On Snowstorms and Shoveling – The Lost Art of Purposeful Parenting

Last night and early this morning we got our first big snowfall of the year here in New York. When I awoke, there was over six inches of the powdery white stuff blanketing everything.  After it finally stopped snowing, my wife and I got the kids suited up in their snow gear and began the dreaded task of snow removal. Everyone in my family, young and old, worked together to clear what Mother Nature had so generously dropped from the sky overnight. If my kids want to play in the snow, they must help to clear the snow.


This practice has been passed down to me by my parents who, from an early age, instilled in my sister and me a work ethic that sadly seems to have been forgotten by many parents in America today. Helping our parents around the house was mandatory in my day. There was no other option. If you wanted to play, you had to pay. This principle of parenting has remained in effect in our home as my wife and I raise our elementary school-aged children.


Unfortunately many parents today don’t seem to believe in the importance of this credo. My children were the only kids with shovels in their hands on my block this morning. I saw lots of dads and a few moms out there snowplowing and shoveling, but the sidewalks were sadly devoid of kids. I assume most were indoors on various electronic devices texting, listening to music, watching TV or playing video games as their parents dealt with the snow. And I don’t blame the children for that – I hold their parents accountable for this lazy attitude of entitlement. Why are so many of my friends and neighbors raising kids that feel no obligation to do their part in the work around the house?

Is it because parents are too lazy to fight the battles that my parents fought as they poked and prodded my sister and I out of the house to shovel snow those cold winter mornings of the 1970s? Is it just easier to do it themselves (or to pay someone to do it for them)?

Or is it that parents have forgotten how important it is to instill a sense of obligation to work within our children? A notion that everyone in the family must contribute in some way…to do their fair share….no matter how small their contribution is! A friend of mine used to say that it was easier to do it herself than to wake her son, Johnny, to help her with the shoveling. She explained that he had been up late watching TV the night before. Poor Johnny! This attitude ENRAGES me!! My friend doesn’t realize what a disservice she is doing to her child…to her family…to our COUNTRY!!


Raising children that are active participants in the daily chores of a family is one of the most important contributions we can make to our society. It is imperative that we do this continually! When I take my kids to the supermarket with me, each child has a role. One of my twins is an awesome grocery bagger and she now completes this task without having to be asked. My son is a great scout – running  ahead to start our cold cut order at the deli kiosk. And when we pull up to the house each kid is responsible for carrying at least two bags into the house – no ifs, ands or buts about it! My neighbor down the block told me she does all of her food shopping alone because her kids are so poorly behaved. She would rather they stay at home with dad so she can get this chore done quicker and without stress. Doesn’t she realize that she created this problem? If my sister and I misbehaved in the supermarket there was hell to pay! We were scared of our mom’s wrath. Food shopping with my mom was part of the learning process. The refrigerator didn’t get filled magically.

I used to roll my eyes when my grandparents used to mention “the good old days”. I now know exactly what they were talking about and it makes me sad to realize that many parents today seem to have lost their way.

Thankfully, there is still time to get back to the basics 🙂


About Lee Araoz

K-12 Technology Coordinator, instructional coach, staff developer, speaker and author. Innovative teacher and perpetual learner. Igniting an enthusiasm for lifelong learning! https://thegoldenageofeducation.com
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9 Responses to On Snowstorms and Shoveling – The Lost Art of Purposeful Parenting

  1. Donna A says:

    Love it! I am a single mom, and didn’t have the luxury of leaving the kids behind when I went grocery shopping. At home they always had to help, so now as teenagers, they’ve been doing laundry for years, helping in the kitchen, and even changing the air filter in the attic. I always hear good things from their teachers, and my youngest has even won the citizenship award at school two years in row. More importantly, I know they will survive and thrive when they leave home. Thanks for sharing the blog post. I reposted it on my Facebook. 🙂


  2. kusum rawat says:

    This is really great to share…I loved this article.I do observe these things happening around.And I would surely love to implement what I learnt from this article when I will get the chance.


  3. k.m.f. says:

    ‘too lazy to fight’….are the operative words. I would add ‘too tired’. What I’ve see is lazy parenting and lack of parenting from adults who are tired…of work, their life, their burdens. There isn’t the concept of sacrifice for good parenting…you give up a portion of your ‘life’ to be good parents…it isn’t forever, it’s temporary, but the pay-off is brilliant when your adult children are great people. But too many just do not want to sacrifice or put in the work.
    Parenting, like relationships, are hard work…
    That being said, no disrespect to parents who do put in the work and their kids go off the rails. It happens. Those parents need support, not reprimands or second guessing.


  4. Scott says:

    I agree 100%. My sister is raising her 4 kids similarly to your neighbor. When I’m around they are given numerous tasks and must do their share before we have any fun. They show a little resistance in the beginning, but before you know it they actually find joy and fulfillment from contributing. In the end, kids love to help and do the work that they see adults doing.


  5. leea66 says:

    Parents have more power than they realize. It’s a shame that many can’t or won’t tap into it!


  6. Jeremy Barbour says:

    Great article! This is a major problem as the type of kids you described in your article bring their laziness and sense of entitlement into my classroom everyday. I hope things change for the better (soon) and please keep spreading the good word!


  7. Denise Weinke says:

    Wow! So powerful and sadly, so true,


  8. leea66 says:

    Reblogged this on NYtechprepper and commented:

    For my friends in Buffalo. Stay safe!


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