Mirth and Laughter


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Confession: I do too much for my kids.

You might think this is a good thing, but I'm learning that it isn't always the best thing.

I've battled the morning prep-for-school thing with the kids for years. I've prodded them, supplied their clothes, made their breakfast, and practically followed them out the door with a stop watch: You have 30 seconds until the bus comes! And for years, they've dragged and dawdled and sometimes miss the bus. If not, they're often running frantically to catch it. And they get mad at me for "hounding" them.

Eye opener#1: Starting this year, daughter (age 11) has to catch the bus at 7:00 a.m., which means she gets up before the birds do. She asked me to leave her alone and let her get herself going. I have. She does. It's freaking amazing!

Eye opener#2: Boy (age 9) and I went rounds over this topic recently, and he also asked me to basically back off. "Fine," I say, willing to try anything different. Last night he laid out the clothes he'd wear today, put the bowl and spoon and box of cereal at the table in preperation for the morning, put his backpack by the backdoor, and wrote notes in every room he occupies telling himself to stay focused and do whichever duty was for that room. He got up this a.m., took a shower, got dressed, ate breakfast, brushed his teeth, and was ready to go on time. Freaking amazing again!

Lesson: If you allow the kids to own the responsibility, they'll live up to it. It's so hard for me to step back and cut the cord, so to speak. They're my babies, you know? But I see now that it's for the best and probably long overdue.

Have you learned any life lessions lately?


  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger Aura said…

    My big one recently was to just be honest with overbearing family members. People you think wouldn't approve of the things you're doing in life often get over it pretty quickly when told the truth. Instead of avoiding the topic. Recently I was asked by my very Christian sister-in-law if I was moving in with my boyfriend. I knew she wouldn't approve of my answer but gave it to her anyway. She didn't freak out. I suspect this is because she had warning from my mother, but still it went well. See? You don't automatically become roadkill simply by telling the truth. Who knew?

  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger Aura said…

    That's great about the kids btw! Think of it as less you have to do and all the free time you now have in the mornings! :)

  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger Ellen said…

    A, good for you! I agree that even though it might be hard, it's probably best to just be honest. That's a big step. Yay! :)

  • At 12:35 PM, Blogger montster said…

    I hvent learned any lessions lately but lesson learning unfortunately goes on til they bury yer ass!! What a big step, having watched the kids get ready in the am, I am really impressed with the change in their attitude!! Good Job and tell them that too. Maybe it will also work in other areas! I have always said you guys do a great job!!

  • At 2:11 PM, Blogger Pam Trader said…

    It's one of the hardest lessons both kids and parents learn, Ellen, but it looks like you've done a good job preparing them for life ahead. Remember there will be some backsliding.

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Kristen said…

    Yeah, Ellen!

    I knew they'd do it. So very proud of you letting them spread their wings a bit.

    What have I learned lately? That there is a dog I cannot train. And he knows it. :D

    Celebrate Wednesday? ;)

  • At 5:54 AM, Blogger Mel Francis said…

    I'm jealous.

    My kids manage about half the time. I'm buying them both new alarm clocks this weekend, and we're gonna try again.

    My life lesson lately--don't sleep with a snoring dog. LOL

  • At 6:36 AM, Blogger Ellen said…

    Dad, compared to you, I have no grip. I remember our house runnng like clockwork under your supervision. I need one of those chore charts you made. LOL.

    Pam, you're right about the backsliding. It'll probably be the "3 steps forward, 2 back" thing.

    K, Digger's too cute to be trained. :)

    Mel, LOL! Your dog-snoring story cracked me up so much that I told my family about it last night.

  • At 7:10 AM, Blogger Jan Conwell said…

    Yes. Put the scale away and just listen to my body. :~)

    And congrats on the kid thing. It's soooo hard to let them just make mistakes...we want to protect them from themselves. Glad yours are learning what they need to.

  • At 8:20 AM, Blogger Ellen said…

    Jan, I need to learn that scale lesson. It taunts me daily.


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