In this installment of School’s Out, host Sam Sorbo tackles the issue of teaching children basic life skills, which are vital to them having a sense of competency and how they view their place in the world. She gives examples of skills that were once taught in school such as: home economics, shop and design. Many of these classes no longer exist in today’s schools so students miss out on the rudimentary skills that should be a part of their overall education experience. Many students have to take remedial classes in college to get them up to the level they should have been while still attending high school. The host states, “As our culture has gradually moved from entirely self-sufficient doers to a society of consumers who often cannot do even minor things for themselves, we have voluntarily adopted an attitude of helplessness that is quite seductive but also false, while replacing menial tasks with games and entertainment.” A quote by Ann Landers states, “It is not what you do for your children, but what you teach them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” Sorbo poses the question to parents, “What are the goals you have for your children and how to you plan on achieving this?”
In the next segment of the video, the host talks about the benefits of children learning skills that some feel are below the average person. She points out that there is no shame in hard work and menial labor and pride in a job well done. Personal responsibility becomes the best teacher. Knowledge in and of itself is not useful without a life plan and life skills.
The Marshmallow Test
Sorbo gives the example of the marshmallow test which was a long-term test used about 50 years ago. Children were sat in a room with a single marshmallow on a plate in front of them. They were told if they waited for the woman who gave them the marshmallow to come back in the room before they ate it, then she would give them two marshmallows. The data showed a correlation between children who could delay their gratification to higher SAT scores and greater success in life. In a follow up study, the children were told that a teacher or a friend would be able to tell how long they waited before eating the marshmallow. Those children showed an ability to wait much longer than the others. This demonstrated that even young children are influenced by what others think of them.
Then the host reviews things that children need before they can become independent and leave home.
· How to love and be loved
· Role models
· Understand the value of money
· Learn by earning money and then using it
· Process of negotiation
· How to cook and clean
· How to keep a neat household
· How to volunteer their services and help others
· How to charge for their services
All of these things are valuable to learning accountability.
Definition of Chores
So, what are chores? Chores are not something that a child does for him or herself but rather something that is done for the good of the household. Children should learn the consequences of chores not done or ones that are done poorly. The example that the host gives is taking out the garbage. It not done, then the house starts to stink. Doing these chores and doing them well teaches a child how to contribute to the overall wellbeing of the household and become a valuable member of a functioning unit. The responsibility that children learn doing their chores teaches the following qualities:
· Sense of duty
· Work ethic
· The sense of service
The child benefits from these as well as the recipient of the service. The host points out that we are so busy trying to make our children’s lives easier, that we do not teach them how to strive or struggle for something, which is a valuable lesson. An example of what happens when the value of hard work is not taught is “trust fund babies” or children of millionaires who grow up and spend all their money and end up with nothing.
Chores l School’s Out with Sam Sorbo [Full Episode]
Watch the full episode here.
A quote by philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca states, “I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent—no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.” The host reminisces about doing chores as a child and stated it taught her and her siblings the value of good hard work, responsibility, and a sense of belonging. She emphasizes the importance of children knowing that they belong. Children love the feeling of being needed and being useful. This is why young children like to mimic the work that they see adults doing.
Sorbo shares another experience from her youth which was cooking breakfast for her family. She would hand out menus and have her family members make their choices and she would then cook breakfast and serve it to them. She stated that it gave her great pleasure doing this and gave her a sense of belonging and contributing to the family. It does take time for children to learn how to properly do their chores, but the time spent teaching them pays off in the future. These tasks will need to be continuously taught because children learn by repetition. Learning the proper way to do things builds their skills bank and helps them be more successful in life. They also need to learn etiquette in speaking with others and how to write a thank you card for gifts that they receive.
The video concludes with the host saying that if you rely on your children to help around the house, it fosters a sense of mutual support and teamwork. She encourages parents to find answers and solutions to problems by watching a youtube video or using other sources and then encourage your children to help. This will empower them and the best way to do that is to take advantage of all of these opportunities.
“School’s Out with Sam Sorbo” premiers every Sunday at 6 p.m.—exclusive on EpochTV
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Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.