to stay in the house while I’m mowing the lawn. In fact, anything (besides “CAR!”) with a motor is exuberantly called “MOW!” right now.
I can see that a desire to DO things is deeply rooted in my son. He’s watching what I do, and he wants to help me. I want to encourage this attitude! Here are several good reasons for letting our children (no matter how small) work beside us:
- God made us to work (Gen. 2:15, Eccl. 9:10), and our inborn sin nature has not entirely erased that desire, even in a toddler.
- When they’re little, it seems like they always want to be with us. We need to take advantage of this. They’re watching everything we do, soaking up all that they see, and forming their own view of the world. If your children want to be with you, make the most of it, even if it’s inconvenient at times.
- They will also learn to be diligent (that is, if we set an example of diligence ourselves). I want my son to be a hard-working, creative man who knows how to take initiative. A man like this will always be in demand. If he knows how to work hard, he’ll be a valued employee or a capable entrepreneur. Proverbs says a man like this will “stand before kings.”
So let your children get in the way. Slow down, and let them “help,” even when it’s inconvenient. It won’t be inconvenient for very long!
(For some practical ways to encourage young children to help, read my blog post Raising Children Who Help over at the Doorposts Blog.)