The weather has turned here in our little corner of the Pacific Northwest (note the leaves on the ground). School has started and our basement is beginning to feel chilly in the morning and evenings. Also, blackberries are taking over our house. I am pretty sure they are trying to creep in through small cracks and crevices and strangle us in our sleep…Himalayan Blackberries are not native to the Pacific Northwest, therefore they have no natural enemies. They take over everything!
They are worse than a toddler after bedtime when you finally sit down with Netflix and a bar of chocolate. They know. They creep. They crawl. The poke you with their darn little prickles, threatening tetanus at every turn.
It was time to face this challenge straight on and kill those invasive biological threats.
So we armed our
soldiers children with weapons of mass destruction (if you’re a blackberry, anyway) and made those kids earn their keep. They chopped. They sliced. They hacked.
And you know what else? They had a whole lot of fun.
We didn’t exactly hear a joyous chorus of thankfulness when we announced the job. We might have even heard
wailing and gnashing of teeth quiet sighs of resignation when we announced the job.
Within half an hour I heard voicing saying, “This is kind of fun” and “I like this”…and chorus of “yeah, this *is* fun”
Because you know what? There is a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with a job well done. A three-year old knows this. And honestly, leisure time can’t be enjoyed if it isn’t balanced with work.
Once the blackberries at the side of our house were tamed, it was time to move on to the ever-present job of chopping wood. Thankfully we have spent years growing our crop of workers. The boys love chopping wood. It makes them feel strong. Powerful. Needed.
Which they are. They know this isn’t a superfluous chore, given to them to keep them busy and out of trouble. They know they are needed. Valued. Loved.
And hard work builds muscle, something my boys are old enough to appreciate.
[In case you’re wondering, the girls chop wood as well, I just happened to be out photographing the boys. We only own three axes.]
Never be afraid to reward hard work. Whether it is with a hug, a sugar and dye laden popsicle, cold hard cash or just a genuine thanks.
Hard work builds character.
Working together builds family ties.
Rewarding that work builds motivation.
Happy Labor Day!