Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cracking it

Anthony and I come from big families. I loved growing up in a big family and even though we were both provided with all we needed, part of being in a big family often means it's more challenging to spoil your children.  There is just less to go around and more people to divide everything amongst.

Having only two children, I am conscious of not wanting to spoil our boys.  You don't need a lot to spoil only two children.  There is this weird balance of loving to seeing them enjoy life and getting to experience things they love but also not wanting them to take for granted the things we are blessed to be able to provide them with.

One of our ways of approaching this was getting our boys their pamphlet delivery job young so they learn to earn money through work.  We were reluctant to pay them for doing everyday chores (like making their beds or cleaning their rooms) because they too live in our house and should be helping care for our house too.  We signed them up for a little job that we help with, and at first they enjoyed it, but it has been 2 years and the novelty has definitely worn off.  We have discussed it and decided we don't want them to quit though because they enjoy having their own spending money, and also because we want them to learn that work is a part of life.  

The problem is they haven't yet learnt that complaining isn't a part of being a good worker.  Most adults know that complaining about going to work is fine, complaining to family and friends about your job is even okay, but spending every moment at work whining is a sure-fire way to get fired!  Tony and Carter haven't figured this out yet.  I tried to teach them this by telling them if you complain at work, you get fired and get no money, so if they complain they would lost their pay, but still have to complete their job.  This KIND OF worked, but also made them resent their job.

Instead, trying to have a more positive attitude about their job seemed like a good path.  The whole setting-a-good-example path.  

Today was a delivery day and I took Tony with me to deliver the catalogues as Tarts and Anthony were a bit under the weather.  From the moment we left the house, Tony was complaining.   We got about a third of the way in and he had complained non-stop, despite me telling him to stop, that it was annoying, and to just get over it.

Finally, I cracked it!

In the middle of the street, I marched across the road, snatched the bag out his hand and told him to just walk to the car because I was over it and was taking him home because I would rather do the whole job myself than deal with an hour of whining and moaning.

Despite him telling me how much he didn't want to be working, as soon as I told him I am sending him home, Tony tells me he wants to do the job.  This is how kids work, they push and push and then you crack it and tell you they WANT to do they very thing they have been saying they don't want to do.  IT IS INSANE.

We get in the car and Tony insists he wants to finish his job.  So....in a moment I am not proud of, I lost it!  I pulled the car over in a most dramatic fashion and ranted and raved for a good 3 minutes (even though Tony will tell you it felt like much longer).  I didn't swear (we aren't a swearing family), but I did use a word that Tony said he has never heard me say before and for which I apologised after.  I went on and on about how I was trying to be positive but he was being such a misery guts and it was making the whole thing miserable for me.

After realising his mother was a lunatic, Tony wisened up and told me he was willing to change his attitude and he wanted to stay and finish his job.

So we played a game while we worked and the next hour was fun.

As we got in the car to go home, I did what all parents do and pointed out how my crazy had a purpose.  Actually, I apologised for losing it and then said;

"So Tony, can you see that after you decided to change your attitude, the work we had to do stayed the same, the bags were just as heavy, we had to walk just as far, but it was better.  The only thing that changed and made it more pleasant was your attitude.  Changing your attitude about things can change the whole experience."

I thought it was a good lesson.  But in hindsight, I missed the part of the lesson that was meant for me.  Tony did change his attitude, but I also made an effort to make it more fun and came up with a simple game to play as we walked.  I needed to change my attitude too.

As we drove home, Tony patted my hand and said;

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone you said a bad word.  Some things just aren't necessary to tell everyone."

I did tell him however, that we as parents make mistakes all the time and although I regret my behaviour, I want to show our boys we can move on from mistakes and won't hide them.

I'm fairly certain that moment of my bad behaviour will be stored up and used against me at some point in the future though.


No comments:

Post a Comment