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In this July 18, 2014 photo, Sterling Murset washes a car at the home of Todd Blanchieri in Pensacola, Fla. The Murset family is touring the country doing chores for families in need. (AP Photo/Melissa Nelson-Gabriel)
Family’s summer travel teaches value of chores
Giving back » Family’s summer travel teaches hard work and service.
First Published Aug 22 2014 02:20 pm • Last Updated Aug 22 2014 03:15 pm

Pace, Fla. • The Murset children spent their summer doing chores — just not at their own home.

Financial planner Gregg Murset and his wife Kami loaded their six children, ages 7 to 16, in the Phoenix family’s RV to do volunteer work at the homes of families in need across the country. Murset said he wanted to combat the mind-set of the "entitled generation" one chore at a time.

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"I think they initially thought, ‘Dad, the chore thing has gone too far, you know, you are crazy.’ But as we started reading stories about the people we were going to go serve, it all started to jell for them. They saw the bigger picture," Murset said on a recent morning as the family did chores at the home of Nicole and Todd Blancheri in the Florida Panhandle town of Pace.

Son Wyatt Blancheri, 8, has Hurler syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that progressively damages his organs and brain. Because Wyatt’s parents are often busy with his medical needs, household chores like cleaning the fish tank, vacuuming, mowing the lawn and washing the car sometimes go undone.

The Blancheris watched as the Mursets pulled ladders, hoses and other cleaning supplies from the RV and set to work both inside and outside their home.

"They are doing a lot of those chores that we just honestly don’t have time to do," Nicole Blancheri said. "It means a lot to us that they have so generously donated their time to help us out."

Adam Murset, 11, mowed the Blancheris’ lawn and helped wash their car.

Adam said he wasn’t thrilled when his dad first proposed spending the summer doing chores for others. But he said meeting children like Wyatt and doing work at Ronald McDonald Houses around the country has been a good experience.

The reward in helping families like the Blancheris is about giving back or sharing their earnings with people who need help, Murset explained.

"The next generation thinks ‘We are entitled to whatever we want.’ Not in my house," said Murset.

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For instance, Murset — who has a parenting website (www.kidsinthehouse.com) — recommends requiring a child to work for the privilege of having a cellphone.

"You’ve got to tie work and reward together," Murset said. "Especially in that cellphone, it seems like that is such an integral part of a teenager’s life, but you tie it to where they have to make them pay for some of it, it makes a big difference."

Murset has also developed a cellphone app that allows parents to assign chores to their children. The kids keep a log and are rewarded points that correlate to a monetary value determined by their parents. The children can then decide whether to save, share or spend what they have earned.

The Mursets’ travels took them 6,500 miles from Arizona to the East Coast and back. A public relations firm helped arrange for publicity along the way, and the family was frequently written up in news reports.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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