So, how did we get from the 8 year old “queen” of the kitchen to a 12 year old ready to take responsibilities for someone else’s home? ? Are you ready for a secret? I have discovered a simple formula that will give your daughters godly maturity. It is very simple…
Responsibility = Maturity. Early responsibility = increased maturity. Minimizing responsibility = irresponsibility.
Understanding this simple concept is one thing, but how can we make the transition from theory to reality?
The first step in this process may surprise you…but it has to do with you, Mom. You need to become a Supervisor. The word supervisor comes from the Latin word Super meaning “over” and visor derived from videre, which means, “to see”. To become a Supervisor means one who oversees the jobs and tasks being done.
Frequently, I hear mothers say, “ I just can’t get my daughter to do her job right.” When asked if they check their daughter’s assigned chores immediately after completion WITH their daughter they answer no. A Titus 2 woman once told me “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect!” So Mamas, make certain you inspect the job. Then, if it’s not done well…repeat until the job is done well. What is it about doing a job over, and over, and over again that makes you want to do it right the first time? In the world outside of the home, most jobs have supervisors to make sure the job is done correctly. It is a great incentive for the daughter to do the job right the first time, it is a taste of what she can expect from the real world and should be a vision or trial run on how she will want to run her own home.
A chore chart is my tool of choice for projecting and reminding of the jobs I wanted my daughter to master. Make chore assignments together and choose what areas you would like her to work on. Remember, when teaching a new skill it is important for her to work with you the first time or so, then observe her doing it, then when you feel she has mastered the task, allow her to do it on her own. But, always, always, check on her work after she has completed her task. This way you can guarantee it is done correctly…. consistently.
The second step is to begin with the basics. As Margaret Elizabeth Sangster said in her 1900 classic Winsome Womanhood, “ There is much room for tillage in the home vineyard.” In other words, the opportunities presented in learning how to maintain a home offer rich soil in which your daughter can grow. And the basics are the foundation that needs to be cultivated. The overall goal is for a girl to know how to keep house. It sounds like an old fashioned idea, but even when you have a profession, you still need the proficiently to maintain your home and the possessions you have in it.
The first lesson is how to clean a room and make certain it looks nice. Your daughter should know how to sweep, dust, clean windows, and make a bed. At first, make her bedroom her responsibility and then add rooms as you see her capabilities grow. She should also have a working knowledge on how to clean a bathroom. Mom, you may have to write the steps out for cleaning a bathroom so that she can effectively learn the steps involved. Inspection of the job is a necessity and a chore list is imperative if you would like to accomplish this objective. By introducing a new skill into her list every two weeks, she can learn the necessary tasks in a short amount of time.
The second lesson is laundry. A girl ought to know how to do laundry and this responsibility can begin at an early age. While it may be easier for Mom to just wash her clothing, this expertise is considered necessary when she is out on her own. First, begin by getting a laundry basket for her and place it in an area she can easily access but not in plain sight. For example, her closet might work well or a covered hamper in her bedroom. Next, set a day for her to do and complete her laundry. Notice the word complete? This is where Supervisor Mother comes in. Teach her how to sort, appropriate temperatures for specific clothing, stain treatment, and detergent usage. Clothing hung up while still damp and warm from the dryer can save her the trouble of ironing. However, ironing should be taught so she can take care of the articles of clothing that need this process. Also, this would be the perfect time to teach her how to mend a hole or sew on a button if needed.
The third lesson a girl should become skilled at is cooking good and nutritious meals. Your daughter might make a mean brownie or amazing cookies, but she needs to be able to cook nutritious well-balanced meals as well. How we did this in our family was I assigned a meal to each child per week, later on they wanted to take more than one turn. The children were responsible for alerting me to the groceries they needed and the meal preparation for that night’s meal. In a while, you may want to encourage her to take on a one-week menu plan. She would be responsible for planning what to eat for each night’s meal and the shopping for the items to complete this menu and preparing the meal. This is an excellent time for you to teach her about budgeting or create a weekly budget for the groceries and implement it while shopping. By teaching this skill now, you are training your daughter to be a good steward of time, money and resources.
By the age of 12-14, you daughter should be able to do the basics skills mentioned and while I have not included every single skill your daughter needs to know, this gives you an idea of what she is capable of and you can then continue to develop her Mabel Hale, author of Beautiful Girlhood said, “ The most useful accomplishments are within the reach of every energetic, enterprising girl.” The following section is a portion from my book, The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood and can be used as a diagnostic tool to use with your daughter to discover where she can become even more proficient.
· Read Proverbs 31:10-31 and list the woman’s useful accomplishments.
· Make a list of the useful accomplishments you (the daughter) have mastered. Then create a list of ones you need to master yet.
· Look at your list of un-mastered skills. Choose one area (housekeeping, household business, or entertaining) and design a project to help you become accomplished in this area. For example: Create a monthly budget for groceries and implement it. Balance a checkbook. Take over the planning of a special occasion complete with menu plan and food preparation, table setting, decorations, and shopping. After you have mastered this project, choose another.
My father, in jest, often quoted verbatim our old hometown newspaper’s wedding announcements. Dad recounted from memory the grand details of the brides dress, flowers and at end of the description a summary of the bride’s accomplishments, “The bride learned the art of homemaking under the expert tutelage of her mother and is well qualified to reign as queen in a home of her own.” As amusing as this may sound there is a ring of truth to it. Mothers, our job is to tutor our daughters in the old-fashioned art of homemaking for one day she will reign as the queen in her own home.
Come visit me at my website http://www.PumpkinSeedPress.net! The concepts I spoke about are in the books Beyond Beautiful Girlhood Plus Companion Guide for girls 12-18 and for younger girls ages 9-14 The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood.
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