When we learn how to work as a child, it is easier for us to work and accept responsibilities when we are older. Learning comes naturally and easily when we work together with our families, and it can be a lot of fun besides.
From my own childhood, I remember what a nice experience it was to help Mom with the rhubarb, especially when she put some sugar in a dish so I could dip a stick of rhubarb into it as I worked. When we made butter, the leftover buttermilk was just plain delicious! And what fun it was to put the family brand on top of the pat of butter with a little wooden marker.
I remember, when very young, helping my mother and dad in our movie theater in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. I enjoyed it because we were together—selling popcorn or tickets. When it came time to clean the big theater, I had the privilege of doing it with my dad. We each had our own jobs to do and yet we did them together. I noted later in life that I had retained the desire to keep things neat and orderly.
Mowing the lawn is still fun for me, because I learned to like doing it when I was young. There is great pleasure in doing a better job each time it is done.
When my wife was a young girl, her grandpa took the grandchildren with him to the farm to put powder on the potatoes to kill the bugs. It was fun doing it together. What’s more, they got to ride the old workhorse after they were finished.
It was fun to help get the cows into the barn so they could be milked. Although the children didn’t do much milking themselves, they watched and heard the milk splatter into the bucket. Sometimes a well-aimed squirt would fill the open mouth of a waiting cat. The children laughed even more when Grandpa squirted the warm milk toward their open mouths, and the giggles increased when he missed and splashed their faces.
The children helped harvest the corn and, when canning started, they helped the adults cut off kernels. Everyone had a feeling of accomplishment and they felt secure just knowing that they were adding to their year’s supply of food.
After the children had helped with the picking and pickling of cucumbers, they received a reward of some large ripe ones to cut open, hollow out, and sail as boats down the ditches.
If the Lord asks us to do something, He always gives us blessings for doing it. He said, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread. …” (Gen. 3:19.) Anytime a person receives something on a regular basis without earning it, he becomes weaker and less able to care for himself. We must work for what we get.
When we lived and presided over a mission in Central America, one of the delightful areas we served in was Panama, with nearly 30,000 Cuna Indians close-by. They lived off the coastline on islands to avoid snakes and mosquitos. I can still see the smiling faces of those Indian children as they took care of their little brothers and sisters. The five- and six-year-olds always carried their one-and two-year-old brothers and sisters on their hips. They even ran with them, always smiling. They learned to care for and love each other.
Maybe you don’t have cows to milk or corn to pull, but there is always work for you to do. If Mom and Dad forget to give you a job, then you should ask for one. Everyone should be responsible for something.
You know, of course, who sets a great example of one who works hard and loves it—President Spencer W. Kimball.
Let us follow him as he follows the Savior.