For his birthday, we gave Ranger a set of two puzzles -one 12 piece and one 24, both the same size – and a hotwheels car. Because toys build up distressingly quickly at this age and it is nice to keep things smaller. Mainly the messes.
But in addition to his other presents we gave him a job officially his own. He is now in charge of clearing the dishes off the table and wiping it down after most meals. He was acting interested the days preceding, even taking initiative and scraping his plate into the trash before dropping in it the sink a few times.
So now it’s his job.
He needs reminded, and, after getting the dishes on his own, he needs help finding a clean cloth to wipe the crumbs around and off the table (to the floor).
It is something he can do well enough and he seems quite happy to do it. For now.
It seems like it may have been a gift to him.
The novelty will wear off soon enough, but it made me think how responsibility might actually be a gift and we just miss it most of the time.
A life without responsibility would be boring, in my opinion.
We had a night away this weekend and it was oh so lovely to eat out, stay in a hotel, and not have to worry about the children at all, but I realized we would have a very boring life if it weren’t for the kids. So the responsibilities that come with children are a gift, somehow. Freeing us from our own propensity towards self-absorption and giving us glimpses of true joy amidst the drudgery.
When we’re little we gradually gain responsibility for ourselves, the environment, our pets, and others. Sometimes it’s a novelty at first, but soemtimes we know it’s just work and that is not fun.
We don’t tend to realize how the work and practice work benefits us in the long term.
For example, all through highschool I claimed to hate writing, yet somehow thanks to an excellent base in classical literature/fiction and sufficient base in the mechanics of writing I somehow came out of college with a major in English. The work of learning to write added up to a love of writing when I knew I could do it well enough.
There is really no saying what could be important to us years from now because of what we gained effectiveness in now.
So is responsibility a gift?
You tell me.
Is your life better when you have more or less responsibility?
How might it change our perspectives on everyday responsibility? Are doing the laundry, the dishes, and the diapers gifts or are they simply responsibilities that come with a gift? It seems like so often we’re pursuing freedom from responsibility, do you think we still gain freedoms with responsibility as we did when we were kids?
And my question to ponder this week… How does taking care of my kids bring me more freedom?
What are your thoughts?