Mark and I have been working with our teenage sons this year on the concept of “freedoms.”  We recently sat down with the boys and had a discussion about how we use our time.  We discussed three categories that our activities fall into:

Things we have to do.
Things we get to do.
Things we want to do.

Things we have to do would include activities that manage our home and personal life: household chores, mowing, housekeeping, laundry, homework, etc.

Things we get to do are opportunities that God gives us to serve others: help an elderly neighbor, assist family friends move across town, carry in groceries for the pregnant mom next door, etc.

Things we want to do would be the privileges we want to have: having a friend over, going to the pool, playing video games, being on the computer, etc.

We then explained that the way we get to do the things we want to do is by being responsible and having a good attitude when doing the things we have to do and occasionally get to do.

Doing the things we have to do earns us the freedom to do the things we want to do.

It’s taken a few weeks for them to catch on (and a few times where Mark and I have really had to be the bad guy) but they are definitely starting to get it.  In general, we’re seeing more responsibility and better attitudes.  And when we don’t, they already know what the consequences will be.

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