At Trinity Teen Solutions, we believe in the power of work. A lot of good can come from having a teen do their share of household tasks, even if (or especially if) they express their unwillingness to help. Cleaning the bathroom once a week teaches responsibility for one’s own personal living space. Taking care of their own laundry establishes the importance of following steps properly, and not rushing through a task. Caring for a dog, or any pet, instills a care and responsibility for all living things. Doing the dishes offers the opportunity for immediate gratification of a job well done. Taking out the trash teaches humility and perseverance through unpleasant situations (this was my least favorite chore, as a child).
I’ve only mentioned a small handful of chores here, and they all seem like little things. To an adult, they usually are. These are just small tasks that need to be done, and they’re seldom thought of once they’re complete. But to an adolescent’s mind, these simple tasks may seem like giant obstacles.
Children don’t have the same demands on their time as adults do. A child learning to take on responsibility is coming from a mindset of almost total freedom, and it may be hard to adjust to having to work for themselves. It is important to remember that, just because it may be hard, it doesn’t mean it cannot be done. For a lot of teens, the refusal to help with chores stems from thinking they shouldn’t have to, which leads to believing they can’t; which then leads to deciding they won’t. In this situation, if an adult gives in to the child, then a wonderful opportunity for a learning responsibility will be lost. Alternatively, if the adult is patient, persistent, and firm, the teen will eventually decide that their best choice is to do the task. Deciding to act responsibly leads to believing they can, which leads to realizing they should.
This is effective because once a teen sees the results of a job well done, they become proud of themselves, and they want to feel that way again. In this way, children aren’t only learning to take on responsibility. They are learning to love themselves and take pride in their work in a very healthy way.
At Trinity Teen Solutions, we take full advantage of the many opportunities for a girl in our care to do her own work and reap the benefits of doing so. Many girls come to us at their lowest point, believing they can’t do anything right. Being given tasks to do, and learning to do those tasks well, gives our girls a sense of accomplishment, while instilling habits and virtues that can last a lifetime. I will never forget the expression on a particular girl’s face when she told me that remembering to take the trash to the dumpster every morning was one of her happiest moments. This seemed strange to me, but she explained that, for the first time, she felt proud of herself.
That is a huge part of the work we do here at Trinity Teen Solutions: Empowering young ladies to empower themselves. Nothing is accomplished here without the ladies learning to work hard themselves, no matter what the goal is. After all, the task itself is rarely as important as the lessons learned from it.