Louisa was good-and-mad at me (and probably at herself, too). So, I did the unnatural thing: I assigned dishwashing duty to her. At first the pots and pans were being banged around and she was sulky, upset, and sure she was mistreated. Surprisingly, 10 minutes later she was humming happily.
Once again, I had witnessed the magic of work. Kids are wiggly and full of muscles that want to move and work and play. Sitting on a time-out chair can help them get madder. Put those muscles to work, and you’ll be surprised at how the anger dissipates!
Work seems to be a magic balm that can change a mood and make kids happy. Don’t choke! It is astonishing, but it is true.
The next time your child misbehaves and needs a punishment, don’t choose the time-out chair. Skip the lecture and the scolding. Pass by the guilt. Instead, try good, old-fashioned work. The results can convince the most unbelieving parent that America’s fine citizenship has been built on farm chores.
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