Dear Granddaddy, my children just sit on their butts and watch their mother and I work around the house after we have worked all day. Joe. F. – a tired father.
Joe, I’m feeling tired for both of you. Children’s failure to help out in the home seems to be common these days. Times sure have changed from when we grew up, however, kids taking it easy while mom and dad work their tails off may have more to do with us than with some new kind of lazy teen gene.
We are a generation of doers. Our parents did not just give us things without having us earn them. They didn’t supply us with spending money or lots of free time, either, so we did what we had to do to get some of the things we wanted. We did newspaper routes before school. After school, we did sports, we worked, we baby sat, and then we did homework. We were always doing something.
The routine of always doing something has stuck with us into adulthood. As parents, we work multiple jobs. When we get home, if we see dishes in the sink, we just do them. If we see dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, we just do take care of them too. We do whatever we notice has to be done, and we do it without much thought because we’re doers.
Doing is our life-long habit. And because it’s a habit, we sometimes, without intending it or even realizing it, we sometimes don’t leave much for our kids to do. However, every once in a while, we parents need to take ourselves off auto-pilot mode and recognize the importance of allowing our children to feel that they are fully part of, and fully participating in family life. Our children can bring a lot more value to the family than just looking cute and being good with electronics, and they should be encouraged to do so. When we all help each other we all feel a little more empowered, and mom and dad feel a little less tired.
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