Thursday, July 18, 2013

Initiative - learned or genetic?

I had a talk with the children today. It was a while in coming. You see, it's time to take a step forward. It's time for some independence... for Mom.

I've had several conversations recently with family and friends about kids taking initiative in personal responsibilities. Is it personality driven or a learned behavior? Gender related? I have no idea. What I do know is that I am sick and tired of having to tell them to do their chores, which chores to do, and manage the whole buffet of household "whatnot"ery.

Today, I made a list of all the chores they knew how to do.  It's mighty fancy (NOT). We talked about how I was going to be really busy in a month or so with two classes of graduate work and starting a school year with a new team member. About then it started to dawn on the kidlets that something out of their experience was coming. I asked them to help think of ways to make the dreaded chores automatic in their lives, so I wouldn't have to direct them. They didn't get it. "But Mom, we always do what you tell us to do." "What if I didn't have to tell you?" "Then how would we know to do it?" Exactly.

I got a sinking feeling in my tummy that this is going to be a long road to walk. I used the floor as an example. I hadn't told anyone to sweep in an embarrassingly long time and it was nasty. I asked them to look at it and see what I meant about "if you see it needs doing, get it done". They looked at me with wide innocent eyes and proclaimed "It looks fine Mom". Hmmm, they really didn't see the dog hair, dirt, crumbs, leaves, toys, and used Kleenex under the coffee table.

Taking the initiative requires the knowledge that something needs to be done. Somehow, the fact that something ALWAYS needs to be done is not in their personal encyclopedia of general knowledge.

So, I am embarking on an experiment to see if I can teach two good little boys how to take initiative and just get it done without me telling them to do it.

Stop Laughing! Let a girl dream a little!


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