One of the most important duties of a parent in this day and age is to teach your children how to work. A generation or two ago learning how to work was taken for granted because there were so many things in the life of every family that needed to be done: taking care of the babies, cutting the grass, feeding the animals, milking the cows, etc. It was too much for the parents and they longed for the day that when the children reached the age where they could help with the chores of life.
One of the few advantages of being very poor, as we were when our older children were young, was that we didn’t have enough money to spoil them or even give them many of the things that their schoolmates or church friends had. If they wanted anything beyond the Walmart version of clothes or shoes, they had to earn the money. And they did—in the process they learned how to work. They learned the connection between work and money. So many kids today do not understand that connection. With both parents working there is an abundance of money and it’s easier to give the kids money than it is to help them find a job. And these children grow up expecting to start off in their adult life with a significant income and no money worries. But sometimes they haven’t made the connection that their new job requires effort, sacrifice, persistence and sometimes long hours.
All of the children in the orphanage either come from very abusive circumstances or they are newborns. Of course, they didn’t have concerned parents who guided them toward adulthood, knowing that they would someday need to work. And to make matters worse, our governing body has a list of regulations that require us to have so much staff that it is difficult for the children to do anything. But we have been persisting: the children take turns helping the cook in the kitchen and serving in the dining room. We teach the young children to feed the babies. This occasionally gets us into trouble but it is an important skill because these children will one day have children of their own. The children have to clean their rooms each day and help with the laundry. There are chores in the garden, not to mention cleaning up the yard. When construction is going on, we enlist the boys to help with carrying supplies.
Our children not only get the blessing of yarning how to work but they also get to feel like they belong. They are bonding to the hogar and their “siblings.” The work they are doing helps the orphanage run. It is their home and it gets them an all-important sense of belonging.