Doing life together isn’t just a catchy phrase; it is a philosophy of life.
It also isn’t convenient.
When our kids were growing up, we had to make the conscious choice to teach them how to:
- Make their beds
- Put their dirty clothes in the hamper
- Tie their shoes
- Brush their teeth
- Choose appropriate clothing
- Wash the dishes and load a dishwasher
- Select good friends
- Make appropriate choices
- Face the consequences for poor choices
And a myriad other things.
Often I would find myself getting frustrated at how much time it took for my child to learn one “simple” task. I could do it in less than five minutes; it took them an hour. (It’s amazing how quickly we forget what it took for us to learn this “simple” task!)
Let me illustrate by sharing a story that really tested me.
Saturday mornings each of our children had at least one “big” chore to do over an above their daily chores of making their bed, brushing their teeth, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper. Each child had a list (some of them hated this list!) sitting on the kitchen table. They would check off the list and then were free to play with friends.
One Saturday, our son decided he didn’t want to do his “big” chore that day. He wasn’t going to do it. (Stubborn like his mother)
Rather than nag Son about this chore (my tendency), my wise husband calmly told him he couldn’t go outside, play with any toys, or do anything else until the chore was done. It was up to him how long it took. No nagging. No raised voice. Just a simple factual statement.
Lunchtime arrived and it still wasn’t done. He’d spent the morning in his room on his bed….
Meanwhile, Son’s best buddy came to the door several times asking if Son could play. “I’m sorry,” I’d reply, “he hasn’t finished his chores yet. He’ll be out as soon as he does.”
“Still?” Dejected, the buddy walked away.
As dinnertime approached, we informed Son that his dinner was ready as soon as his chore was complete.
“If you do it now, you still have time to play before dinner.”
Stomp, stomp, stomp. Slam!
Dinnertime came and went. Chore still not done.
It’s bedtime. We informed Son that he would not be able to do anything the next day either unless he completed his chore.
30 minutes later the chore was done.
And it only took an entire day. :-/
Teaching children life lessons is hard work. And the best way to learn those lessons is in the ordinariness of life. “When you sit at home, when you walk down the road, when you lie down, when you get up…”
Doing life together means staying the course when it would be much easier and less frustrating to just give in or do it myself.
Parenting isn’t for cowards. Rearing children to be productive members of society often creates uncomfortable growth within the parent.
It is also the most rewarding, uplifting experience you will ever have.
Take time today to do life together intentionally. Experience the extraordinary joy of life. And laugh a lot along the way.
How are you coping today while doing life together? What challenges are you facing? Leave a comment below.
Capture the extraordinary moments in the ordinariness of today.
Wow. Parenting isn’t for cowards. This resonated with me so much. Right now I am challenged with weaning my 15mo son and it is so difficult! I love the bond but I know it’s about that time to let go. Did you breastfeed and what was your weaning experience like? I loved this post. I will definitely use it as a prayer for a close family member who has kids, but does not quite grasp these concepts or care to recognize his own behavior and how it affects his kids. Thanks for sharing!
Ina – you are in a tough time most definitely. My weaning experiences were different with each child. One was relatively easy; two were difficult each in their own way. Thanks for reading and commenting. Blessings on you and your family.