Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Prairie Boot-Camp

Well, it has begun. Grandma Boot Camp is in progress. My oldest daughter, her husband, and their son (who is the same age as Abigail) have been living with us for a couple of weeks now. I've been loving it. Abigail now has someone her age to play with and Micah is thriving in the changes.

Christy & JR (my daughter & son-in-law) are wonderful with Micah. He has accepted the changes very well and is bonding to them beautifully. JR is Micah's buddy and Micah seeks him out quite often. Christy is planning to do daycare in their home when they get their own place. She wants to specialize in tending special needs children - something that is much needed in our area.

After the novelty of having a new child to play with wore off for Abigail & David (my grandson), they began taking on each other's bad habits as well as developing an attitude of entitlement. Well, that doesn't fly in our home. Time for Prairie Boot Camp to commence!

The first lesson was the kids being told that they now will have daily chores. They were not too keen on this, but we are moving forward. The next topic was that the phrases "I want..." and "I don't want to..." are no longer in their vocabulary. Their new favorite phrases will be "What can I do to help?" and "What do you need done?"

We are not asking too much from the kids. Their chores are age appropriate and well within their ability. They are working along side of us. If they choose to not do their chores, then there are direct and immediate consequences. No excuses are permitted.

Gradually, they are learning that the amount of playtime that they have is increased if they work quickly. "Wool-gathering" instead of doing their chores results in less playtime. It has been great to see them realising that the work goes faster when they work together. They are also becoming more respectful in their attitudes.

Now, before I get the obnoxious comments about harming kids by having them actually do chores, let me state this. We are trying to get a small family farm going. These kids are being raised as farm kids. Learning from a young age that good work ethics is NOT harmful to a child. There are too many people already in our society who are lazy and think that they should be handed things the easy way. Howe often have you seen people do the bare minimum to earn their pay while others work hard to make sure things are done & done right? We have all complained at one time or another about it. By raising the kids to have a strong work ethic, they will become contributors and not slackers.

Are the kids thrilled at having to do chores? Not always. They are learning however, some very valuable lessons that will benefit them later on in life.