"They're either inside the house where it's cool or inside my car where it's cool... it's an easy life for these two," she laughed.
I've been going through old books trying to clean out my cluttered home office and ran across a couple parenting books I never read. I flipped through these books and noticed that both addressed the importance of helping children build a good work ethic. Running into my neighbor and her dogs made me wonder if I'm raising "76-degree kids."
I've long understood the importance of leading our children into an abiding relationship with Christ. We also support and coach them academically and in sports. But are we doing enough, I now wonder, in terms of helping establish an exemplary work ethic? Am I helping or hurting them by working so hard to make sure their environment is comfortable and free of challenge and struggle?
Todd's engaged for extended hours this summer on a project at work. So, I decided I would turn my oldest "76-degree kid" loose on the lawn. It took the better part of four hours over a two-day period. He was sweaty and tired when he was done. But he was probably the happiest kid in the neighborhood, because he had accomplished something physical and grown-up. My two other children pulled weeds, and everyone was ready for bed at 8:00 p.m.
I'm taking a slightly different tactic with respect to recreation this summer, too. We've been fishing almost every day (I came very close to, like, touching a worm yesterday... I did think I was just going to die, though...). We can hang out by the pond for hours. No one complains or bickers. Phones aren't ringing. We're not glued to PSP's and plasma screens. Instead, we see ducks and ecrus and birds and trees and squirrels and catfish and bass and butterflies and turtles and frogs.
What we don't see are too many other kids. I wish they would come and experience what we've found outside 76-degrees. God has mercifully made possible air conditioning and advanced technology and I am so grateful for all of that. But in productive, physical work and the beauty of nature, he's provided much, as well... arguably, more.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23)
(Fish pond pic by lemonpepper; see http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=515400296&size=o for restrictions.)