Fr. John Fullerton, District Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, writes that assigned chores and hobbies are necessary to develop resourcefulness in children. He adds that creative and educational hobbies are endangered by TV, video games, and surfing the web.
The story of a very resourceful young student was told to me recently by a 91-year old woman. She described her days in the southwestern desert where she and her family tried to eke out a living on a farm when it was expected the crop would fail two out of every three years. Loans from the bank allowed farmers to survive in the off-years.
Thirteen-year old Wallace, a sixth grader, was a fellow student in the consolidated school of the early 1920's. Wallace's father was a farmer who had bid successfully with the school district to provide a canvas covered truck to transport the children the long distances to and from the school. Interestingly, the farmer always made his young son, Wallace, drive the "school bus".
One day, the bus left school and went about a mile and a half before it ran out of gas. Wallace had to walk back to get gas and carry it in a can to the bus. The other kids shivered on the wood benches under the tarp-covered truck until Wallace returned, filled the gas tank, and drove the students the rest of the way home.
Wallace had to be especially resourceful the day when the bus broke down. While he and a couple of other boys repaired the truck, the late autumn weather was delightful and the girls decided to walk home with the full moon rising on the eastern horizon. In about an hour, Wallace and the boys were good enough mechanics to get the bus running again to pick up the girls and drive them the rest of the way home.
Can you imagine this example of youthful responsibility and ingenuity happening today? Resourcefulness in children seems to be limited to family environments where a lot of children (or grossly defective parents) require the children to take care of themselves and their siblings. Maybe, just maybe, some of these children will be as responsible and resourceful as Wallace Lockmiller.