Something just happened to me that I don’t think will ever happen again in my life. Ever.
Typically, I bemoan the reminders I have to give my kids for even basic tasks. “Sophia, that laundry pile will not fold itself.” “Meredith, how many rows of math do you have left?” “Clara, I’m glad you like to play with your little brother, but now is the time to finish your work.” Etc., etc., etc. I feel like a broken record sometimes.
Yes, I know, I need to let my kids experience “natural consequences” and nag them a lot less. I have read books that distill this concept really well, like Boundaries with Kids, which is an excellent book.
But of course, allowing natural consequences to teach all of life’s lessons is much easier said than done!
Just today, a miracle happened. Rather than my typical reminders about school work completion, the kids worked with furious speed all on their own volition! No reminders.
My older two kids, ages 10 and 8, breezed through their school work. I commented on how uncharacteristically fast they were moving through their assignments.
What was the reason for this? I had dangled no carrots of incentive. I had not promised a trip to the park or chocolate chip cookies, or anything. Nothing. Yet, they were still working fast. Why?
“We are hurrying to get school done so we can clean the house,” says Clara, with imagination sparkling in her eyes.
“Yes,” continues Meredith. “We are pretending that Barack Obama is coming to visit so everything needs to be perfect.”
“We noticed there’s some crud on the kitchen chairs,” says Clara. “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it.”
I have no idea how this pretend-idea popped into their little heads. But, whatever the cause, this type of Pretend Play is something that I can surely get behind!
True to their word, after they finished their school work, they spent several hours cleaning the house.
I could not even believe it!!
No cajoling my kids to finish homework or chores? This will never happen again. Right?
After the house was cleaned from top to bottom, including the removal of the alleged crud on the kitchen chairs, I wondered if the kids would be bitterly disappointed when Barack Obama failed to appear at our doorstep.
Instead of bemoaning the fact that they were stood up by the President, the kids took their creative energy and spent a few more hours preparing a theatrical production in our basement. This involved setting up an elaborate beach scene backdrop for their play.
Do your kids do this too? My kids spend hours arranging scenery and costumes to put on a play. Then they practice their play for maybe ten minutes. Then they gather all the adults they can find and perform their play, which lasts approximately 60 seconds.
It’s not about the actual play itself. The fun is in the process of getting ready for it.
So, today I got a clean house and a 60-second theatrical performance to cap off my evening. I’ll take it.
Obama sure missed out. He should have seriously considered coming today. Maybe next time he will, IF there is a next time.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; second image by Amy Koons.