Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Working Together

A long long time ago, before I had children I heard a friend of ours talking to one of his young kids. There was a chore that needed doing, clearing plates off the table or some such thing and the child was complaining about being asked to help. The father then said something that has always stuck with me, he said "we are a family and in our family we all help, that's how the house keeps running and that way everyone only does a little bit but the job gets done and done faster".

I've thought about this conversation often in my mothering and it is something that I have said to my kids since they were little.

It started with small thing, picking up their toys off the floor for example. When they were little they would do it putting everything in random spots, but the important part was that they were helping.

As they have gotten bigger the things that I have asked them to do have become more complexed and I have also started directing them on certain tasks, so these days their toys are put away in a more orderly fashion.

What I love is that they rarely complain, just knowing that part of being a family is all contributing to the running of the household.

A few weeks ago Jack mentioned that he would like to save some money. He has no idea what he is saving for but he has said that he would like to save $10 to spend on 'something'. So we decided to start adding a few extra jobs to their list as ways of earning some money.

So now the jobs range from cleaning their rooms to feeding the dogs, making their lunch boxes to keeping their room and desks tidy, or from picking up the dog poo to helping with other random things that come up each day.

Jacks want to save this money has bought the whole idea of pocket money to the forefront, when I had thought we had a while before we needed to have the conversation.

It's a strange thing. I'm wondering how to balance the idea that as a family we just help, with no expectations of anything except thanks (after all that what AB and I get in return for doing our jobs). Yet also teaching the kids about money, saving, earning and how to accomplish a 'want' goal such as this.

I guess like so many things I'll just play it by ear and hope I get right for our family.

But so far I am loving the way we are having to talk about co-operation, the ways the kids are figuring out how to work together with each task. It also seems that the more they get used to different ways of helping the more ways they are seeing on their own. Quite often now I will see they have already unpacked their school bags and hung their pants over the back of the lounge for the next day before I get a chance to ask them. They clear their plates off the table and sometimes ask to clear ours as well. Jack wants to learn how to stack the dishwasher, Hamish likes to make his bed (although not even I do that).

I think maybe they 'get it' in a small way. That idea that I heard all those years ago about a family working together. And it makes me incredibly proud.

Now if I can just start getting them to do everything ;)

Watching - Our Idiot Brother, liked it but didn't love it.

Reading - I saw a friend recommend Among Others - Jo Walton so I've just started it.

Listening - iPod on random and kids trying not to squabble.

State of mind - It's late so my mind is tired and snuggly.

2 comments:

Happy Kid City said...

What a fabulous message! I'm loving the idea of telling my kids that in our family we all just help. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Wondering Willow said...

Glad you liked it :) hope something similar works for your family. And hope I can still pull it off when the kids reach puberty :)

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