I have a guest blogger today: our youngest daughter, Cynthia Jane. Now 19, she offers a reflection similar to previous posts about the positive impact toddler training had upon our children.
Let me be clear, however, that as the youngest of seven, Cynthia was definitely the victim of my training fatigue. I let her get away with plenty and she had a saucy, mischievous personality as a toddler.
Like the time I was seated in the front row of our boarding school chapel, waiting with 400 other people for the service to begin. Suddenly, I caught the figure of a little human whizzing up the aisle, past the altar, and down the stairs. It was Cynthia in her bare feet, trekking to the ladies’ room!
This girl tested decorum on a regular basis. At bedtime one evening, she was nowhere to be found. Living on a safe campus, it wasn’t unusual for the children to wander alone, but we found her under the alumni reunion tent on the dance floor in her pajamas!
Another friend relates the time he parked near our home and was informed by Cynthia that he had parked in our spot. The girl was a Rugrat!
But thanks to training and the example of older sibs, Cynthia still understood that we had expectations for her. Here’s how she narrates it.
One thing my parents did when I was a child that I appreciate now is giving me and my siblings chores. I know that sounds kind of crazy and it took me awhile to appreciate it, but I really do. Growing up, Saturday mornings were reserved for not only thoroughly cleaning our rooms (dusting under the bed, making sure our clothes were organized and neatly folded, tidying up our desks, etc.) but also doing another big job around the house (i.e. helping mom reorganize the pantry, washing and folding all of the towels and dishcloths). In addition to these Saturday chores, we also had daily tasks like setting the table for dinner or unloading the dishwasher that were assigned to us via my dad’s chore chart . This chart was displayed on the fridge and at the start of each week, my dad would update it so we had a different chore than the one we had the previous week. The chore chart was unavoidable and final…there was no neglecting your responsibility or trying to pass it along to another sibling.
In our house, we definitely had a very straightforward system that ensured that we knew what our parents expected of us and that the household responsibilities would be divided equally. I am not trying to say I keep things clean 24/7 (anyone who looks at my bedroom right now can see that is definitely not the case), but growing up doing chores has shown me the importance of setting aside time to get certain things done and doing something even if it’s not my favorite thing for the good of those around me.