Friday, March 28, 2014

Why my kids do chores

I am a strong believer in chores. Yes, there is a selfish component in that. As I have mentioned before, I hate cleaning and I really could use all the help I can get.

But really that's not it. For the most part, having the kids do chores is more work for me, not less. For one thing I have to get them to do them. I also have to get all the stuff out for them, help them along the way and "inspect" to make sure it is done. Plus, I have to put up with it done their way and not mine.

So really if a clean house with no effort from me is my goal I am way better off hiring a cleaning team and depriving my children of all luxuries and some basic needs to pay for it. There would be less whining.

The real reason I have my kids to chores is that it is good for them.

First off, it teaches them that we are a team. This is OUR house, not my house with them as guests. We all live here and we all have to take care of it together. I hope that this lesson will carry over to the idea that we are also a team in other ways. We all have to take care of each other. We are family for life and if your brother or sister needs help, a hug, a laugh or anything else you will be there to offer it.

It teaches responsibility. They have a job to do and if they don't do it it will not get done. I am trying a new system where on top of regular every day chores (like making their bed and clearing and setting the table) they each have one chore that is theirs and only theirs. They can do this chore when they want, and how they want as long as it is done by Sunday afternoon. I still need to remind (read nag) them a bit and help some of them a lot but I hope that they are seeing how their work matters. Our family is counting on them and they are making a real impact.

I also want my kids to know how to do this things. I want them to know how to clean their house, how to cook, how to take care of them selves. If my kids were leaving school not learning how to read, write or do math I would have some choice words to say to their teachers. So why is it OK that my kids grow up in my home and not learn cooking, cleaning and house maintenance. We are starting small. Our oldest cooks dinner (with lots of back up support) once a week. They now all know how to clean a toilet, load and start a dishwasher and vacuum. Don't worry, I am not asking them the re-roof the house or sending the two year old out the mow the lawn.

I want my kids to value working. Having a job is a good thing. So is working hard even if you don't like it.  I try to make chore time as fun as possible. We put on fun music to grove to, I try to have a fun thing to do after we are done, but even if they don't like to clean the toilet (and who does really) if it is their job it has to get done. Working hard and a job well done is its own reward. (OK this is a bit of  a long stretch and I am still working on this concept my self but at least we are learning together.)
I know that these are big goals for a toilet brush to take on but someone has to do it. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ding Dong! The thesis is done!

I have been telling everyone I know for the whole week: my thesis for my MA in Religious Education is complete and submitted for grading!




I push the finer limits of tacky self-promotion with an eye toward ensuring adequate celebration. It would just be like me to shrug off this milestone and fail to honour the work and support involved in its passing.

Consider: I started my first graduate course at St. Mark's College in 1999. That's 15 frickin' years!

Now, there's been a lot of non-study gaps in there: I only really began my GDRE (graduate degree in religious education) in 2003, I finished it in 2008 or 9 or something, then started up again in Spring 2012. I haven't taken a course since Jan 2013 and the thesis has been interrupted by a few important life experiences in the past year and a bit.

But, still... it is the achievement of my furthest academic goal that I have imagined thus far. It is the end of any coursework at the post-secondary level and the beginning of potentially instructing at the college level. It is seeing a big project through, and one that has been at the heart of my career as a religious educator.

It represents the huge support that first of all Monique gave me when on stupid occasion I was taking two courses, coaching two teams and representing teachers in the local association when Avila was a newborn. And the support of the college, in all its various staffings that I've seen through the last 15 years.

And it presents me with a What next? What now? experience that I am eager to get rolling on - what's my new project? Where will the work on my thesis lead? Let's discover!

Above all, there's lightness and space in my heart and spirit and mind which has been holding this project for so long. It's just pretty cool.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March madness

I know that I write a lot about the weather on this Blog, but there is a lot of weather to talk about, and now it is March. And March is crazy. Yesterday was 10 degrees. I was out in a t-shirt listening to the birds singing. This morning I woke up to this!

Come on, I know it is only -4 and that this afternoon the dusting will be gone but it is like Mother Nature is laughing at us. I can't keep up with her. One minute the road is covered with puddels that will swallow a car and the next it is a skating rink. In the moring on the walk to school the kids need parkas and on the walk home they need gum boots and snorkels. I see now it is not months and months of deep winter that is crazy, it is a 40 degree change in two weeks and jumping from Antaratica to New Mexcio in a day that is really crazy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Same time tomorrow

If you have ever wondered why we called this blog "The Last Time Change" this is why. Saskatchewan does not have day light savings time. So this Sunday, while you were all sleeping in or waking up too early, while you were avoiding the increase in car accidence, and dealing with out of whack kids and pets, we were just going about live as normal.

I think they have a lot right in this province, but this one is near the top of my list.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dancing in a Vortex

I have been hearing a lot lately about the polar vortex. If you don't know what that is, be thankful. It is why this is a record breaking year for cold on the prairies. We have had 10 times more days of extreme cold (-35 or more) this year then a average year. Last Saturday, if you factor in the wind chill (and you should, trust me) it was -55! Yes, it was colder here then on Mars.

And you ask, what do you do on a day that is that cold. Well of course you dance! Our oldest son planned a dance party for us. We had snacks and fun drinks, we got all dressed up in your party clothes. He planned the music selection, with a mix of recorded music and live performers. And we danced. We had conga lines and break dancers. We had people dancing on furniture and a rocking ring-around-the-rosy session. Yes, I played my fiddle to the cheers of my adoring fans, all 5 of them.

I had so much fun. We all did. But the thing I loved the most was the look of pride on my son's face. This was his idea and he made it happen. He spent weeks thinking about music selection and how to best set up the room. He even held auditions! He felt awesome seeing his plans come to fulfillment. And he should be proud. He through a great party.

I think I will put him in charge of Christmas next year.