Someone asked me last week if we still do our “working around the house thing”. I stopped for a minute to do a mental check …wondering why she asked.
Had she been over recently and seen me racing in to do everything for our kids? Was she bowled over by the clutter? Did she see someone’s unmade bed?… No. She doesn’t live in Dallas.
Do I race in and do everything for our kids? Has my enabler-recovery program progressed our kids from over-served (as in me doing everything for them) to self-sufficient? … to self-confident? … to meaningfully independent? Have they moved from expecting their needs to be met to looking for ways to meet others’?
For those of you who’ve been walking the MOAT road for awhile, you know there’s not a lot of perfection going on in this house. But apparently there is progress.
I knew it that same day when I was getting some water out of the faucet. One of the girls brought her bowl to the sink and playfully pushed me to the side.
“I like to rinse my bowl out when I put it in the sink.”
“You do?” I reply.
“Yes. When you rinse it out, it makes it so much easier to clean later before loading the dishwasher.”
Hmmm…. There’s quite a bit packed in that little act. Not only has she become intimately acquainted with the dish-washing function in our home – part of their kitchen duties when responsible for dinner… and when asked by me. She has gone beyond the duty and developed a little strategy. Not only that, It wasn’t her night to do dishes, but she was thinking ahead for the one who would be loading the dishwasher. She was aware that someone could either have a rather simple job of loading (if she rinsed) or could spend a lengthy time trying to scape macaroni & cheese glued to the sides of her bowl.
I was moved by the scene.
Meaningfully involving our kids in the house work is so much more than chores. It is building confidence, increasing awareness, encouraging critical thinking. It is putting others first. It is empowering. It is inspiring. … Not always fun. Okay, not fun most of the time. But is that what it’s about? Making life fun and easy for our kids? Not so much.
Remind me about this surprisingly enlightening conversation when the whining seems to be wearing me down.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
It’s great to read about how the girls have embraced and carried on in this independence-making process! I would LOVE to know how the boys are doing…I need all the encouragement I can get.
Hey Debbie :) … “embracing” might be a stretch. But there are more steps forward than back these days. Even with the boys. I will say that it is and always has been a bit easier with the younger ones than the older ones. Such a good lesson. I guess consistency and Teflon are my go-to words. Sometimes I find myself chanting Jody Capehart’s “don’t engage… don’t engage”. Then I think about the toddler years and all those endured tantrums. The teen years seem to be the same in many ways, just with words …. and eye-rolls … maybe even some disagreeable grunts. Keep on keepin’ on my friend. You are not alone!! Those boys might not be as verbal, but it is sinking in.