Teaching kids the responsibilities of life is a tough job. You’d think the basics would be simple… be nice, look after your stuff, do what you’re supposed to do…
I can’t even get past those without thinking of the challenges. I mentioned in a previous post the quick Social Media check that revealed there was more teaching needed in the area of being nice.
Lately I have been wrestling with how they treat stuff.
I was raised by a family who looked after their stuff. Everything was treated with care, kept clean and fixed when it needed fixing. I didn’t always do the same, but it is ingrained in me.
Stuff is a gift to us not to be taken for granted. Our care of it says something about who we are. I believe we have a God given mandate to look after creation and the stuff entrusted to us. I thought that was a normal way to look at the world. My travels and other interactions have shown me that is not the norm. You can pick up garbage almost anywhere you go and although it is bothersome along a trail in the city where there are garbage cans, it is obscene to come upon a garbage filled site in the wilderness.
I think that learning to care for our stuff and the world around us starts at home. But how do we teach it?
For some reason I thought that kids who came from nothing would be more careful with their stuff… somehow they would treasure it… nope, not the case with these two. They regularly lose and break stuff and throw things in the garbage because they don’t want it anymore!! It caught me off guard! Maybe the Other Mother taught them stuff never lasts so don’t give it value. It’s not untrue!
My kids make their own lunches. It takes prompting now that the novelty has worn off and there is usually grumbling, but they do it. In the beginning there was lots of instruction from us not only on what to put in the lunches but also on being responsible with lunch supplies.
“Close the bread bag when you’re done.”, “Wrap the cheese back up so it doesn’t dry out.”, “Don’t leave the lettuce out”, “Clean the cap if you mess it up.”, “If you use the last of something throw out the packaging”, “Put your knife in the dishwasher when you’re done.”. These were all typical instructions in the beginning. Understandable when the process was new to them. Reminders have been needed as things started to slip.
When do reminders become nagging? When do you accept that this is what they are capable of and accept it? How do you know when it is good enough? Perfection is impossible…
I remember feeling like I was constantly being nagged at to do better… is it possible it was my standards that were slipping not my parents wanting more?
This would be the typical state of things without reminders… bread bag left open, meat left open, lettuce bag torn into a corner with a handful of lettuce ripped out…
Some would say I should be thankful they make their own lunches, and I am. Some would say they aren’t wrecking things… and they aren’t (although I have thrown away wilted lettuce and dried out cheese when it didn’t get put away properly). Some would say kids will be kids… but what does that mean?
How do kids who say they want to save the world by banning plastic straws throw out their sandwich ziploc everyday without a thought? How do we instill in them a respect for the things they are entrusted with? Is it truly just my job as the Mom to go around behind them tidying their mess? Well, yes, it is part of my job… but the bigger part of my job is to teach them to be independent so that when they don’t have a Mom coming behind them to clean up they can function!!
I would love to hear your thoughts! When do reminders become nagging? What is the solution that leads to them being more responsible and me being less grumpy?!
Seriously… if you just read this… comment with your thoughts! Lets have a discussion on this!
In the midst of the mess (literally this time)