We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. George Bernard Shaw
We should not look to our past when we are making way for our future, and that includes how we raise our children, what we teach them and how we show them how to be adults. Sure, we fall back on some of the basic teachings in our lives to pass on, but if those past experiences did not have a positive effect on us as individuals we should find a way to improve and better those who futures depend on us as human beings. For instance, if you are a product of an abusive home, do not pass that on to your children, break that cycle for the better. The past events shape us, true, but it up to us to define who we are going to be. We want and need things to be better for our offspring, most of us desire to give them the world we never had a chance to experience in our own childhoods. We want to protect them and keep them safe, while at the same time, teaching them to be caring and responsible adults when the time comes.
Now, how can we do this in an effective manner which teaches them not only to be empathic to others, loving, and kind; but also teach them they too have responsibilities they have to attend to in life? Well, its simple though it has been met with some debate over the years, to first teach children responsibilities you must start within the home, with simple things like chores and sharing. Yes, chores. Sometimes you have a child that is fully willing to do chores, and then sometimes you have one that it becomes a daily battle to get them to pick up something as simple as a lego on the floor. But teaching them chores from the start is a great way to make them accountable for their own messes, sure it isn’t always easy, but you have to teach them that even in the world outside your home, your child is responsible for every action and decision that they may make. Chores should not be limited to one gender or one child either, chores should be evenly distributed between both gender and children.
In my own home, we have three children, two boys, and one girl, they are all expected to do daily chores… That is not to say that some days the chores go undone… because they do, they are teenagers and like to but heads with not only me as a mom but with each other too. Their chores include, dishes, laundry, cleaning up living areas they frequent like the living room, their bedrooms, sweeping, taking out the trash, tending to their pets, and vacuuming when needed. I have a chore chart next to our fridge and the chores are separated, three chores a day to be completed, one by each child. And yes, like with many families you may have that one child who is more responsible than others, one that does the chores without a fight or without being asked. Then you may have one that meets you with slight resistance, and another that is full on VIA LA RESISTANCE, it happens. People are totally different, and while it can be frustrating beyond measure, you still have to keep at it, do not give in and allow the resistance to take over your home.
Two of my children are very much like me, they are stubborn, strong-willed, and have the diagnosis of ADD, which I do too. It can make for some very long days if we are all in a mood, especially if our ADD all kicks in at the same time. As an adult though, now I have learned how to control myself better and work on things constantly like my organizational skills… Which I will admit as a child and young teenager, were horrible. I know I drove my own mother nuts at times, often to the point where she would give in and clean up my room for me, instead of being faced with my own Via La Resistance mentality, I think it is a common occurrence to be quite honest. Children often want to rebel even in the slightest manners, not because they truly wish to be bad but to see how far they can push those boundaries. I will fully admit to rebelling in my own way as a child, I will also admit to not always being the easiest child in the world to deal with. It happens.
In my younger days as a parent, I used to feel so overwhelmed with all the housework and chores I was faced with as a single mother, I would often push away help with cleaning my house and or with everyday things. Why? Because my OCD would kick in and so would shame, I cannot stand other people touching or rummaging through my things, especially if I am present, it drives me up the wall. I will admit to having issues with another offshoot of OCD, which coupled with my ADD and some depression, often leads to a hoarding type tendency. Which can be hard to deal with, and no one ever wants to be called a hoarder, ever! I used to watch the show Hoarders, just to feel better about the condition of my own house, and often it would motivate me enough to get with it and start cleaning. After a while, when I met my husband, the depression would lessen, and my children were getting older, this is when I made the decision, to start teaching my children how to do things around the house, knowing that between us all that it would force us all to share in the responsibilities of the household together.
What else can you do besides share the everyday chores and teach your children basic responsibility? That the roles in the household are not meant to be just for one gender, that both girls and boys can cook and clean. It is important that they learn this while they are still young and able to understand it. It is not just the women in their lives that cook, clean, and care for people, that it is something that everyone should do, to share in the responsibilities of the household, to work as a team. There is nothing wrong with young men and boys learning to cook, I often have all of my children helping in the kitchen. We cook, we clean, we laugh, we cry at the horrible cooking accidents. It is a learning experience for us all when we work together. Not only am I teaching them to later in life be able to cook and maintain a home, but we are also creating memories that will carry with them throughout their lives.
It is my goal to send them out into the world as functional, happy, and caring individuals. I hope that I am doing my role as a mother and teacher to the best of my ability and that they carry with them a piece of me as they grow into adults. Also, that sometimes you need to lean on others to help, and that it is perfectly okay to do so. There is nothing wrong with being independent and I hope that I have taught them enough to be perfectly capable individuals as they grow. I think one of the things we fear as a parent is that our children will not be fully prepared for the world that awaits them. As parents, we all need to make sure, that we not only teach them that the roles in the household are not gender based but that they should also care enough about those around them to ensure no one in their life feels overwhelmed and lost. Sometimes it is as simple as asking if they need help with anything. To never give up on someone they love and continue to be there for them, even if that person pushes against you with resistance. When they are ready, they will call on you, the person who was always there for them, first.
So lessons to teach our future generations:
- Take responsibility for your actions, inside and outside of the home.
- Household roles are not gender-based
- Be loving and accepting
- Give a helping hand when needed
- Be happy
- Ask for help when needed
- Always be there for those you love, and offer to pick up some extra work when they cannot do something.
- Love, love hard and with all your heart.
- Make memories
- Never be afraid to fail at cooking, it is always an experience.
Till next time