It’s the last week of our book club (for this book anyway)–this week we finished Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. I personally gained so much from this book and I will recommend it to any parent who worries about raising entitled children. Although a lot of the ideas mentioned in the book would be best for children slightly older than my own, I still think it is a great reminder for moms of children of all ages that they are capable of more than we give them credit for–especially when it comes to meaningful work! If we set high expectations from a young age, we won’t need to “rid” entitlement in our homes because it naturally won’t be there (at least not as much, anyway).
Here’s just a few thoughts on this week’s reading:
Chapter 10 was all about teaching your child to run errands and to learn how to be cordial to others assisting you with those errands (clerks, salespeople, etc). Up until a few years ago, certain members of my family had difficulty with this task, mostly because there were always older siblings and a capable mother to handle conversing with these individuals. I also think it is a good idea to expect your young children to tell you when they are out of something (toothpaste, shampoo, etc) rather than just assuming it will magically appear.
Chapter 11 was probably my second favorite chapter in the entire book (second only to chapter 7). It reminded me a lot of our 30 Days of Intentional Acts of Kindness (which we need to do again, come to think of it). Serving others is something that I desperately want us to instill in the character of our children…but I certainly am not a very good example sometimes! I love the examples the author shares of her friend’s attitudes towards serving others was so deeply engrained that they didn’t even consider it “serving”! I want to be like that…and I want our children to be like that. Practice makes perfect, right?!?!
Chapter 12 (the chapter on manners) made me realize just what a great example my husband is for our boys (maybe we need to switch roles–I think he would probably do a much better job as the stay-at-home parent than I do). Good manners if far more than proper place setting and saying “please” and “thank you”, at the essence of manners is putting the needs of someone else above your own. One quote I really loved from this chapter on manners was this:
“At the core of today’s youth entitlement problem is a generation of kids and young adults convinced–dare we admit, trained to believe–that the world does, in fact, revolve around them. The simple remedy: teach them to consider others ahead of themselves. Start young, on the playground. Find the kid no one will talk to and send yours over to chat. Why fight to be in the popular crowd when all it leads to is self-absorption? A little time with the “left out” gang does wonders for the soul.” p. 262
I always tease my husband because whenever we go somewhere and an employee is wearing a name tag, he always speaks to the person using their name first (i.e. “Hi there, Stan. How are you today?”). The reason I tease him is because it ALWAYS takes people off guard–they aren’t used to (a) someone being so friendly and (b) someone taking the time to speak to them by name! Whenever he takes the boys places, he always encourages them to talk to the people around them…where as I typically try to get in and out of wherever we’re going before some type of disaster ensues. When we slow down and treat people the way we want to be treated, we can make a huge difference in the lives of those around us. Once again, I need to take some parenting cues from my husband. :)
I am so thankful I read this book because it puts parenting into perspective–the end result should be to teach our children to emulate Christ (who ALWAYS put the needs of others ahead of his own). Here’s a quote from the very end of the book that summarizes it so well:
“So often we look to world, civic, and political leaders to solve societal challenges. The future world shapers are sitting at our dinner tables, able and ready (though likely hesitant) to fulfill their role. These kids–our kids–will be the ones who take all the technological advances, pair them with confidence gained through years of pushing boundaries, and change the world for good. Simple daily work and other-centered tasks pave the way for just such achievements.
Culture doesn’t determine who people become. People determine what the culture will be. Might our equipped, empowered, un-entitled kids be the ones who set the course for the future.” -p. 270
What did you think about this week’s reading and/or the book as a whole? Leave a comment or link up below!
Next Week’s Assignment: We’re starting a new book next week: Be the Mom by Tracey Eyster! Get a copy of the book and then read Chapters 1, 2 & 3 before next Sunday (many of you have already read the first two chapters online, so this shouldn’t be too much reading for you).
Also, Tracey Eyster (the author of Be the Mom) has graciously offered to do a Q&A each week with some questions that you might have about the book (or generally about being a mom). If you’d like for Tracey to answer your question…just leave a comment in next Sunday’s post. We’ll choose a few of the questions and post Tracey’s answers the following week!