Thursday, September 19, 2013

teachable moments

We are always looking for teachable moments and the older the kids get the more "loudly" we have to make our statements.

We have a problem at our house with picking up after ourselves.  Things go pretty well when the object solely belongs to one person but in a house with 7 people many things overlap.

There seems to be a mindset that if I didn't touch it last it doesn't fall on me to clean it up or take care of it.

A place we see this a lot is in the kitchen.  On a typical day the older 3 kids make lunch for themselves and I take care of myself and the younger 2.

Over the weekend I made a couple of different chilies and soups to have on hand for the week.  Tuesday at lunch we pulled those out and everyone heated up what they wanted, some had a couple of different things.  I asked the older kids to clean up and they each took care of their own bowl/plate and left out the containers with the food in it.  Lids off, spills on the counter and all.

By the time dinner was nearing I called Rusty and told him what was going on and asked him to bring home take-out for both of us and Hope and Benjamin.  He did and when the kids saw what he brought they literally jumped up and down with excitement.  I had to break the news to them that it wasn't for them and that after they cleaned up from lunch they could prepare themselves something and then clean it up.  That hurt.  We had emotions of shame, sadness, frustration and who knows what else.   Our intent was not to shame anyone but teach them to listen to our words.  We do not want a pattern where we have to ask over and over and over again.  Our expectation is that they will listen the first time we ask and joyfully obey.  It is part of training them to be responsible and eventually leave home.

An hour after the bomb dropped everyone was fine.  The kids even came to us and were able to tell us they understood why we did that.  The reactions came differently than we expected though.  One took it fine, was not happy but said that is was deserved.  Another cried in sadness because it was food this one really would have loved eating.  And the other did not do well at all in the beginning but was able to come back around after dinner was completely over and be a part of what we were doing, this one chose not to eat at all.

Parenting is hard stuff and it takes a lot of work.

On a lighter note, I cut Hope's hair.  It was very dry and in bad shape so I trimmed it.  I have been told to shave it, I couldn't do it!

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