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Maddi Gillel

“Without parents’ humanizing work, children may be quite smart, well-educated, and successful, but so selfish, self-centered, and uncaring as to be essentially uncivilized – not able to live in a spirit of community with others” (On Rekindling a Spirit of ‘Home Training: A Mother’s Notes from the Front.’ To Taking Parenting Public: The Case for a New Social Movement, ed. Sylvia A. Hewlett, Nancy Rankin, and Cornel West.{2002} p. 19

There were 8 children in our family.  We lived in a small town in a rural area of our state.  Our dad owned a service station and our mother stayed  home.  The 4 boys in the family grew up working at dad’s station and the girls did whatever needed to be done at home.

We usually went home from school for lunch and mom would often have us hang clothes on the line – usually diapers- and our fingers would FREEZE before we were through (we lived in a high, cold climate).  We would also help fold those diapers, as well as all the other clothes, fresh from the clothesline.  We would mow and rake the lawn, clean and wash the cars, clean house, run errands, wash dishes, help with the meals, etc. etc. etc.

Of course we did the usual moaning and groaning and complaining when we had to do all this work- we were VERY normal children. But as time has passed, lo and behold, we ALL know how to work and work hard.  We love to work.  We love having family projects – painting, cleaning out and sorting out an attic or a garage (or our bedrooms), setting up a garage sale, deep lawn caring (trimming, weeding, mowing), and helping our grandparents with all of the above when needed.

To this day, ‘playing’ in and of itself, holds little interest for me.  I enjoy the things I grew up doing –  WORKING !  Of course all of us love to be together and we have so much fun, especially if there’s a work project to do.

I love a good movie, I love reading, handiwork, visiting with friends and family, technology, etc., so I am not a “dull boy” as the saying goes – (you know “all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”).  I love order and beauty in my life, and I know how to create it – all because I learned how to work.

I cannot stress too strongly the value of children being taught how to work.  It has been such a blessing in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters and our families.



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