Your Tribe: Chore Learning And Relationship Building


Would you say you love to cook or that you love to bake? 

I guess I wouldn’t say that I “love” doing either but I would say that I enjoy both. 

There are specific reasons I can contribute to that enjoyment.  In fact, I can also say that I enjoy making my bed, straightening my house, weeding my flowerbeds, and planning for occasions. 

When I pause to consider why it is that I can say I enjoy these “chores”, I realize there is a link to the teaching of these chores by my parents, and the memories I have of the learning process.

My Dad was in the nursery business.  I absolutely loved being with him and by his side.  I know that his love of plants and gardening planted the seed in my heart for gardening.  Being one of four siblings growing up, it was not always easy to have one-on-one, intimate time with Mom or Dad. 

When we were old enough to begin helping around the house, we were given jobs to do.  We were taught the correct way to make a bed. 

Now Dad was in the military so he knew the “right” way to make a bed using hospital squared corners at the foot of the bed and sheets and blankets pulled so tight that wrinkles are completely gone. 

It is my belief that the training of making a bed in the military provided a form of discipline; for me, making my bed and cleaning my room provided an opportunity to learn how to do something “correctly” and to have special time with my Mom. 

I can still hear her say, What’s over in that corner?  Is that dirty or clean?  There are wrinkles on this side.

This might sound strict or harsh, but in the end, my room was neat and tidy, there was the soft glow of a table lamp shining, and Mom and I had some quality time together. 

Once I had children and they were able to start helping around the house, I saw the value of having them have chores and teaching them how to do their chores.  Not only were they helping me out, they were learning responsibility and gaining confidence when they did their jobs correctly. 

I have realized that learning is not always fun or enjoyable, in fact, a lot of the time it is uncomfortable and painful.  I know God uses my disappointments and pain to teach me and when I am open to learn, I grow closer in my relationship with Him.

Our kids are now adults with children of their own.  I love being in the kitchen with any one of them.  With the grandchildren, we cook and bake together, selecting ingredients and using them and then “putting them away as soon as we are through.”  Recently I visited our son, Jake, and his family in Hawaii.  Jake and I were in the kitchen preparing a meal together.  I had chopped onions and was using the sharp side of the chef’s knife to scrape the onions into the mixture we were putting together. 

Jake said, “You know Mom, if you would use the dull side instead of the blade side of the knife, it would help keep the blade sharp longer.” 

That comment did not offend me in the least because I so love anytime I get to be together in the kitchen with him or any of my family.  I did realize, however, if that comment would come from my husband, I would have taken it quite differently.  I took note and learned from that sweet time together and carried it home with me. 

It has truly changed my heart in my relationship with my husband and for that I am so thankful. 

I am always a work in progress and hope to learn throughout my life. 

Who knew that learning could come in some of the most basic and sometimes tedious ways and rich relationships could develop and be made stronger in the process, while memories to last a lifetime could be made.

Anne Miller writes TableThink’s column, Your Tribe. 

Besides my relationship with Jesus, My Tribe is the most important part of my life.  I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a nana, an aunt, a friend, and a mentor. 

My Tribe has grown through the years beginning with the addition of my little sister to our family, already comprised of my twin brother and me, our older brother, and our dad and mom.  I was the first to get married but within four years My Tribe had expanded to include my father-in-law and mother-in-law, three sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law and our first child had been born. 

By 2015, My Tribe consisted of my husband, our three adult kids and their spouses, and ten grandchildren, four nephews, five nieces, twelve grandnephews and two grandnieces.  Along the journey from childhood to adulthood My Tribe also expanded outside the bonds of family to include friendships. 

Your Tribe doesn’t have to be limited; it can be ever expanding. 

I feel incredibly blessed for My Tribe  They have impacted my life in more ways than I can count.  I have learned from them, grown as a person because of their influence, and hopefully I have added to their lives as well. 

In this column, I hope to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years that have made my relationship with My Tribe rich and most rewarding. ~Anne

Listen to Anne on the podcast:  003: At The Table With Anne Miller


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