What memories I have of my mom training me to peel potatoes. My Dutch father loved boiled, peeled potatoes. He loved them so much that we had a big pot, sometimes twice a day.
Each day she would pull out the potato peeler from the kitchen drawer, and she would show me how to do it. My little 5 year old hands soon learned how to grasp a potato in my left hand and the peeler in my right.
We had 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; Sometimes, I’d get the knuckle of my finger peeled, too. 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.
Modeling my mother’s hard work and happiness in the kitchen developed many of those same things in me as a young child. I just wanted to please her.
Sometimes we would race each other 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. She also had my other siblings to teach—and teach, she did! We all learned!
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.
From the youngest years, when you cook a meal, have your little child (girl or boy!) beside you (maybe on a step stool) as you talk them through the steps of the process.
Delight in your productivity with some pretty music playing to accompany you. Make your home a happy place (it also helps to listen to them)!
If you do any number of daily activities and don’t involve your children, then you are not TRAINING UP your children.
When you train a child to enjoy a ordered room, she will enjoy a ordered room.
When you train up a child to work (with talk, laughter and enjoyment of that child), he will feel the satisfaction of a job well done and feel valued.
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 a responsible and productive adult.
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.
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 (sit if you have to at first) when you make your next sandwiches or PBJ’s.
A child will naturally imitate you. They learn by repetition!
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.
Filled with short, momeorable bible verses, 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