Chapter 7 gave me a good punch in the gut. The entire chapter was on the fact that when we don’t allow children to help us with tasks, we are really instilling in them the fact that they can’t do it.
My husband is wonderful at including our boys whenever he is working on a project–whether it is planting flowers, washing the car, hanging pictures, or giving the dog a bath. I, on the other hand, tend to shoo them away in the name of speed, efficiency, and getting the job done right (and my blood pressure). I need to slow down and let them help. This particular quote left a lasting impression on me:
“More often than not, I think, parents miss opportunities to nurture responsibility because we buy into the line that doing it ourselves will be safer, more convenient, and less time-consuming. Or we procrastinate, telling ourselves, “I’ll show them next time.” Each time we opt for practicality, our kids receive a message about their own ineptitude. Is it any wonder this generation struggles with critical thinking and problem solving? It seems a hefty price to pay for our convenience and control.”
And one more:
“I’ve yet again bumped up against the fact that one of the biggest obstacles facing my kids–all our kids, really–is parent-induced overindulgence. In this task, overindulgence resulted not from coddling but from avoiding. While we avoided teaching opportunities, the kids received a big fat load of free time, reinforced expectations of being served, and confirmation that they belong on the sidelines of life. We made it easy for them to assume that many doable tasks fall outside their realm of competency or responsibility.”
Ouch. I’m going to be working on this!
Chapter 8: Hospitality
My mom has the gift of hospitality. Growing up, we always had people at our house…normally church groups, soccer players, members of our youth group, cousins, and friends. With five children, there were lots of people coming and going. Friends knew there would also be snacks on the counter for any occasion they came. My mom is amazingly gifted in this area and I have admitted before that don’t think I inherited this gift. I love having people in our home, but large gatherings can often stress me out (like nearly everything else in this world). I get worried about the menu, having enough food, the house being clean enough, etc.
This chapter has taught me that hospitality isn’t something that just comes naturally to some and not to others, it is a learned practice.
One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is a quote by the author’s grandmother:
“Don’t worry about what you’re serving, just serve.” (p. 174)
I also really loved this:
“When hospitality becomes something other than pure other-centeredness, it loses its meaning. When people say hospitality is an art or gift, the act becomes more about the one hosting than the ones being served. I’ve found that the most successful events aren’t an expression of oneself but an opportunity to celebrate others.” (pp. 182-183)
Although my children are far from being able to host their own events or parties, this chapter challenged me to set an example of hospitality for them!
Chapter 9 made me a little bit anxious at first as I recalled all of those “Cooperative Learning Groups” we were required to participate in undergrad (where inevitably 1 or 2 of us ended up doing ALL of the work…glad THOSE days are over). :) I love the emphasis that the author placed on wanting her kids to learn to work together as a group while also recognizing that there WILL be those people who slack off while everyone else does more than their fair share of the work–but that is just life. And life isn’t fair!
There are few things in life more satisfying than seeing your family work together towards a common goal! Even the small moments in our house where our boys are working together to build a fort instead of fighting bring a big smile to my face! :)
What are your thoughts on this week’s reading? Share in the comments or link up your post below!
Next Week’s Assignment: Finish the Book (Chapters 10-12)!!! Make sure you also grab a copy of Be the Mom if you haven’t already, since that will be our next book.