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A number of totally non-related happenings lately have caused this house to be having a conversation based around the proverbial 'silver platter'.
Responsibility, ownership, accountability, consideration, even everyday thinking skills all seem to be slipping away, floating ever so far from our fingertips. It seems as though society is fuelled by a "me, me, me" mindset. We see it in adults, kids, professionals, online... everywhere. It seems like the more we can provide for kids, the seemingly better they will be.
Oh, you don't want to carry your hockey stick, as I juggle your younger sibling, your hockey bag, a coffee, the car keys, the phone? No prob, sweetie... I'll grab that for you, since you just left it on the ground next to the car.
Oh, that kid in kindergarden called you a "meanie"? You get your older sister to jump in there and "fight that battle" for your 5 year old self... using more hurtful words than a 5 year old can understand, but words from which a 5 year old can still feel the sting as she tries to comprehend them. Better yet, you find out what that kid's mom is so I can tear up her mother on Facebook.
Oh, you forgot your gym / dance clothes at home? Hhhmmmm? Did your teacher get upset with you? Talk to you about responsibility? No?
You saw your kid blatantly push and shove another kid, target another kid? You sat back and laughed at little Johnny because he's so "out of control... all I can do is laugh at him."
When do you start to teach about responsibility? Is it an age-bound lesson?
In our house it's a constant conversation.
Our almost 5 year old son can get himself almost 100% ready for hockey. He carries his own stick, sometimes his own hockey bag which is almost twice his size. Why do we do this to our kid? (Someone actually commented that they couldn't believe we would make our son carry his own stick after an hour long practice!) It's simple: we want him to realize that he has to have responsibilities.
When my 8 year old daughter showed up at dance class with only one dance shoe, I didn't have sympathy for her. I had a conversation for her about responsibility. Guess what? The next week she made damn sure both her shoes were in her dance bag the night before dance. And, they were ready to go by the door.
I've seen plenty of catastrophic moments in my day when someone who had been given everything in their life on silver platter all of a sudden has to think for themselves, or do something for themselves. The result? Complete and utter breakdowns. Tears. Arms flailing in defeat. Frustration. Blame.
What do you mean I have to buy that myself? What do you mean you won't give me $200 for that? What do you mean you can't call my prof to get me excused from my exam? What do you mean I have to actually do that myself? What do you mean you can't totally rearrange everything to accommodate what I want?
Disaster. Defeat. Disbelief.
Our point is, eventually all of those silver platters start to tarnish at some point. The money runs out, people change, circumstances change, hell... the real world comes into play! And when reality comes knocking, you have to have some kind of tools to step up to the door to answer... or you're going to get that door smack! in your face.
We don't want that for our kids.
We want them to be able to have a good look at that seemingly tarnished platter with the insight and tools we've taught and instilled in them.
We want them to be able to:
- Have the know-how to simply pick that platter up off the ground.
- Realize that it may be tarnished, but it's not the end of the world.
- They'll realize that with some hard work and a little common sense, that platter can be shiny again.
Can you cope with a tarnished silver platter? Can your kids?