Parenting

Take a Knee

“When children are allowed to take from the family more than they contribute, they become parasitic, self-centered, and believe that something can be had for nothing.  Study after study has shown that early success at small chores produces adults who are healthier, happier and more successful.  This result is true regardless of ethnicity, income, education, background or family circumstances.”  ~ John Rosemond

Canopy Zip Line Tour
Canopy Zip Line Tour (Photo credit: Jamison Wieser)

An online friend of mine said recently, “Just because I teach this stuff doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with it from time to time.”  Confession?  I’m with her.

My stepson was here for a long summer vacation. For privacy I will say that he is much younger than the rest of our kids and lives quite far away.  Young enough and far enough to make this the first time he has been able to travel independently and visit us on his own.

On one hand it was glorious.  On the other, I found myself struggling with excessive urges to play, smother and spoil.

That struggle ended painfully — not with any blended family arguing or angst — but with a significant tear in my knee.  Suddenly, not only was I rendered unable to participate in ‘spoiling’ or other fun family vacation activities, I needed help.  Lots of help.

As anyone who has rehabbed a knee can tell you, this is most definitely a “two steps forward, one step back” process.  Today I’m back to “the two “i”s” — ice and ibuprofen.  Not only am I achy and grumpy about this development but my pal has traveled back to his other home and I miss him terribly.

I’m also very grateful.

I’m willing to bet I could have managed to get my crazy, indulgent instincts back in check.  But in reality, our time together was made better by this unfortunate turn of events.  Without it I would not have had the chance to live with a caring and thoughtful young man who went out of his way to find opportunities to help:  making some meals, carrying groceries, hanging laundry, walking dogs.

Don’t get me wrong.  Left to my own devices I would choose the zipline and the wave-runner over crutches… but that choice might have cost me the chance to fully appreciate the kindness of a wonderfully “good grown-up” in the making.

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