Corona Virus Quarantine Day #127: Not Having it…at all! July 27, 2020:
The Dorsey children were in rare form today. We seemed tired, grouchy, short and sassy. I actually had a child roll their eyes at me today…several times, and I have to tell you…I’m NOT having it!
I realize that a little of this is totally normal, I do work with teenagers most days…but holy macaroni…I’m not having it in my house.
In fact…I was pretty pissed off about this behavior.
We came up from the barn, where most of this attitude was being thrown my direction, and ate lunch. During lunch I told them that as soon as they cleaned the dishes from lunch there were to go to their rooms with a pencil and a piece of paper. On said piece of paper, they were to write ALL the things they have done with their mom and dad in the last week. Underneath that they were to write ALL the things they are grateful for in their life.
I didn’t give them a lot of time…I wanted them to have to think quickly and get that information down so we could have a chat about it.
After each child had written their list we sat on the floor and I made them read their list out loud. When one kid said something another kid had forgotten they’d get their pencil and try to add it on to their list.
When each child had read their lists I asked them if they knew a lot of moms and dads who played games with their kids all day, took them to the pool, to the lake, made them every meal, read them books, coached their teams, had water gun fights?
Call me crazy, but I refuse to raise kids who are not grateful for the blessings they have.
Ellen’s list…she really was focused on the “mom and dad” part.
Fletcher’s list…I had to help him write it obviously. But…I was just happy he participated, he is only 5 years old!
Finley’s note “mom went under the water,” apparently I need to do this more often!
Fiona’s list. She also taped a picture of her and I to the back!
Cooper’s list…Love that he said he was thankful for the military. My little history buff.
These kids are lucky. They hit the parent jackpot. I’m not trying to say we are perfect, because we most certainly are not…but holy hell…I spend the majority of my day, on most days, all of my day, playing with these kids or taking them places. I have tried so hard to utilize all this extra time to really engage with my kids and I am blessed to have a job that allows me to do that. Bryan is the most present dad I have ever known. Also, he’s super fun and creative and comes up with the best games.
I do not want to raise ungrateful human beings.
And…they are NOT ungrateful human beings.
They had a bad day.
But…eye rolls, grunts and snarky responses throw me right over the edge. I fear we live in a world where we do not appreciate the people in our lives that go out of our way for us, and I don’t want to raise kids that are entitled in any way.
Everything we have in our life is because we have worked hard and have been surrounded by good people who want what is best for us. I want them to know that if they want goodness in their life they must work hard and demand excellence of the people they allow into their life. These are lessons I was taught by my parents and things I think have shaped me into who I am.
We need to do a better job, all of us, including me, at showing gratitude to others.
This is why I try to write notes and am trying to teach my kids the same thing. If you have something nice to say…write it down. Then that person will always have that note to look back on. I read the notes I’ve gotten on days I’m sad or struggling…they work every time.
I have found in my experience in parenting that when you have discussions like this one it opens the door for deeper ones.
We went on to talk about how there are kids in the world that don’t have food to eat or a nice house to sleep in or toys. We talked about their own Gaga who had a very difficult childhood and that not everyone in the world is lucky enough to grow up in a house like ours with parents like they have. They asked a lot of questions. Fletcher couldn’t believe there were kids who didn’t have food. “That’s crazy mommy!” I agree Fletcher, I agree. This conversation turned a crappy morning into a much better day.
I really don’t think my kids are ungrateful, they just acted like it for a short period of time today. If I had let that slide the world would not have come to an end…but…it would have given them a door to act like that again. And like I said…I’m not having it!
If I’m honest, I am probably too hard on them when they have a bad day…but I’d rather err on the side of caution. There are enough entitled people in this world, we won’t be contributing to this problem.
Just last night I took them to swim with a friend and then to Dairy Queen and everyone of them said thank you for taking them before we had even gotten into the car. They are good kids who had a bad day. It’s ok…which is what I told them. It is ok to have a bad day. But it’s not ok (in my opinion) to let it slide. We must acknowledge our mistakes, own them and then move on.
Parenting is the best “job” I’ve ever had. However, it’s also the hardest. You feel like there is never a time where there isn’t a lesson to be taught and sometimes that is exhausting. In total honesty, it’s easier to let things slide than to really push them to be better than they are right now. But this…this lesson on gratitude…is a lesson I will teach every. single. time.
We need to take time everyday in our lives to sit back and think about all the good we have in our world. We need to say “thank you” to those that help us in any capacity or who do nice things for us. We need to show and demonstrate gratitude. These are the kind of human beings we want to raise.
I too, can do better. For example, I need to make a more conscience effort to tell the kids thank you each day after they have cleaned the kitchen. They don’t always do it as well as I’d like but they are 5, 8 and 10 and they are learning the value of hard work. Hard work should always be appreciated.
So tomorrow, the Dorsey’s (all of us) will all be better at demonstrating gratitude and speaking it out loud and we will for sure not be throwing attitude at the people who love us the very most.
Also, there will be no eye rolls.
I am grateful for hand painted pots that have plants growing in them. Kids who can spend time by themselves fishing with their dog and all the dog snuggles in our house.