When I was pregnant with my first-born, I read the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” week by week. I knew each detail of what part of baby was developing and all the reasons for the symptoms I had. Now that that baby is 7 years old, I really could use a book entitled, “What to Expect of That Child You Had Expected”.
I, along with Farmer Joe, have been giving a lot of thought lately as to what we should expect from our children. What can a five-year-old and seven-year-old bring to the table? (And while we’re at it, to what extent can we forgive a two-year-old for pulling everything back off of that table?)
Is it enough for a child to get good grades in school? Then, are they exempt from doing chores around the house? Some moms and I kicked this question around the table at a discussion on parenting recently. The resounding answer was “no”. Nobody thought that was enough. We definitely want our children to know how to do laundry, cook, scrub floors, balance a checkbook, etc, when they graduate from high school. What do we need to do to achieve all these things? It is definitely another item that parents have to juggle.
I have been failing my son in this area. He comes home from school, does his homework, practices piano on a good day, and that is it. On most Saturdays, Joe does a great job of putting him to work so I do feel good about that. However, I know that my son could do a ton more than he does. He CAN unload the dishwasher but he might drop the plates, knives could cut him, and I may never find my potato peeler again. Also, it is a morning task and he does it loudly enough to wake up the neighbors (which is extra-impressive when you consider we live in the country). He can pick up books, but doesn’t put them in the order that I do. I cringe to see him sweep the floor because Cheerios are being swept under the stove and only half of what does get swept up makes it from the dustpan into the garbage.
I need to lower my standards about HOW things are done and raise my standards about HOW MUCH is done. I definitely admit that.
I have one small success story. Last year, on the first day of summer break, I had Vince and Liv each pick out a day-old calf to call their own. The kids were in charge of bottle-feeding them milk twice a day and cleaning their pen. They took a ton of pride in their work and any visitor to our farm HAD to go see them. We are definitely doing that again this year.
Yet, that is just one small thing and I need to expect more. I would love to hear your real-life experience. What do you think we can expect from our kids? If you have older kids and could go back and do it again, what would you do differently? Do you remember what was expected of you when you were growing up? I would appreciate any advice.