Archive for the ‘disabilities and chores’ category

Chores build champions

September 9, 2010

Esther is a champion athlete who did chores a child. Chores teach self-discipline and nurture self esteem. Even though she's been in a wheelchair since she was 8 years old, her parents expected her to do chores. That's good parenting skills. That normalized Esther. She contributed to the family welfare.
Esther Veeger is a champion tennis player. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images in the Boston Globe.

Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands has won 393 straight singles tennis matches. She’s playing this week at the US Open, and has been ranked number1 in the wheelchair division for 11 years, since she was 18.

Bud Collins of the Boston Globe described in a column today how Esther became paralyzed from the waist down at age 8.

While recovering from the shock and adjusting to the loss, Esther said that her parents were supportive and not over-protective.

“Of course my parents did all they could, but they promoted self-sufficiency too. I had my household chores,” Esther told Collins.

Chores allow Esther and all children to contribute to the common good, feel useful, and to be part of a team. Chores require self-discipline — also known as “doing something whether you like it or not because you have to or it’s good for you.”

Chores are even more essential for disabled children because they start out with a disadvantage. They can gain confidence from doing chores, along with everything else.

I need self-discipline to exercise regularly, eat right, work, and show up when I promise for people in my life. I had chores growing up even though our family had a housekeeper. There’s plenty of work to do around the house that children can do.

Children don’t need to get up at dawn to milk cows. Chores can be as simple as setting the table or taking out the recycling every day. The chores must belong to the child. If the child does not do them, they don’t get done.

Parents can use what I call the DoubleE — encouragement and expectation — teamed with a family meeting to set up a chore system. See my free tip sheets on how to have a family meeting. The self-discipline learned from chores makes children better students, too. More on that soon.