The Family That Delivers Together
We are all in it together around here. Everyone living under this roof is directly involved in almost every aspect of running our house and doing his share of maintaining the family unit. Paul and I include the kids in a lot of decision making. If the electricity bill is out of proportion, they know it. If a family member outside our home needs help, we all share in the responsibility. When a stray cat wandered up and went into labor on our carport, we all assisted. Daniel suggested we call 911 at the first sign of labor; I assured him we could do it together, without any outside help.
We believe we each have the responsibility of working for the good of our family as a whole. The boys are given age appropriate duties and each member of this family knows exactly what is expected of him. We believe in teamwork. We do homework together, we go to the movies together, we eat together, we attend church together, and we pray together.
The Family That Cleans Together
Many parents believe it isn’t appropriate to discuss household bills with their children or assign special duties around the house. The kids aren’t asked to share the laundry chores, do the dishes, assist in meal preparation, or lawn chores. In some homes, the kids don’t even clean their rooms. I am appalled with this notion. My boys can make a bed, vacuum the carpet, tend to the animals, wash the dishes, help with the laundry, sweep and mop, mow the lawn, and give you a darn good estimate of what the light bill will be this month according to the consistent weather temperature in our area.
When the boys first arrived they were proficient in other areas. They could tell you whose parents used drugs in the neighborhood they happened to be living in that week. Our youngest was very good at comparing amounts of food donated from churches and food pantries. While driving by a local church, he informed me their food bag was the best because they gave the most Raamen soup. Our oldest could look at a bike and tell me how easily the kids in the trailer park could strip and sell it. They confided in me they could recognize the smell of marijuana. The boys knew how to roam the neighborhoods late at night without getting picked up by local law enforcement. They rarely talk of these things anymore, but they can tell you how many paper towels it takes to clean all the mirrors in the bathroom and which trash bags work best for the size of our trash container.
The Family That Shops Together
Paul and I were shopping for a new coffee pot on the internet last night. The boys were listening to the conversation we were having about the price range, brand, and what amenities we wanted. We were soon all huddled around the computer, the boys offering their opinion on style, size, and cost. Randy asked for one that makes hot tea and hot chocolate. Daniel asked if he could pick out the color (that would be red). When the time comes to purchase it, we will have to take the boys; it will be a family decision, as is just about everything around here. The boys feel comfortable integrating their thoughts and opinions into family decisions. We recently purchased a dryer and Randy gave me the third degree on the warranty.
The Family That Learns Together
We operate in this manner because the boys need to know they are a valuable part of this family unit. They must feel important to move forward and accomplish. We want them to be self sufficient, independent, decision making, thought processing adults. It is important to us that we give back healthy minded, caring men. To achieve these goals our philosophy is, you have to start at home. Teaching the boys to prepare a meal and fold a load of laundry gives them the ability to care for themselves when the time comes. Teaching them energy conservation and the monthly bill system teaches them the importance of a household budget. It’s all relative to the learning experience. In the overall picture, all four of us do our share of teaching and learning from each other.