Waiting for Hercules

Three feet of new snow, about 5 degrees, and my stairs and the walk up to my front door need shoveling. At first sight it is kind of a Herculean task for this out of shape sixty-five year old guy, but I view it as an opportunity.

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My regret is that one of my grandsons is not here to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

One of the great opportunities our children can have and lessons they can learn is to be presented with and accomplish Herculean tasks. Herculean tasks help your children learn what they can do if they really try. They teach them to look at a task that they think is impossible and to learn that they can really do it. As parents you should be on the alert for tasks that appear to be Herculean. The ideal Herculean tasks are those that look huge and to the child seem impossible, but which are doable, although they may take a whole lot of time and effort. The child who is used to 5-minute chores might perceive shoveling a driveway covered in a foot of snow, a yard covered in leaves to rake, an entire vegetable garden to weed, a stack of logs to move, or washing all the windows in the house all as Herculean/impossible tasks. But they are not impossible; they are possible if they try.

Completion of Herculean tasks provides children with an opportunity to redefine themselves, to change their perception of what is possible, and to learn that if they try they can in fact do it. The child who learns they can do Herculean tasks will continue raising the bar on their perception of what they can do and will learn to attack new tasks with the intention of succeeding–not just trying, not just making an effort, not just going through the motions, but having the intention of accomplishing the task.

The child who learns they can do Herculean tasks won’t shut down when presented with the task of writing a twenty-page report, reading a 500-page book, learning all of the bones in the body, or pushing to take another tenth of a second off their 100-yard dash.

Look for those appropriate Herculean tasks and change your child’s perception of himself forever.

Okay, so much for my break. I’ve finished the steps and walks.

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Now the driveway!

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Or perhaps I’ll wait for Hercules.

Related Links

NACD Family Chore List