Monday, June 25, 2012
This isn't too much to ask
I was inspired by the most excellent book Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement to give her a little errand to do. "Errands" was one of the activities that the author Kay Wills Wyma subjected her 14, 12, 10, and 8 year old children during her plan to teach her children to work. As we were driving (after taking her friend home, I might add if I was keeping score), I told her that when we got to the Redbox, I wanted her to return the movie (the movie that she and her friend watched the night before) . "I don't know how," she replied. "You'll figure it out," I said.
She gave me a look as she was getting out of the car ("I don't know why you can't just do this yourself," the look said). She meandered up to the box. Someone had already scrolled through every movie in Kiosk A and had moved over to Kiosk B, and someone was heading up to Kiosk A. "Hurry," I thought, not wanting her to get caught behind another slow browser.
Amanda beat her to the kiosk, but she looked determined, so Amanda hung back. But then she started looking at her phone, and hadn't stepped all the way up to the machine, so I unrolled the window and yelled, "Can my daughter just return our movie?" The look that earned me was probably not as G-rated as the first look.
She looked as clueless as a Kindergartner given Calculus instead of a coloring sheet.
She lifted the sun flap, stared at it, looked at me, then stepped back again and let cell-phone lady go ahead of her.
The woman didn't realize that I was empowering my teenager, that I was breaking her habit of entitlement, so when she finished, she pressed "return a DVD" for Amanda before she walked away and said, "It's all set. Just put it in."
Seriously. The first time I used redbox, I had to read the instructions. It's not rocket science. It's not calculus. She's a computer-savvy kid from a tech generation. She can figure out a DVD kiosk. But she's never had to before, so like most people who like being taken care of, she feigns helplessness.
Attempt one at teaching her errands probably didn't work very well. Just wait until I send her into the grocery store with some cash and a list of a few items. We might need to go on high blood pressure medicine, but it's gonna happen.
I highly, highly recommend this book, Cleaning House. You can enter to win a copy over at 5 Minutes for Mom today.