Thursday, April 28, 2016

Don't Add to Your Child's Disability: Teach them to Work

Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.

Colossians 3:23 Amplified

Summer is "just around the corner". I'm planning some fun activities; library days, going to the pool, camping, and of course, friend days.

But all play and no work, makes children lazy and unfulfilled.

Especially for kids with intellectual disabilities- WORK is crucial to our kids well being and sense of purpose. Our mantra and example to our kids should be:

Work is FUN!  Work is SATISFYING!  Work is REWARDING!

WORK is not a dirty, four letter word.  We were all created to work and God said it is good!

From the time Bethany could walk and move about, we began having her help us. I'd sit her on the kitchen counter and I'd help her unload and separate the silverware in the right spots. We would make a game of taking out the laundry and throwing it in a pile so I (we) could fold it. She loved to help take napkins and silverware out to the table.  Did it slow me down??? Yep.  But it was worth it because I wanted her to learn to love to help and that she was a valuable part of the family.

Work produces dignity, self-respect, and satisfaction in life: Show me a kid who does video games, TV, computer, and playing all day, and I'll show you a bored, unfulfilled child.

I'll admit, I find it much more difficult to parent in 2016 than it was when I began parenting in 1981. What scares me is that electronics and visual stimulation is offering a mesmerizing alternative to work.  I'm afraid it not only robs time and creativity, it steals our productivity and satisfaction. Sure, there has to be "down time" but the stats say kids spend 75 hours/week tethered to social media outlets!  (that's more hours than working a full time job!!!) 

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for daily needs and not live unproductive lives.  Titus 3:14

I don't want to add to Bethany's disability by not guiding her and providing her opportunities to work and be productive!

Bethany's 15 now, and this summer, here's some of the things we're doing together to build her
skills and satisfaction of being a productive, contributing, member of our family- and eventually society. :)  

Work is FUN!  Work is SATISFYING!  Work is REWARDING!

Cooking 2 meals a week.

Helping with the groceries: from making the list, to adding it on the calculator, to paying for it and putting it away at home.

Doing her own laundry and helping me fold the towels.

Cleaning her own room.

Running the vacuum.

Unloading the dishwasher.

She also loves to help me with projects around the house; organizing closets, painting, cleaning out the garage, etc.

I didn't realize our approach might be unusual until I've talked with many parents who seem shocked that Bethany is able to "do so much".  

Why are they surprised?  Are kids with special needs unable to comprehend the simplest of tasks?

If we don't teach our children to think work is fun and to love being productive, we are setting them up to fail in their adult lives.

This Summer- don't forget to add WORK to your kiddos to do list!  Celebrate each achievement for work produces fruit in our lives.  

Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.

Our Prayer: Father, thank you for giving us the desire and ability to live productive lives. Thank you for giving us the example of working and resting and that you said it was good! Help us delight in the work You have given us to do!  In Jesus Name- Amen.

Cindy Barclay


  1. I love this - what a great point about teaching children to love being productive. And how is my attitude towards work? If I have a bad attitude towards working, how will my children develop a solid work ethic? Thanks for the great post.

  2. Isn't that true, Amanda?! I have to watch my attitude because they pick up if I feel like it's drudgery or a joy! :) blessings