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Chores build character, teach life skills

Teens groan heartily at the mere mention of the word chores. While living at home, chores often are often viewed as a hassle; few view them as productive.

Damon O’Brien, ’05, learned how regular household tasks may evolve into foul predicaments.

“We have two boxer dogs that I have to clean up after if they have an accident in the house, which seems to be often,” O’Brien said. “Sometimes one of the dogs throws up or has an accident when someone comes over, so I have to stop what I’m doing to clean it up.”

While not all teens clean up fetid smells on hands and knees, others may mow the lawn, wash dishes or vacuum the house.

“Some of my chores are normal things, like scooping up after the dog, cleaning my room and cleaning up the kitchen,” O’Brien said. “I enjoy living in a clean atmosphere, but I do not enjoy the working for cleanliness itself.”

For some, feeding household pets seems to be a smaller job, only consisting of a cat or dog. Yet for others, nourishing their creatures can seem to be an overwhelming task.

“We have a lot of animals at our house, and I have to feed them,” Matthew Brouwer, ’06, said. “We have two goats, three big dogs [a Mini Dachshund, a Great Dane and a Great Perinese] and an aviary full of white doves and finches. For a while, we even had a horse.”

While some get an allowance for their efforts, Brouwer’s chores net him more than some pocket change.

“”I do not get an allowance for doing my chores,”” Brouwer said, “”but whenever I need something, my parents get it for me in return for my work around the house.””

While animals can generate pleasure, providing them with nutrition seems to have become an inconvenience for some teens.

“Feeding the goats is a hassle because their pen is way far out in the back of the yard,” Brouwer said. “I have to walk pretty far late every night to feed them because I have a lot of homework to do before hand.”

Brouwer is not the only teen with pet-chore concerns. Others seem to tackle equally strange tasks involving the animals in their families.

“I have to feed, brush and wash my pet cow that I have for 4-H,” Nicole Bos, ’07, said. “She is so big that it takes a long time to take care of her. Also, I have to wash her at a certain time of day. If it’s too cold outside she could get sick, but if it’s too hot the soap dries on her and irritates her skin.”

Bos not only takes care of her cow as a daily chore, but also participates and competes in 4-H with her. She will compete at The Big Fresno Fair on Oct. 6-17.

Since many teens do not find their chores enjoyable, parents use allowances to encourage their child’s faithfulness to their tasks.

“I get an allowance on a fairly regular basis, typically weekly,” Kara Linkowski, ’08, said. “Usually I like to spend my allowance money going to the movies or shopping for a friend’s birthday present or buying lunch at John’s lunch truck.”

While some teens are rewarded with cash allowances, others receive extra privileges for their efforts.

“I pretty much do chores because my parents make me,” Bos said. “But when I get them all done on time, my parents let me go out or to a friend’s house.”

Though completed chores may be rewarded, conflicts between chores, jobs and personal enjoyment may arise.

“Often I cannot go to a friend’s house or go out until all my chores are done,” Linkowski said. “Sometimes when I want to go to the movies I can’t until I do the dishes or something like that. Also, I baby-sit my little brother a lot which can sometimes cause an inconvenience.”

Although chore controversies may be an inconvenience to some teens, others view their chores as beneficial.

“It is a good thing, I think, to learn how to do chores,” O’Brien said. “They teach you responsibility, but only if you are responsible enough to actually do them in the first place.”

For more on teen chores, go online to and scroll down to teen chores. For other teen and children’s chores ideas, go online to

For more information on Bos and 4-H, read the article 4-H Champion competes at Local Fair by Brianna Stobbe on Sept. 19, 2003.

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