I really enjoyed this article over at Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms the other day. The article was in response to another article, which claimed that letting kids do chores was harder than just doing the chores yourself. Clearly written by a perfectionist, the article claimed that children are just not capable of doing chores correctly. The Sisterhood rebutted the article, stating that children should do chores, even if not perfectly, to become competent and willing contributors to society.
I agree. My son loves to help around the house, and I encourage it. I don't expect him to get the toilet completely clean (I scrub a little more when he's done) but he asks to do it, so I let him. I can see his confidence rise when he's helping out, feeling like he's important to the household. He beams with a cheerful, "You're welcome!" when I thank him. And his teacher says he's very helpful in his classroom, too. He loves to help, and I want to always encourage that.
Even if they can't everything perfectly (or even properly -- lessons need to be learned so they have life skills and learn independence), kids just want to feel wanted and needed and important (like everyone else). Having them do chores gives them that feeling, along with a sense of accomplishment. They also give kids a sense of obligation and not entitlement. I believe with skills, confidence, hard work, and a sense of community comes a better society. I'm willing to sacrifice a perfectly made bed for that.