CRLC Challenge; Chores

square-template24Over at Carrot Ranch the weekly challenges continue, even though Charli Mills is up to her earlobes in MFA work and related happenings. The annual Rodeo, the Ranch writing contest, is also going on, until the end of the month supplanting the Tuesday columns and Monday’s Saddle Up Saloon feature. It sure is worth a visit to Carrot Ranch to read, write, and appreciate literary art.

This week the prompt is to, “in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about chores. It doesn’t have to be a western ranch chore; it can be any routine task. Go where the prompt leads!” I treaded word water for three 99 word essays before being led to a flash featuring that farm family and another unrelated totally fictitious take apropos of nothing.  


I, and my brothers, always had chores. Aside from some gender discrepancies, typical for the times, I don’t resent having had chores; in fact appreciate the experiences and learning that came from them. When I was a teacher I often asked students and parents about chores at home. Repetitive tasks, such as setting the table, support number sense. As parental scaffolds fall away a child learns independence and problem solving skills in the endeavor to complete a chore. Balanced with play, meaningful chores provide a child a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of being a contributing family member.

How chores are perceived by a child, and by adults, depends on how they are presented; attitude and mindset matter. The first definition of chore is a routine task; routine, necessary tasks are not necessarily unpleasant. Shouldn’t there be joy and satisfaction in completing a necessary task? And can’t one bring joy to that task? That’d be a fine thing to model for a child. Chores can be a shared time of skill teaching, of story telling, of instilling habits of stewardship and responsibility. Let a child grow into what they are capable of and don’t forget to play.

Do what you love, love what you do. Because I am able to pretty much do things when I want to not when I have to, I have no chores. I get done what needs to get done without stress. In fact routine tasks reduce stress; so-called chores can be a relaxing time of contemplation and mindful mindlessness, often serving to unblock some other stoppage. Unforced, tasks go more smoothly and successfully; what seems a chore one day eventually becomes another day’s pleasant project, the delay often necessary subconscious problem solving. To master your tasks, don’t be a taskmaster.


Lost in Translation  

“I learned a new word at school today.”

Hope’s dad continued scooping beans with his bread. “In the classroom or on the playground?”


He held his bread and looked up. “What word?”

“It started with a /c/ I think. Melinda made it seem like a bad word.” Hope continued while her parents exchanged glances. “It has to do with doing things you don’t want to do, and not getting to do fun things. Chores! That’s the word.”

“But Hope, you tend the chickens, and the garden; help us both out around the farm.”

“That’s fun! Mommy, what’s allowance?”


Tales Out of School

She loved the pedagogy, the art and science of teaching children, of engaging all learners. When she taught she learned, delving deeply into the topic when developing units of study. She led her students by following their lead. She relished helping her students make connections and demonstrate their learning creatively.

Then came the canned curriculum, the boxed units.

“This will be easier for all teachers.”

Easier isn’t better. Let me do it my way, she said.

“Curriculum delivery should all be the same. You can do your thing as long as you follow the program.”

Teaching became a chore.


19 thoughts on “CRLC Challenge; Chores

  1. You know, they did exactly that to the curriculum when my younger daughter was in elementary school. Her 2nd grade teacher found ways to subvert it and the kids knew to hide their non-aporoved books when the inspectors came around. Can you imagine?

    I hated chores as a child because as a girl I had much more to do than my brothers. I can see now that the things my daughters did willingly were done together. But I admit I was no better at presentation than my parents. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where is Hope’s allowance (or pocket money)? They have been making her work for free. The second story was thoughtful and the first was fun to read. When you are forced to do something you don’t want, even a fun activity becomes a chore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great takes on the challenge. I like how you show “chores” from different perspectives. I especially like your points that chores can be, and should be really, positive actions. I’ve found that letting things pile up, not doing them routinely, is what makes “chores” be difficult. But if I were to keep on my “chores” they really are satisfying. I started gardening again this year (after over a decade away from it) and I found that garden chores were relaxing and peaceful. Watering and pruning brought me great satisfaction, even weeding although dense planting and mulching left me with very little weeding to do.

    As a kid I got great satisfaction from doing laundry after my mom taught me how. I felt so adult and productive. Perhaps a strange satisfaction but in ways I still feel it today (until it gets out of control, lol).

    Thanks for sharing and getting me thinking on this. 🙂 Have a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your introduction to this post – almost sounds like something I could have written but didn’t.
    Love Hope’s flash too. Her parents have got it all sorted, just as it should be.
    I can identify with the teacher in your second piece too. Many of us left for expressly that reason.
    Well done. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Chores « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  6. Allowance is a fun word too. 😉
    I have to admit, I wasn’t fond of chores when I was a child, because I had four brothers who never had to do anything! I don’t mind chores now though. (Within reason)


  7. That last one I can relate to. I was teaching pre-school when the edict came down that we couldn’t even hug the children. Bummer. There’s gotta be fun in learning.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s