Tuesday, June 10, 2014

     Someone had posted this chart on Facebook today, and I started looking through it.  Unfortunately, I tend to look at things like this as checklist, rather than something to help me.  "Are my kids doing this yet? How are they measuring up to what's expected of them?", are what's running through my head.  I'm looking through the 10-11 year old section and thinking about whether or not Anna can sweep out a garage.  I don't know, because we don't own a garage.  So I try to think what the equivalent to that is. "Does the porch count? Maybe if I include the side walks."  Then I stop and think about what I am doing.  The only questions I should be asking is, do my children help me in the ways that I need them to? The answer to that is, yes, for the most part.  Life isn't a check list, (although I do love check lists) and even though Anna doesn't mow the lawn, she's been watching her younger siblings since she was six.  And the twins don't dry and put away the dishes but they can put groceries away and wipe off the table.  Why? because that's what I need them to do.
     This evening Anna was bored and wanted to make cookies.  Baking makes a lot of mess, so I told her if she wanted to make cookies she would have to clean the play room first.  At first she grumbled at this, and I could hear her complaining as she cleaned about the seemingly endless work.  After a few minutes, I could hear her attitude shift.  She stopped complaining and I could hear her singing bits of songs.  In a few minutes she came out in a cheerful mood, saying the playroom was clean, and she was ready to make cookies now.
     I can understand her attitude shift, because I have felt it too many times while cleaning.  At first you hardly know where to start, and it's rather irking that even though you weren't responsible for the mess, you're the one cleaning it.  Then something happens.  You start to see a difference; order coming through the chaos.  The job doesn't seem so hard any more, and you start to find pleasure in it.   
   Anna ended up not only making cookies, but deciding she wanted to make supper for every one as well.
     Seeing her happy contentment and pride at being able to cook a whole meal by herself, confirmed for me that I had done the right thing by making her work before having the pleasure of making a treat.  She went from being bored and mopey, to cheerful and helpful the rest of the evening.  Even children like to know that they are a necessary part for the running of the house-hold.  Anna's supper was delicious too.

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