Last week one day my sister called me to tell me about all of the great deals she had gotten at a certain store's dollar area. I'm a sucker for clearance and her store had a ton of half price goodies. So - We took a detour from my plan to do a bit of shopping at a different store, and checked out the dollar bins.
I didn't find exactly the same great deals at our store, but one find that my boys were particularly excited about was small handheld brooms with dustpans. It's hard to beat $0.50 for that set (unless of course you are able to hold out for the 75% off mark down... but I didn't have time for that). I generously let each of my big boys pick out their own broom and dustpan set.
Guess what Manasseh did when we got home. You got it, he swept the "yucky floor." He begged to do it.
It doesn't end there though. See, in all of my "spare" time (okay I don't even pretend to have much of that these days) - I have been doing bits of reading about responsibility. I've been reading about the demise of our society, the lack of responsibility in our youth, the way other children in other cultures are taught from the start how to behave and be a fruitful part of their society. I've even observed it in the kids on campus this summer - both the campers and the help (sorry if you are one of those).
Young people don't know how to do things. I recognize that I don't do "things" as well as some of the older people around the campus - they know how to fix what is broken. I grew up in a throw away world. Everything is replaceable, it's easier to throw it out and get a new one (whatever it was). I grew up in a fast paced world, I'm busy and should not need to take the time to do it well. I don't even think I do dishes as well as some of the people around me.
Disclaimer: This does not mean my house will be 100% clean all of the time.
I will not let my children be an excuse for having a dirty house - instead, I will expect them to take part in caring for the house. In fact, I know it is best for our children to have responsibilities. Being responsible for things helps you take ownership, it gives you a sense of belonging, it makes you feel needed and important. I could go on about the advantages of learning to be responsibility.
|"I have to what?!"|
- Each morning I ask my big boys to put their blankets on their beds. I don't expect them to MAKE their beds yet, I'm just working on getting them into the habit of being responsible in that area.
- Each night before bed, the boys put all of their toys away - there's no need for the mama to stress about jobs the kids can take part in, right?
- On Tuesday, before we went on an overnight trip, Manasseh packed everyone's clothes. Okay - so his packing was really just putting the pile of dirty clothes into a laundry basket, which he took into the bathroom himself and even chose to drag back out on his own.
- Manasseh is already expected to dress himself every day, but sometimes he is lazy about it - since my change of habit, he must dress himself, and Cassius is working harder at learning to dress himself.
- The boys already put their own dishes in the sink after each meal.
- They are also expected to help put trash in the can.
We will continue to work on adding responsibility, they are now 2.5 and 4 and can do increasingly more to help out around the house. Real responsibility is part of being in a family. It is not a choice, it's a necessity. They are not even going to earn money for doing it. You know what? They don't even complain (yet).