What sweet memories I have of my mother training me to peeling potatoes. I know training and teaching me brought her pleasure. Each day she would pull out the potato peeler from the kitchen drawer, and she would show me how to do it. My little hands soon learned how to grasp a potato in my left hand and the peeler in my right.
She used one of those old metal peelers that have a sharp blade that kind of wiggles over the sides of the potato as it removes the brown skin from its surface; I’d get the knuckle of my finger peeled, too, sometimes. You were left with a smooth, white, firm potato that you had to then cut into smaller pieces with a knife. Those many potatoes that were peeled and cut each day went into a pot filled with water, a dash of salt, and was brought to a boil on the stove. Even today, I still prefer using a knife and cutting by hand instead of using the more speedy Cuisinart processor to cut vegetables.
My mother trained me to make boiled potatoes because my Dutch Daddy loved potatoes, and they needed to get done. He loved them so much that we had a big pot, sometimes twice a day. Modeling my mother’s hard work and happiness in the kitchen developed much of those same ways in me as a young child. I just wanted to please her.
Sometimes we would race to see who could peel potatoes fastest! And sometimes we would cry when the starchy water from that pot of potatoes would boil over and run down into the ring that housed the burner since we didn’t have smooth top stoves in those days. But mainly, we worked together, and I knew I was her main helper. She needed me as the oldest of four and let me know she appreciated me in many little ways. I saw that she was tired, but she didn’t rub it in or manipulate me with it.
I need to tell my Mom more often just how much I appreciate the things she taught me. As I look back, I know I must have left her with more to clean up, yet she made me a part of her day as best she could.
Training in obedience need not mean correction or discipline; it does means easy-going, ‘teachable moments’, caught here and there, as you teach your child in how to be capable at life skills.
From the youngest years, when you cook a meal, have your little girl standing beside you as you talk her through every step of the process. Make it worth her while, too, with a taste of your productivity and some pretty music playing to accompany you. If you do the laundry, shop, wipe down the counters, or any number of daily activities, and you don’t involve your children, then you are possibly not TRAINING UP your children as effectively as you could.
When you train a child to enjoy a ordered room, she will always enjoy a ordered room. When you train up a child to work (with laughter and enjoyment of that child), he will feel the satisfaction of a job well done. When you train a child to be on time, to be kind, to work as a team, to use time wisely, and to notice what needs to be done without being asked, he will likely become that responsible and productive adult.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” ~Proverbs 22:6
Although we did our share of spanking for foolishness, the norm should be ‘Train Up’…not ‘talk until you’re blue-in-the-face’, not using ‘time-outs’, or threatening and repeating. Those later things train in resistance and avoidance. Train her (them) how to peel potatoes or any other number of things. It starts with showing and laughing and working side-by-side and allowing mistakes and practice and more practice.
So take your little daughter (and don’t forget your son), wash her hands, and ask her up into your lap when you make your next sandwiches or PBJ’s. The first time, ask her to watch you and tell her that you want to teach her how to do it, too, because she will be your best helper soon. She will imitate you. It will slow you down considerably, but her joy in helping will be immense; and more important, she will be in training to love to work with her hands.
For working with the easily distracted or “less than diligent” child, Doorposts makes a “Go to the Ant” chart. We used this when our children were young, and it helped so much for understanding what God said about a certain behavior.
Here are some Scripture verses and a quote that will help you and your child to transform your mind during these young years of Training Up:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” ~1 Cor. 10: 31
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” ~Colossians 3: 23-24
“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.” ~Benjamin Franklin
Thanks for reading!