The Summer of Responsibility


We are trying to enforce some basic responsibilities with both of our children this summer. Really, this is as much an effort for Veronica and me as it is for the kids, as we attempt to enforce consistently various chores and household rules.

Somewhere along the line this became known as the “summer of responsibility,” a phrase that is sure to induce groans from both kids any time it is uttered.

We have not asked much beyond picking up their rooms, taking out the trash and setting the table when asked.

The challenge for us is being consistent in our direction, and patient when children don’t do things exactly as we would. If cups end up in the dishwasher right-side up, well, that’s just an opportunity to teach them to do it correctly.

Ryan is particularly resistant to setting the table. Maybe it’s because he knows that setting the table means the dreaded “family dinner,” where the topics of conversation might include something other than hockey (it does happen, just not often).

I should say “was” resistant. When asked the other day, he fetched the silverware, napkins and plates without complaint and set everything out. Now, you might not consider his method of place-setting fit for royalty …

The tablie is set
No complaints from Ryan, so no complaints from me.

… but as I inspected his work, a lesson from my mother echoed in my head. She never complained about how anyone helped her out, rather appreciated that they had. As a result, I’m still not sure whether a proper place-setting goes fork, knife/spoon or fork/knife, spoon. I don’t care if Ryan ever learns, either. He can put the silverware upside-down and the napkins under the plates all he wants, as long as he does it when asked and does it without complaint.

Maybe, just maybe, this summer of responsibility thing is working after all.



2 thoughts on “The Summer of Responsibility

  1. I am thrilled that good things are happening. It is great that you can go with the “at least they are helping” thing so well. Many Adults/Parents (me included) aren’t always that good at seeing “unique help” as a teachable moment.


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