Alexandre Dumas said it best in The Three Musketeers: “All for one, and one for all.” My family is a singular unit, even though it appears to be made up of individuals. We work together to accomplish our common goals, with unity of purpose as a wonderful side benefit.
For example, each one of us has learned how to operate the washer and dryer for doing laundry, a common practice in many families. However, in this family, if one individual needs a specific load of laundry done, he/she does not simply do his/her own laundry. Instead all family members are questioned to find out if anyone else also has items to be added to that load — a practice that promotes teamwork and unity, rather than selfishness and isolation.
Other household chores are also done with a teamwork principle, rather than being assigned in turns. Each chore is usually done by only one person at a time (or with Mom’s discipleship), but we do not always schedule who is going to do it next. Our goal is “getting the job done for the good of the family.” “Taking turns” is a valuable skill, most often used in playing games and other recreational pursuits. Taking turns does teach patience and sharing. However, in a home environment where all members benefit from the performance of a specific duty, all members should be ready and willing to perform that duty whenever it needs doing. Emptying or loading the dishwasher; taking out the trash; washing, drying, and folding laundry; sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting; lawn-mowing, leaf-raking, and snow-shoveling — these are regular household chores that benefit all members of the family and therefore get done by all members of the family. Ever-present Mom usually acts as superintendent, assigning chores as needed to whomever is available, but we all understand that if one person is not available to do it this time, chances are good that he will be expected to do it another time when he is available. Substituting for each other ensures that each person knows how to do each job and also builds the family-as-team concept.
A sidebar issue to “This Family Is a Team” is “Siblings as Best Friends.” You may be in disbelief at this concept depending on the ages of your children, but give me a chance and I will explain.