“I am NOT washing the dishes.” defiantly balks one of the able bodies in our home. “It’s just not fair.”

Seeing that we ate on paper plates (surprise, surprise!), I can’t quite grasp why the kid thinks dish washing duty is of particular disdain. All that’s staring him in the face are the pots, pans, cups and utensils. Not too much considering we divvied out the chores. One kid cleaned the table, one emptied the dishwasher, one swept and set the table. All this kid had to do was rinse a few measly pots and put them in an emptied dishwasher.

Granted he might have been slow on the draw when the kids chimed in on their preferred roles. But it’s moments like these that I wonder. Have any of our efforts to empower this stubborn brood been beneficial? Have the kids grasped in any way, shape or form the benefits and resulting self-esteem from working hard? Since when has complaining changed my mind? I mean really … Why keep trying when it NEVER works?!

Then I force myself to take a deep breath. I think to myself, “Just keep on putting one foot in front of the other.” The benefits might not overtly present themselves every day, but I know they’re there.

For instance, not one of the other kids balked. They each stepped up and did their jobs with no need of assistance. A couple of them even worked together. (Yes… yes, they did.) One of them went above and beyond. Not only did she clean the table, she moved right on into the living room and put away everything there, too.

Then I remember to be thankful. I’m grateful for that tenacious personality that never gives up. (I hope one day he can put that into a more fruitful, beneficial arena (a courtroom, a cause, the front-lines, saving a life), never giving an inch until he succeeds.) Thankful for signs that our efforts to equip seem to have actually affected them all. Thankful for no longer doing it all myself. Thankful for the new-found independence they’ve tasted. Thankful for my own awareness of the countless times I’ve stepped in to save when the real saving came from letting them do it themselves.

Thankful that the kids don’t know the meaning of mutiny.

Let’s hope a certain book centered on that theme isn’t on our summer reading list. Venturing down that path could be a bit dicey.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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