The Fruitful Season: Part 7

It is time to continue with our series of “Fruitful Season” blog posts. As many of you know this summer Steve wrote a men’s book, Redeeming the Time, and Sarah completed another book in the Moody Family series, Summer Days with the Moodys. Therefore I spent my summer working with Steve as he developed his outline and helping with editing on both book projects.

As summer was approaching, we asked Mary, age 12 at the time, if she was willing and thought she was able to take over my daily household tasks so that my time was available for book work. She happily agreed. For the summer, since she didn’t have school work to do, Mary did my morning and weekly chores, oversaw the laundry, kept up the grocery list, and did what I normally do with meals.

Recently Mary (13), Anna (17), and I were working on a new chore plan. Through the years, the children each had from fifteen to thirty minutes of weekly chores that they did on Fridays, our light school day, while I usually spent at least three hours doing my weekly chores. When we were building the house, converting the bus, and since our return from our trip, the boys have been released from their weekly chores. Their time is being utilized in jobs for which the girls are not well suited, and the girls have taken over their weekly household chores.

When the girls were discussing reassigning the chores, Anna said, “I would like to just have a general list that we would all work from until the jobs are completed.” The past couple of weeks when I have come home from my morning walk with Steve on Friday, Anna has been doing the vacuuming, which is my chore, and the damp mopping. Mary has been doing my main floor dusting. I asked them what was left for me to do, and they said my bathroom and then I should rest my back.

These are the fruitful years, but I remember the weary years. They were the years when the children could do little productive work themselves, but they required much maintenance and made significant messes. I remember the years, and often discouragement associated with it, of teaching them to do chores, checking the chores, calling them back to redo a poor job, and giving consequences when needed. I wanted them to be independent, diligent, and responsible from the first time I taught them a chore and gave it to them to do.

There were times I wanted to give up trying and to stop putting forth effort in the area of chores and personal responsibility – times I didn’t think they would ever be responsible or helpful unless it was required of them and I was overseeing them. But I never felt the Lord allowing me that option, and I had a husband who was always encouraging me to stay the course while he was working with the children toward the goal. If you want to know what we learned along the way that has to do with chores, you might be interested in Managers of Their Chores.

Now my girls can run the household. They choose to do work that I consider my responsibility in order to help me, ease my physical load, and free up my time for other activities. These are the fruitful years. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

Trusting in Jesus,

14 thoughts on “The Fruitful Season: Part 7”

  1. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this. It makes perfect sense that diligence on our part as parents will train diligence in our children and that maturity plays a roll as well. I’ve just never thought of it or heard it from anyone else. It has helped me to be more realistic and not give up. My children are 5 and 6 and this is blog is very encouraging to me. Thank you for sharing all that you do. I appreciate you honestly and frankly sharing your experiences with us all.

  2. My sister and I are in the fruitful years now…we have taken over meals and housework so our mother has time to teach the other two of our siblings. I have learned soo much from having more responsibilities. 🙂 And I feel so glad that I can stay at home in my single years and be helpful to my family. All the training our mother has given us over the years has helped train us to run our own homes, but we can also use it outside the home to serve others (cleaning homes for the elderly, babysitting and watching children, teaching lessons, etc.). 🙂 I am very grateful to my mother, and my father, for their hard work and training and discipline of me when I was younger. 🙂

    Our family was soo helped by your book Mrs. Maxwell! 😀 We had tried soooo many different ways to accomplish chores, but we had never found a way that we liked and suited us until we bought your book. 🙂 Now we have a system that suites our needs and that works! We have been using it successfully for years now, adapting it through the years as needed and as my sister and I graduated, etc. 🙂 Thank you and your family for all the hard work put into the making of it! 😀

    Bless you!
    ~Miss Rachel~

  3. You’ve done a great job! It amazes me the friends we have who have perfectly able bodied children who are neither expected to do anything around the house, nor would be able to if asked. We’ve always believed that children are little adults in training, and if we want them to be responsible and caring citizens it’s our job to help them accomplish this through chores and other daily household and yard work. A household of any size is a pleasure when everyone contributes to it.

  4. Thank you so much for this lovely reminder of the fruitful season. I sometimes forget the blessings of my oldest child because I am so busy with the younger ones. While we still have some training to do, I am so encouraged by her ability and willingness to lend a hand when needed. Your family is a wonderful example of Christ’s love and diligence in our lives.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

    This post is so encouraging to me, at this exact moment!! I have 2 babies (2.5 & 1.5 years old) and my third (our first daughter!) is due in about 6 weeks time. I am tired–especially this morning, after the Thanksgiving weekend with company visiting, my house feels less than “orderly.” I needed to read this today! I sit here writing to you with tears streaming down my face and the reassurance that there really is nothing new under the sun!!

