Another way to love on our children.
I have enjoyed reading the comments that continue to roll-in about the post, Honor your children and teach them to work.
In my opinion, the best part about blogs (other than the ability to brain spew to others who “get” you) is how positively interactive they can be. The contributions to that thread and this one were/are lovely … and both thought provoking and helpful.
Just in case you come here for posts only, but don’t have time to read through all the comments (or read only through your feedreader and therefore, don’t SEE comments), I want to highlight a few of them below. In addition, I’d like to continue the conversation with a slightly different bend … so don’t tune out until we get to the end of the post,okay? Good.
My husband grew up in a household where his parents each had their jobs and they didn’t have the kids contribute, out of fear they’d get hurt of they’d do it wrong. As an adult, my husband didn’t know how to do any of the handyman-type things his dad is so proficient in and didn’t know how to do any homekeeping tasks his mother performed. Contrast with my brother; he can install a toilet and whip up some delicious crepes. (Not at the same time, that would be gross) He’s so multi-faceted.
Exactly what I do NOT want. I want
the daughter-in-law I choose for my son my future daughter-in-law to thank me, not curse me! And I really think we still have a chance for that.
My kids have their age appropriate tasks and they get changed up every so often to help with burn out. I run a kid friendly kitchen as well. The kids pretty much have access to everything and if they don’t, well they know where the stool is.
I loved how Mom2Six referred to her daughter as “her little companion” from 18 months forward in this comment. There were many who agreed that our children should work aside us and as Mom2Six put it, her daughter “just learned to do all the chores with me as I did them.”
Yesterday was a busy day of cleaning. The house
was a pigsty had fallen into disarray as a result of a very busy family schedule. Jeff was home early and we just dug into the task. As I was finishing up in the restroom, Meredith came in and saw me cleaning the faucets and making them shiney. She wanted to do that in HER bathroom (notice the ownership – that is important, I believe). So, I handed her the Windex® and instructed her to get some papertowels and go after it. She was DELIGHTED. Seriously, there are no other words. DELIGHTED. I went into her bathroom a bit later to find her in the newly cleaned sink, doing this:
I took a picture “for her daddy” – as he was out running errands. My children like to brag to daddy about what new things they can do. When they don’t brag to him, I do. RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. I left her to her work and went back to mine.
I came back about 20 minutes later and the new bottle of Windex was nearly empty as she was trying to scrub the tub with it. I made a BIG mistake. I said, “Oh Meredith, you can’t clean the tub with Windex.” and she broke down crying. CRYING. She wanted to surprise me with a totally clean bathroom and she had cleaned the sink, toilet, fixtures, cabinets, and was going on to the bathtub with the Windex®. I’ve thought over and over a better way to say what I said. I tried to explain to her how thankful I was, etc… but she was genuinely upset – feeling stupid. I didn’t raise my voice or anything, but well … I hurt her heart. And you know what? She stayed hurt all night … no matter how I tried to remedy it.
I thought of this post yesterday, when carrying groceries with my 5-year old. I let her carry a bag; it was a large paper bag, and she held it from the bottom, and teetered, and swayed, and then about halfway to the car, she spilled it all over the parking lot. Broken taco shells! Boxes of cereal soaking into muddy puddles! Everything scattered? But did I get frustrated? Impatient? No. “Honor your children” flashed through my mind. Literally, that phrase. And I put down my own bags (into the driest part of the parking lot I could find), helped her collect the things, placed the bag in her arms again, and let her teeter toward the car. So thanks again for this!
No, thank YOU Ali. Thank you. It was YOUR comment that made ME think when my son came in wanting his own bottle of Windex. It was that particular comment that made a tired momma look around and find a job he could do on his own. And now I know that I’ll never have to vacuum baseboards again because HE LOVED IT! That split second decision proved to be beneficial – but it isn’t always so.
It’s interesting to me how when you’re thinking of things, that it’s all around you! My hubby and I have just been talking about this! Our 3 year old and 4 year old have just started unloading the dishwasher, making beds, and etc, AND THEY LOVE IT. I was never taught how to do household things, and it’s something I really want to instill in my kids.
I tell people all the time that I’m not raising children, I’m raising adults.
So here is the question and the challenge. Have you gone out of your way this week to honor your children? Will you? Maybe your suggestions will help others make some of their own personal commitments to slow down and teach. Isn’t it just another way to love on our children. I think so. Thank you ladies – this has been such a fabulous time of fellowship with you and learning for me.
HEY! Do this if you will/want. This idea was inspired by Angie in the comments below … I’d love to have links to your own pics of your children working alongside you ANYWHERE. If they are on Flickr, and your settings allow it, I might could even blog them here in a post!