Without further ado:
Learning the Why's of What We Do
My children don't enjoy working.
I guess, no one enjoys working, but there is some sense of satisfaction with a job completed and done well. The process of doing the job may not be enjoyable, but the outcome usually is.
It's hard impressing that knowledge on a six year old, and nigh impossible on a four year old, but my ten year old gets it ... mostly.
Most of the "work" we do around the house is a family thing. Everyone pitches in to the degree she/he is able. Like with the wood. When the load is delivered, it's dumped in the driveway. Deus Ex Machina, as the only one who has the power to heft the maul, splits all of the wood. I stack it. The girls are tasked with piling the split pieces into the wagon and dragging them back to me and dumping them so that I can stack them on the pile.
At first everyone was excited and eager to help, but after about, oh, three minutes times number of years in age, the project grew old. Starting with the youngest, who lasted about twelve minutes and then needed to do something else, starting with her first changing of the clothes.
Then, Fire Faery, who needed a drink and was sent inside to get refreshments for everyone, ultimately ended up taking the clothes off the line and folding them.
But just before the youngest two bailed on us, they started complaining. Fire Faery asked why we needed all of that wood, and I said something about wanting to be warm during the winter, to which she replied how little she liked the cold.
Big Little Sister, who was still in full-help mode, started listing off the perks of winter: skiing, snowmen, snowfort building.
Fire Faery was not sold.
I said, "How about maple syrup? Without cold, there would be no maple syrup. Sugar maples don't grow in Florida."
Big Little Sister was intrigued. "There are no sugar maples in Florida?" She asked.
"Not ones that make syrup. They need to cold weather, like we have here."
"Do we have sugar maples?" She asked.
I pointed up to the trees, already starting to change color. "See all of those trees with the red leaves?" She nodded. "Those are sugar maples. We have a few."
They were intrigued with that idea, that without snow and cold we wouldn't have maple syrup, which is a favorite addition to oatmeal and plain yogurt.
They picked up their pace for a couple more minutes, spurred by the idea of staying warm and our sugar maples giving us lots of yummy sap for gallons and gallons of syrup in the spring.
Sometimes I just need them to do a task, because it has to be done, there's no why, and the answer to that question is "because ...."
But sometimes it's also fun to know why it's important. Staying warm is good, and while living in someplace that has a temperature range closer to the top would be fun for a while, I think they would miss the lush green summers, the vibrantly colorful fall, the snowy winter, and Maple Syrup Sunday in the spring.