Sunday, August 19, 2012

the lessons we teach our kids

I've been thinking about that above statement a lot since last weekend.  In case you don't know this about me, I have issues about being submissive to my husband.  And I don't mean just "submissive".  I mean Biblically, respectfully submissive.  Not the attitude of, "Well, I'll be submissive because I have to, but I don't have to like it one bit". 

You're probably wondering what the term submissive and the title have to do with one another. 

Well, in the area of submission, I have been trying to be better.  When I started this year of 2012, I came up with my word for this year.  That word is "committed".  As in, "I am committed to becoming a more Godly wife and mom this year."  Being a Godly wife means submitting  Biblically and respectfully to my husband. 

So God, being God, decided to teach me some things along my path.  Some of what He taught me came from my Beth Moore Bible study on the book of James. 

Anyway, Todd and I don't see eye to eye on everything.  I am working on the way that I might discuss with him the things I don't agree with...without breaking into World War III.  Last weekend, we were sitting in the living room talking, and I asked him if he felt comfortable asking the boys to work as much as we make them. 

At the time, Graham and Drew were cutting our grass.  Graham cuts and edges in the front yard (sometimes he edges, sometimes Todd does that) and Drew cuts the backyard.  The conversation didn't go as I had imagined, and all of a sudden, we were really upset with one another.  We ended up being okay, but I had to apologize for the way I worded it. 

Stick around...I really do have a point.

That point is that I have been thinking of the lessons we are teaching our kids.  Most of our friends don't make their kids work like we make ours.  And by "work", I don't mean "slave", but they do pull their weight around our house.  They are expected to make their beds every morning, keep their rooms tidy, keep their laundry put up.  They have to keep their towels hung up to dry in their bathroom and keep that tiny space clean at all times.  They help with our pets, with their feeding and cleaning up after them.  And the older two boys cut our grass.  They also take out the trash any time they see that it needs to be done, and they haul it all out to the curb on Wednesday afternoons for pickup on Thursday.

All this work for the grand price of...


living in our house.

They do not receive an allowance.  These are things that are just expected of them.

They do get paid to do jobs in our neighborhood (helping a neighbor cut his grass or dog sitting), but they also know never to expect money.  That way, if they do something for someone and do get paid, it's a pleasant surprise.  They know that we should never get paid from family or from friends...some things we just do because we love them.

But we are one of the only families that I know that do this.  Most of our friends don't make their kids do anything, and lots of them give allowances. 

And sometimes, I wish that maybe we didn't require so much of them.  But then I remember that we're not just raising boys.  We are raising future husbands.  I was thinking yesterday, what in the world kind of young men would we be raising if we didn't require anything of them?  Would they someday be husbands that just paid for people to do the work they could do themselves?  Would they know how to turn on a lawn mower?  Would they be capable of helping their wives out on a day when she was sick?  Would they know how to run a washing machine or dryer or dish-washing machine?

I want them to be kinds of husbands that know how to do those things!  I don't want them to be lazy.  I want them to know that life can be fun, but first, we must take care of our responsibilities. 

I'm not saying we're perfect and that I always think this way, but really, what it boils down to is this: We are not raising sons.  We are raising future husbands and fathers.  I pray that they remember that we've raised them with integrity, and that it's never okay to lie.  Whether that be in person or on Facebook by creating an account for your under-aged child. 

I want them to be upstanding citizens, men who lead their families by example.  I also want them to know how to treat a lady.  That is why, in another couple of years, I plan on "dating" my sons before they are ever allowed to go on a real date.  I want them to know that chivalry is not dead, and that they should always open doors, let ladies go first, and pay the check in a restaurant.  (And this idea is one that I got from a friend that we go to church with, so I can't any credit for it.) 

And, yes, we expect them to work as teenagers.  They will have to help out with their gas, insurance and spending money.  And not just because we think it's a good idea, but because with four kids, we will have to have help! 

So, these are the lessons we are teaching our kids.  Maybe the next time I disagree with something my sweet husband asks our boys to do, I will keep my mouth shut and re-read this post.  Because, really, Todd knows what it's about.  And if they are half the men that he is, then that would be amazing.

Love to all. 


Phyllis said...

Okay! I am crying again. I am so proud of you and Todd and the way you are raising my precious grandsons. They are already fine young men and love to help me and tell me that they don't want money for things they do for me, that they do it because they love me! I know we didn't do everything right raising our sons but we did so something ok because I am so proud of my sons. Thank you for being who you are and doing what you do! Oh, and I can't forget to say that I am also very very proud of my beautiful daughter-in-loves! My sons did right in choosing their wives too!!! Bunches and Bunches of love!!!

Rene' said...

I totally agree! Our kids do the same chores here...everything from yard work to laundry to cleaning rooms and taking care of the dog. Do they get paid for these things? Nope...not a dime. We have told them these are things that are expected of them bc we are a family...a "team" that works together to keep this machine running! The boys work at the BBQ place to earn extra money. Our hope is that they will learn that life will not hand them a free ride and they will appreciate what they have and have worked hard for. I don't think many people think like we do...and that is sad. It's bc I love them that I don't just give them hand outs! Hopefully they will thank me later...haha!!!

Christa said...

what wise words my amazing friend. It it such a privelage to be your bff and to learn from you. Looove you!

all4boys said...

@Phyllis, I always make you cry! What else is new? Thank you, though, for the sweet words. I agree, we were both fortunate enough to have amazing parents. Where else would our skill at parenting come from? :-)

@Rene, I am glad to hear that you guys are the same way. I truly think that work is good for everyone, and it leaves less time for idleness. In times of not doing anything is when most people might get into trouble. I'm not saying our kids (and yours) will never get in trouble, but hopefully, they will return to their roots. They will DEFINITELY thank you later. Just wait and see. :-)

@Christa, you and Jason are going to be the same way, I know! Thank you for your sweet words! I feel the same way, my sweet friend! I lurve you and can't wait to hug your neck in a few weeks!!!

Shari said...

I think that is a great! Sadly, we don't do it much around here and I wish we had started that when they were younger.

Logan gets his car in October and he will have to help some with gas money too. However, I am not requiring him to help with a lot because I don't want him to feel pressured to work during the week. Right now I feel strongly that school is his job and making good grades. School is what sets him up for the future so I feel that is very important. I remember how hard it was trying to work, study, and make good grades. I want him to still have some down time to enjoy friends and life. He has a whole lifetime of work and responsibilities ahead of him after college!

How did my baby grow up so fast to where it is time to deal with this already!! :(

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