    I look forward to the “Fruitful Years”, yet in the midst of our “messes” of today, I am so thankful for the encouragement of my sisters in Christ. Again, thank you–we had the great joy of seeing/meeting your family at your conference in Satellite Beach, FL on Sept. 28th. We have been greatly blessed-beyond measure-by your books (my husband devoured and loved the “Redeeming the Time” book!) and now your blog.

    Please continue in your service to our King!

    Bless you Christy for sharing. As we begin the countdown and significant preparations for our west coast trip in January, comments like yours are what drives us on. We so desire to see lasting fruit in lives and to hear that the conference and Redeeming the Time has been good for your family is a real blessing for us.
    Thank you for taking the time to encourage us!


  6. Thank you for being honest that you despaired of them ever being independently productive. I know your children and have often wondered if mine would grow up to even be capable of living on their own. My oldest is now 10, and I see a glimmer of hope. She can do quite a bit, though she still needs lots of, umm, encouragement, shall we say. If there is one Bible verse she will be able to say for the rest of her life, it’s Phillipians 2:14. Praying you have a blessed holiday and safe and fruitful trip in January. Wish you were swinging by here, but I’m confident our paths will cross again.
    Maybe so. There is a mom trying to find a location just south of Austin for next fall. Time will tell.

    God bless.


  7. Thank you for sharing this post, Teri. Your many years of diligence and hard work are paying off–what a blessing! ~ I enjoyed the pictures of Mary and Anna too–such precious young ladies.
    Blessings, Patti M.

  8. Thank you for this encouraging post! I am very much in the weary years with 6 young children (nearly 8yob, 6yog, 4yog, 3yog, 22mthg, 2mthg) and most days feel like the messes are made faster than I can clean them up! This post reminds me that the time will come when their help will actually be helpful. I will press on…

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I am entering the fruitful years now with my 3 children (12b, 10b and 8g). Although, I too recall when I felt that they would never be able to really help around the house. Fear not everyone, they can and do learn with the right training and perserverance!

    I remember when I was about 10 years old, I was fully able to run the house (cleaning, shopping, cooking) and was a big help to my parents. I was also quite handy in the workshop with my dad. As a result, transitioning into married life was very easy for me because I knew how to cook, clean, shop, garden, do basic repairs, and so forth. I am often astounded by how many of my peers never learned how to do these things and are,naturally, not teaching their children either. I think adulthood will be a rude awakening for them.

    Anyway, thank you so much for your blog and ministry here. I am so encouraged by them.

  10. My children are grown now, but I have to say how much I appreciate their willingness to still dive right in and help whenever they see it. My oldest son was here from NYC for the holiday, and we were moving into our new home. He took it upon himself to organize the garage and take several truckloads to the Salvation Army–I am in decluttering and downsizing mode. When we misplaced a box, that was for keeping, he was off to the Salvation Army to explain what happened and went through all our dropped boxes in seach of his brother’s letterman’s jacket until it was found. I couldn’t have gotten done nearly what I did without the two boys helping with everything.

    Blessings, Mrs. Mari

  11. Thank you so much for the encouragement. We know it to be true, but are always blessed to see fruit coming forth from those ahead of us.

    God Bless

  12. I didn’t have time to make a post last week when I read this. Tonight as I reread it tears again come to my eyes. My boys are 12 and 9 and just entering these wonderful fruitful years. Through our parents, our pastor and your family God had taught us how to raise our children to please Him. Thank you for obeying Him and leading our family into His wonderful freedom. (It doesn’t feel like freedom in those early years though!) May God richly bless you.

  13. Thank you so much for the encouragement! I am not quite to the fruitful years yet, and reading this has reminded me to continue to be consistent. My four (ages 9,8,7, and 5) do a wonderful job overall, but sometimes it can get discouraging to have to call one back for a do-over when it seems they shouldn’t need to. Thanks for the encouragement that it does indeed sink in, and one day soon I will find myself in the fruitful years.

  14. Words cannot express enough thankfulness for this post. I haven’t read all of the parts, but I plan to. There are many days I cry because of being overwhelmed with having 3 little girls(5yo, 2-almost 3-yo, and a 19mo, plus 1 on the way). Having trouble with some ADD and depression as well as chronic disorganization, working part-time, trying to homeschool, and just always feeling like a failure, I feel like I don’t teach my girls about godly character like I should and I don’t teach them about the ways of the home like I should. I am now trying to go through MOTH and MOTC. I am hoping to start the year fresh. Anyway, this post is encouraging to me because I may not be doing a lot right now, but I am trying and God will get me and my girls through this. Thanks so much!

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