It has been a while since I shared some MOAT street news. So here’s what’s going on around town.
Ashley’s conversation with her son:
Me: How much homework do you have tonight?
Chase: (without missing a beat) Too much to help with dishes & stuff but a small enough amount that we can go to Bass Pro Shop later…
Then, from Lyndsay, some high expectation action, on which kids thrive – even when they’re young:
Just wanted to let you know as I was listening to you today I was thinking of things my three year old could help me with. In the car I told him I think he’s ready to help with unloading the dishwasher. He said “oh, no thanks.” I asked why and he said “you have I be a really big boy to do that.” I then said, “we’ll you are! I think you will do a great job sorting the forks and knifes. I’m gonna have to trust you with those knifes, but you can do it.” Got to watch him puff up in my rear view mirror. Thanks…”
And, as if on cue, an inspiring and authentic KIDCANDO from Michelle in Georgia:
We are always tweaking what we want our kids to know and be capable of when they leave the nest. My youngest, a pre-pubescent 11-year old, is totally grossed out by housework, etc. I keep trying to tell her that she won’t be able to make it through life without encountering the “gross”! If she is a wife and mother in the future, there will be a LOT of gross! She is getting there. My girl is doing the hard jobs and taking pride in her work. This is a picture of her washing her brother’s “gross” dishes. I just wish I had gotten a snapshot of her as she chipped and scraped the POOP out of the bunny cage!
And here’s the deal. When I asked Michelle if I could share her stuff, she sweetly replied yes. [sidebar: You might want to re-think being my friend. You never know when I'll pounce our your story :)] Then said what I think so many of us often feel as we swim seemingly upstream against the current societal trend to equip our kids, “We consider ourselves the “weird parents”, because what we do is NOT the norm around here.”
Well-intentioned, incredibly loving homes get bombarded with mis-messages that debilitate our kids and maybe even us. Messages like “This is what teens do. These are the times we live in. Just let them do whatever they want. Give them whatever they want, so they won’t retaliate. Don’t give them boundaries or restrictions. Relax. Just lie back and let it happen.” (That’s from Michelle, too … :) But the truth is, those kids don’t like it. They crave the boundaries just like they did when they were toddlers. Unfortunately, they cry and whine about them the same way, too … just sayin’.
So let’s change the “norm.” Remember Chuck Colson’s encouragement (that I just might wear out!), “Culture doesn’t change people; people change culture.”
And, it’s funny how liberating the “equipping” thing is. I was thinking about it this morning as I was driving carpool. I got up a tiny bit late because Jack had come into our bed early this morning. There’s something about a little kid standing at the side of your bed, whispering in the dark, “Can I sleep by you?” You bet you can, you cute little thing. Because they’re so adorable in the night, sleeping, peaceful, no push-back or attitude – still your baby (no matter the age).
Relishing his little hand on my shoulder as he snored, I couldn’t pull myself away to get the morning started. Listen, I know how fast the years fly by. Not to be all sappy and old, but seriously, I already miss a couple that haven’t even left my home yet. So, I lingered in bed until I HAD to get up.
When I went into the girls’ room, they were already awake. The one who sets the alarm had even woken her sister and helped her find the always elusive socks that never match. Next I headed to the boys’ room to wake the brother of my slumber buddy. Walking toward his bed, I smiled at the shoes, socks, shirt, shorts (what’s up with boys?! It could be 32 degrees and they’re still reaching for shorts) neatly placed by his bed – not by me, needless to say.
By the time I headed downstairs, the others had already arrived, started breakfast and making their lunches.
Sound idyllic? Well, don’t forget we’re real over here. Despite all that, we didn’t leave the house on time. Rarely do all cylinders fire in sync. One of my older ones just couldn’t get it going. So we left late.
But as I drove to school, knowing the tardy bell would catch a couple. I had no stress. It wasn’t my deal. They were responsible for their morning. I was there to help, and I did. But the tardy wasn’t on my shoulders. And as sad as it is, thanks to one of my slackers, another would be tasting the consequence of her sibling’s slow motion. It doesn’t seem fair, but welcome to life. Another great lesson. All for one, and one for all. (“Why didn’t you leave the late kid?” one might ask. Because the siblings feel empathy for each other and would rather take it together than leave a brother flailing in the wind alone. GET OUT! — Now, that’s some good stuff. All in a car ride!)
The equipping thing grounds them. They belong. They need each other. They’re there for each other. The late kid knew. He felt bad. But though he didn’t say it, he loved that someone cared enough to wait for him.
And all the while, I wasn’t yelling or berating them for … well, whatever. I was just driving. Relishing in all the powerful lessons and wonderful independence that the kids are tasting just by me getting my hands out of the mix. forcing myself to keep my distance, but standing ready to help and direct when needed.
… and from Ann – sooooo funny.
What can I say, but thanks for walking the road with me. Keep sharing. It inspires us all.