This post is Part 4 in my May Homemaking Series. In this series, we are learning more about what homemaking is, why we do it, how we do it, and why it is important. In this post, we are going to examine how we must train our children to be future homemakers.
In parenting, we have two big overarching goals that drive our choices and our lifestyles: one, is that our children know Christ, and that they walk with him for their entire lives. The other is that they grow into healthy, responsible, independent adults, and that they are one day ready to take care of their own families. These two goals are what lead us to be very intentional in training our children to be future homemakers. This is for boys and for girls.
Sometimes, when we think about teaching homemaking to our children, we imagine a list of skills that kids need to learn by the time they are adults. The list may include: how to cook, how to budget, how to do laundry, cleaning the house, mowing the grass, and basic vehicle maintenance. While all of these skills are important, and every young person should at some point be able to check off having acquired these skills, training children to be future homemakers is not this simple. It is actually something that is both complex and organic.
For example, what about interpersonal relationship skills? What about character and integrity? What about spirituality? What about communication? What about work ethic? What about helping your child discover their talents and their calling? These are also things that should happen under your roof before your child leaves home. I’m not saying that your child’s teachers, pastor, Sunday school teacher, youth pastor, boss, or mentor can’t teach them these things as well. But the place where they are truly going to become who they will be in adulthood is in the context of their original family.
The things that I mentioned are not like learning how to change a tire, that you can just check off your list. These skills are the most important skills, and they are not taught. They are caught. Our kids learn them by living with us and watching us day in and day out. The values with which they enter adulthood, they will more than likely learn from us, whether good or bad. I know that there are no perfect parents. I know that I am by far not a perfect parent. I also acknowledge that there is certainly a place for other adults in my child’s life—their pastor, their teachers, etc. But it is ultimately my job in the first place to set an example for my kids, and to spend enough time with them that they have the opportunity to learn from me and my husband how they should live as adults.
I would rather my daughter get married one day and open a cookbook for the first time, with no clue what any of it means, than for her to get married with very little emotional maturity and poor communication skills. I would rather my son not know how to change oil on a vehicle or turn on the washing machine when he is 25, than for him to have a shabby work ethic and have no clue what his calling is and no career plan or ambitions. Or worse, if he has an attitude of entitlement or if he is dishonest. Now, I hope I can teach my kids all of these skills. But I at least hope to get all of the most important things right. That is why it is absolutely non-negotiable that I do these two things: I set an unquestionably godly example for them, and I spend as much quantity time with them as I can. I can plan ahead of time the conversations I want to have with them, and I can initiate teachable moments, and set aside an afternoon to get out the lawnmower together, but I can also be prepared for spontaneous teachable moments.
But the one thing, as I mentioned, that is the most important of all, is my kids’ relationship with Christ. I want to do everything in my power to inundate them with gospel messages. They can be the most responsible young adults, and they can even have great character, but apart from Christ, they have nothing. If my kids grow up and choose not to follow Christ (which I pray in Jesus’ name will not happen), it will not be because they did not hear the gospel from me over and over again, and it will not be because they did not see me living for God. That is my responsibility, and that is something that is within my control. How can I teach them to take care of their home one day, and not teach them that if they receive Christ, that God has gone to prepare for them a home in his Father’s house? How can I teach my kids to cook, and not lead them to the one who is the Bread of Life? How can I teach them how to be a godly future spouse, when I am not also teaching them that they must be adopted into God’s family by faith in Jesus?
So, all this being said, I believe that there are three levels of training our children to be future homemakers. They are listed by priority level, but we can do all of them at the same time, by intentionally cultivating a deep relationship with our kids:
1. Leading our children to saving faith in Christ
2. Modeling godly character to our kids
3. Teaching our kids basic practical homemaking skills
What are some ways that we as homemakers can practically do this? I want to hear from you! Leave your experiences in the comments!