Background: Our family helped out at a local 5K run. We were in charge of the food/water at the end of the race. (Don’t think I have actually started running- that would mean the end of the world was near.) There was a big “Finish” sign at the end that inspired this family night lesson:
Attention Getter: I showed a picture of a finish line at the end of a race.
Then I asked, “Do you remember when we helped at the 5K run? And we saw all the runners run across the finish line?” “Can you imagine anyone just stopping before they crossed it? Like 10 yards away? and saying never mind?”
No, of course you can’t.
Objective: Well, sometimes we stop short of the finish line in our home. We don’t do tasks all the way to the end. Tonight we are going to talk about finishing jobs all the way to the end.
Activity: I explained that there were several things that were left unfinished right now around our house and it was the kids’ job to find them and finish them. It didn’t take long for them to figure out what I meant.
The kids ran around the house and “finished” tasks that were left undone. (I staged a few things, but for the most part the house was cluttered from their unfinished work so it worked out quite well.) Then they came back and reported on what they finished.
Toothbrush and toothpaste left out on counter
Milk left out
Backpacks on the floor
Car door left open
Lights left on
Markers and crayons left on table
Dirty clothes and towels left on the floor
Dresser drawers open
Garbage next to the trash can
Toilet not flushed
Shoes not in basket
Bike on driveway
Lesson: After the kids reported on their finds, I asked them: Why do you think dad and I want you to finish tasks? Here is what we came up with: Our house will be cleaner, we will be safer, saves money, we know where stuff is, it feels good, etc.
Then I read them a quote from For the Strength of Youth: “Work is honorable. Developing the capacity to work will help you contribute to the world in which you live. It will bring you an increased sense of self-worth. It will bless you and your family, both now and in the future. Learning to work begins in the home. Help your family by willingly participating in the work necessary to maintain a home.”
The lesson took an unexpected spiritual turn when Elle compared the concept of “Finish It” to making it all the way to heaven or enduring to the end. I was pleased as punch with her insight.
(And the best part of this whole activity was that the house was clean when we were finished.)
Follow-Up: Now this lesson did not make my house perfectly clean all the time and a lot of stuff is still left unfinished, but the bright spot is that all Chad and I have to say is “Finish It!” (Not to be confused with “Finish him!” from the epic scene in Karate Kid.) when we see something undone. There is no explanation needed.
The kids now exactly what we mean and why we mean it.