The Chore Chart from … well, from somewhere really hot.

 Seriously! … Who could keep up with this one?!

The kids made a chart in an attempt to stay ahead of the dog responsibility game. Arguably the most important chore in their lives, they’re determined to cover all their bases. So without so much as a peep from me, they came up with this behemoth. As could be expected, it’s been a disaster. No one remembers who’s doing what on what day… except the one who made the chart. She’s started taking it personally that no one remembers. They’ve all started pointing fingers when a job isn’t done. Confusion and arguments have set in.

It’s interesting. When we started our little work enhancement project in our home, one of the first chores was meals. Not just cooking, but cleaning, menu planning, grocery shopping, the whole ball of wax. If it had been up to me, I would have divvied out job parts each night to different helpers (see above!). But when the question was put to the kids, they wanted to have the evening’s chores, in entirety, on one person’s plate. That way, they would have one day to deal with and be free the rest of the week. And, to their credit, their approached worked and works beautifully. It’s simple.

On the other hand, the dog chart has one kid getting up to let the dog out on a M/W/F schedule. Another feeding her those days. Another picking up her unmentionable. Another brushing. The T/Th schedule flips the jobs with no rhyme or reason as does the weekend schedule. It’s impossible to know which side is up. And who’s responsible for what. Plus, no one wants to be checking that chart everyday? The poor kid who made it carries the weight of the world on her shoulders trying to keep it all going. It’s just not happening.

I watch it with pain in my heart. Okay, pain and some laughter. Maybe lots of laughter. Laughing because that chart is such a representation of the way we (adults) do things.

Got a problem? Well, let’s have a meeting. Then we need to have a meeting about the meeting. In the meetings, let’s make sure to come up with a plan. An equitable plan. Who will be in charge? No one? Everyone? Forget that. Whoever writes it all down is responsible. No we’re ALL responsible. Let’s spread the work and we’ll spread the wealth. We’ll take into consideration people’s strengths later. Let’s just get it all down. And start. Yes. We must start now. And start fast. If we don’t start running it’s certain to all blow up in our faces. Either that or someone will beat us to the punch.

When the kids made the chart, they didn’t even consider who wakes up first.. a fairly logical place to put the kid who could be responsible for morning duty. Some jobs, a bit more glamorous than others, were given to everyone (spread the wealth). Well, two of the kids couldn’t have cared less. Plus, to them, gathering the unmentionable wasn’t a big deal. So rather than give the yuck as one small job, the only responsibility, to someone who didn’t mind… they all have to do it in a mind-numbing way. Throw in trying to remember what day to do it, and you can stick a fork in them, because they’re just about done.

I’ve watched them make caring for their pup incredibly difficult. Truth be told, I’ve watched them fail. I’ve also witnessed the life being taken out of something that could bring them such joy. Hmmm… there are some legs to this one in my own life, for sure. I think I might spend some time today looking at areas where I’ve let the method sap joy from my own work. Where I’ve let the masses dictate my duties in areas of parenting, wifing (as in being a wife … I know that’s not a word or verb, but it should be!), being a friend.

Then, we’re ditching the chart. It never hurts to stop the hemorrhaging, to back up, and to start again. Yet another little something to teach the kids. Taking time to evaluate and to make changes toward improvement. They need to know that sometimes changes are necessary in order to improve our efforts. They also need to know that changing something doesn’t always equate to failure. And, evaluation is often critical to success. Dare I say, something I would have totally overlooked if we weren’t knee deep into equipping rather than enabling.

Thanks for walking the convicting road with me. Phewww… I think there’s a water station just around the corner. I hope they have some sweet tea!


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