Chores or service opportunities?

 Posted by on December 15, 2009  Add comments
Dec 152009

Which sounds better to you – a household task or a chance to help? When I think of chore I think of Eeyore, hanging his head down because he has to rebuild his house of sticks, again. However, in service, we can choose to find freedom. The Bible urges us to serve one another in Galatians 5:13:

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom…

In our home, we have basic expectations for everyone. Make your bed. Pick up after yourself. Clear your spot at the table. Maintain your jurisdiction. Most things above and beyond the basics we will gladly PAY to be done. Paid jobs are called service opportunities.

Home Blessing Hour. One fun way the children can earn quick service opportunities money is during our weekly home blessing hour. This time is similar to Kendra’s Power Hour. We put jobs on strips of paper and each draws one. The timer is set for 10 minutes. Home blessing includes:

  1. sweeping
  2. vacuuming the middles of each room
  3. windexing mirrors and doors
  4. dusting
  5. emptying trash (separated into upstairs and downstairs)
  6. culling magazines and papers
  7. changing sheets

Everyone works on their service opportunity for the allotted 10 minutes. When the timer beeps, run and choose a new opportunity. Youngest children can tag along with mom or an older sibling. Having a buddy especially works well with emptying trash.

Reluctant helper? Whiner? Arguer? With service opportunities there is a built in reward for cheerfulness and a happy spirit. Double pay is disbursed if the task is performed without complaining and arguing. In our home, the basic home blessing tasks just listed pay 25 cents each. But if the service is finished with a happy spirit, the pay is 50 cents.

Other service opportunities we regularly reward include but are not limited to:

  • Bug removal (thank you Lord, for my brave eldest boy)
  • Laundry: carrying clothes from the dirty clothes hamper to laundry room
  • Kitchen: set table, help cook, fill drink cups
  • Dishes: rinsing, loading/unloading dishwasher
  • Bringing in firewood
  • Getting mail/delivering mail to box
  • Help with young ones: changing/fetching a diaper
  • Weeding/yard work (extra $)
  • Cleaning out the family van (pay extra for a good cleaning!)
  • Cleaning the bathroom (a separate payment each for cleaning the toilet, tub, sink)
  • Groceries: bringing in and putting away groceries

Take good care. Service opportunities teach another important character trait – caring for the gifts we’ve been given.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

Hopefully, by teaching our children to serve in the home, they will take advantage of service opportunities outside the home. Their hearts will be tuned to recognize an area they are skilled to serve or simply a way to bless another. And when these children grow up in just a short while, their employers and coworkers can confidently entrust them with opportunities, reward them for a job well done.

What service/chore system does your family use? What works best for you?

Adapted for our family from Doorpost’s Service Opportunities.  For Hodgepodgedad‘s weekend post on the practical aspect of paying for service opportunities, percentages for tithing and saving, as well as the computer software he uses, click here.

  8 Responses to “Chores or service opportunities?”

  1. This is great stuff. We’ve been going back and forth about what chores should receive pay. This definitely gives me some ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great ideas, Great word from the WORD!! It gets to the heart of the issue. I have got to try something new and fast. My kids are becoming lazy and I have been lazy about ‘making them’. It is so easy for me to let go of something that should truly be a habit. Busy, I can do it faster, they’re sick, they have been waiting for this movie all day, daddy is home, etc… I have to fight my own flesh everyday when it comes to trying to teach my kids to maintain good habits. Please pray for me!!! =)

    • Oh Angie this system is definitely a “daily” thing we all have to work on. Me included because sometimes it is easier to do it myself than take the time to teach. You are right service opportunities get to the heart of the issue.

      Pick one part and start slow. Be easy on yourself during a time of sickness! Praying 🙂

  3. Another wonderful post! Love to see those children help, help!

  4. Great ideas Tricia! Just one question…How do you track their “pay” for service opportunities completed? Is there a chart or system you can recommend?

    • Hey Heidi! Steve did a post on that same question – and added a link to download the the Excel spreadsheet and categories we use. Let me know what you think if you start using it.

      Click on over to the Habit of Rewarding Service

      P.S. – Steve’s explains our adaptation of Doorposts’ Stewardship Street. We used the milk cartons for several years but “upgraded” to digital tracking 🙂 That way on pay days all Steve has to do is transfer the money into their accounts for savings and he knows just how much cash they receive for spending.

  5. I love the idea of service opportunities and getting rewarded for a cheerful spirit. You are a very wise woman and I am learning so much by your sharing your wisdom.

  6. We use It’s awesome!

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