All play and no work make Jack a dull boy

I’ve heard some encouraging stories about the impact of family meetings.

The mother of two daughters, 15 and 11 years old, and her husband have been holding family meetings for a few months since taking the online course Raising Able Family Management System.

“The kids suggested we start doing our own cleaning to save money, and use that money for vacations,” said the mom. “I’m going to give notice to our cleaning service because that adds up to a tidy sum that we can use for our vacations.”

When you calculate the cost of paying taxes on that income, the savings increase. When we had 11 straight years of college tuition, we all pitched in to do our own cleaning and netted at least $2,000 a year towards UMass.

A divorced father of two, a son age 18 and a daughter age 15, said of his family meetings, “They really got into them. They couldn’t wait to volunteer for chores. ”

That’s success! When children pitch in around the house they feel connected, significant and part of the team.

A 15-year study on adolescent health [ADD Health] found a simple recipe to keep teenagers out of trouble. When teens feel connected to home and to school they greatly enhance their opportunities for success in life.

Family meetings, family chores and family dinner provide a critical connection between children/teens and families. The young people might not be as eager as the kids described above, but don’t worry. Young people don’t always want to be seen as too cooperative. Deep down, children of all ages are yearning for connection to their parents.

And secretly, they want to be challenged, to be able to demonstrate competency, and to learn.

In the 1930s, researchers offered misbehaving children this consequence: unlimited recess.

Children who behaved were given the opportunity to learn. The children figured out the system quickly and they wanted to do the schoolwork instead of playing all day. And they did learn, with record-breaking results.

Too bad schools today haven’t used this approach. Let the students with behavior problems run around outside until they’re exhausted and cry “uncle” and they beg for the opportunity to behave properly and  learn in a classroom. The exercise will do them good.

Many people say they don’t want to work, but the reality is that work is where most people find satisfaction, connection and achievement. Home chores set up kids for success at work and in their own lives.

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