Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Making Men

Jared goes away with work quite a lot. Well, it feels quite a lot to me but he would probably say it isn't! When he is away my boys change. It amazes me. It is almost as if they grow up slightly because the biggest man isn't there, so all the order shifts and they move up the ranks.

Yesterday morning, for example, I did not have to ask Max to get dressed more than once. That, in itself, is a small miracle! During breakfast they ate their food without shouting and ordering me about as if I'm their own personal waitress and chef. They cleared the table afterwards. While I was in the shower Toby looked after Jonah and I heard him playing with him in a really gentle and loving way.

Apart from the usual arguing, fighting and 'I'm telling's after school it was generally ok, but Max was the one who surprised me the most. While I was cooking tea, he tidied up the train set and some other toys, and then ASKED me if he could lay the table! After my faint from shock, I gave him the cutlery and he set to work. Everything was mixed up and in the wrong places, but he had tried and hadn't even been asked to do it. I was amazed.

Does this show me that I don't expect enough of them? I think it does. When Jared is here, we make a good team (usually in the mornings that means me sitting and drinking a cup of tea whilst trying to come round and him making breakfast.... it feels like a good team to me!). The boys get on with playing and arguing, and eventually do the things they have to do. When he is away, they do so much more. We are not their servants, we are here to teach and train them not just give them everything on a plate. I think they need responsibility and then they feel part of what is going on and have some ownership of it. They are only 7 and 4, but there are lots of things that they can do to contribute to our family life. They always put their clothes away after I have washed and ironed them, and I think this also helps them appreciate what other people in the family do as well.

I don't expect them to always be doing jobs for me, but I do want to teach them how to be useful part of our family. Too many children today are waited on hand and foot and never learn how to look after themselves, or appreciate what other people do for them. I don't want this for my boys. My job is to equip them with the things they need for the rest of their lives, and I want to do it well.

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