Monday, February 28, 2011

Responsibility Ain't Easy!

If there’s one thing that makes me jump out of bed, it’s coffee. Yes, “I’m Stephanie, and I’m a coffeeholic!” I go to sleep thinking about that first cup of coffee in the morning. My two-cup minimum in the morning and maybe a pick me up in the afternoon satisfies my coffee craving. The nicest thing anyone can do for me is to bring me coffee in the morning. Seriously, whoever does this has my heart!
The crazy side of my brain has considered teaching The Girl how to make a cup with my one-cup machine, but my fear of her carrying it stopped that one. I know she could put the pod in and push the right buttons, but perhaps three is too young to be carrying hot coffee. 

It did get me to thinking though, are there other things that my children could or should be doing for themselves but I don't realize it? It was at that moment that I realized most of us as parents probably could stand to think about if we are doing for our children instead of teaching them how to do for themselves…or others.
Now, I don’t teach The Girl how to do things that are solely for my benefit, like making coffee—although that would be genius! I’ve taught The Girl to put her dirty clothes in the hamper, how to put clothes in the washing machine, to unload the dishwasher, to put her dirty dishes in the sink, things like that. These are all tasks that she needs to know how to do to be a productive adult. Besides, I’m getting too old and too tired to do EVERYTHING for everyone else. I take The Girl food shopping and let her pick items off the shelf and put them in the cart.  She helps me find the items on my coupons too. I think it's important to give kids the opportunity to be accountable for their actions; to take responsibility for their choices. Hey, if nothing else, if she makes the choice and isn't happy with it, she can’t blame it on me!
I’ll be darned if The Girl is sitting watching tv while I’m preparing a meal. She enjoys helping me cook, adding seasoning, stirring and mixing together. Sometimes she helps set the table, and she helps clean up. It’s a group effort. Not to say I don’t have to oversee and give instruction, but as time goes by she seems to catch on and takes pride in her participation.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. —Chinese Proverb
Some kids today are entirely too entitled. Parents cart them to and from expensive activities, allowing kids to not participate in daily upkeep of a household because they are hopeful that their child is the next Ashley Tisdale or Justin Beiber or they somehow equate being busy with leading a good life. My question: Who is going to do their laundry when they go to college? How will they know how to cook or shop for that matter? My philosophy: If my kids are ill-prepared to take care of themselves as adults, and they’re knocking on my door after college, I haven’t done my job! Of course, I plan to support my children in pursuing activities, but in a way that is balanced and not overbooked. Does the little miss need to be in school, soccer, ballet and craft club? Probably not.  Do I hope The Girl will be the next Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? Sure. Do I take that hope and forget about teaching her the necessities of taking care oneself? No.
So parents, give your children simple tasks to start really being part of your team! If they're too young to do their own laundry, show them how to fold or put the clothes away. Kids love that! They love to play house, so give them some “real” housekeeping duties. The Girl has always loved to dust or run the mop all over the house. It may not get done exactly how I’d like, but it gets done…and I didn’t have to do it!

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