Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mom's Courses in Life Skills

 Chef Caleb beams over his dinner creation.
 Chef's choice for dinner:  cheese quesadillas, corn, and apple slices.  
 Caleb topped off dinner with individual servings of "worms in dirt."

Connor and I sat inches away from the commode.  He was clutching a toilet brush; I cradled a cleaner.  I motioned him toward the open lid.  He wrinkled his nose and said in disgust, "I'm not doing that!  This isn't my job!"

Fighting the urge to swat him with the toilet brush, I questioned, "Well, whose job is it?"

He opened his lips and then caught my eye.  Wisely, he hesitated and then went mum.  He barely let out a grunt as he began to scour the porcelain.  Connor was disappointed; he envisioned a summer perched in front of video games, not toilets.

Summer: the perfect time for leisure and laze.  However, any mom knows the leisure and laze only lasts so long before it's transformed into mayhem and mischief.  From years past, I've learned the best way to combat unruliness is to keep them busy.  

The busy part is the tough part.  You don't want them so busy that summer doesn't feel like summer, but busy enough that summer doesn't feel like summer.  Know what I mean?

This summer, the boys will be busy completing courses on personal independence with the added bonus of life lesson skill-building exercises.  I will serve as their instructor, tutor, and proctor throughout the course.  My course objective is to teach the boys home skills that they are capable of performing and learning.   

This morning, they attended a session on wash room sanitation. (You already know how that went!)  Later, one lucky boy, Caleb, received a private tutorial on dinner preparation.  Per course instructions, Caleb drafted the menu, compiled a list of ingredients, set the table, and then prepared and served the food.

Caleb selected cheese quesadillas with a side of corn and apple slices.  Although he initially scoffed at all his responsibilities, he quickly relished his role in the kitchen.  As I worked along side, I thought about how many hours we've worked on complex math problems and conjugations of verbs and yet the boy doesn't know how to work a can opener.

As important as it is for me to encourage their academic, social, and athletic pursuits, it may be even more essential that I teach them needed life skills.  And so we'll take this summer to master the art of the can opener, the toilet brush, and the washing machine.  They'll be time for video games too, but they'll be earned.

As unpopular as I've suddenly become with the masses, I take solace in the fact that four future wives, roommates, and (most likely) boys will thank me later. 

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