My kids have been telling me for months (alright years) that Frodo and I are slave-drivers.
"None of my other friends have chores."
"I'm the only ten-year-old who has to pick up sticks."
"How come I have to help get Quarto dressed? Why can't you do it?"
"I'm not a slave!"
Frodo and I persisted in our theory that to instill a good work ethic in our children, we actually had to give them work to do. Reading books about people working or watching other people work simply wasn't going to cut it. We even found ourselves saying, "You don't know what your friends do at home. I'm sure they have chores, too." Apparently, we were just flat-out lying to our kids. We are the only local parents who give their kids chores. Huh. Go figure. How do we know this? A couple weeks ago, I took Terzo to his Cub Scout meeting and the dirty truth came out.
Because it is a small troop (3 Tigers... including Terzo, 0 Bears, 3 Wolves, and 1 Webelo), the meetings are set-up so that all the boys work on a belt loop together or on one requirement for each badge level each meeting. At aforementioned meeting, the Wolves' requirement that the boys were going to work on was to fill-in a chore chart. The boys had to think of four chores that they could do at home for the next month (these were written across the top of the chart) and then they had to do these for one month and check them off as they did them (there was room for this on the bottom portion of the chart). Terzo's handwriting is still developing, so he asked me to write his chores while he told me what to write. He picked washing dishes, taking out the trash, and bringing the dirty laundry to the washing machine. Then he got stuck. He couldn't think of another thing to write. None of the other boys had written anything yet, so the mom leading the meeting (hereafter known as 'Leader Mom') began to offer suggestions, "What about making your bed? Cleaning your room? Putting your dirty clothes in the hamper?"
Terzo looked at me and asked skeptically, "I could put making my bed as a chore?"
"Sure," I confirmed. "Why not?"
"Well, that's just something you do. It's not really a chore. A chore is extra."
We wrote down "make bed" as his last chore. "Done!" Terzo announced.
"You're done?!" Wolf 1 asked. "I can only come up with 'Clean basement' but my Mom says that's a special job, not a regular chore."
Leader Mom (Wolf 1's mom) shares, "Asking them to pick up their toys is a chore for me. I know I should give them chores, but it's just so much easier if I do it. At least I know it will get done."
"His mom picks up his toys?" Terzo whispers loudly in my ear... everyone could hear.
"What chores do you do, Terzo?" Leader Mom asks.
Terzo proudly rattles off his chores. I have to remind him of some since he doesn't consider things like making his bed or putting his dishes in the sink chores.
As we leave the meeting that night, I can hear some of the boys complaining about having to do all four chores for a whole month. When we get in the car, Terzo says, "I'm only six and I have more chores than those big boys. I'm not lazy, am I, Mom?!"
"No, handsome. You're not."
So, there you have it. We're slave-drivers. And here's Terzo's daily schedule to prove it (the times are a bit off since our schedule has changed and I haven't had a chance to update it yet, but you'll get the idea of how evil we are):