6:56 PM

Self sufficiency

One of the perks of being a parent is the ability (responsibility even) to mold your small troll into your own little creation, instilling in them all of the values that will put them on the path to success in life. While this daunting task can be overwhelming, as it can be met with great resistance if not properly disguised, it also carries with it the possibility for great pride. Pride in that you are doing the best for your little monster, ensuring that your offspring do not end up living in a van by the river, contributing to all that ills society.

One of the values that is of the utmost importance is independence and self-sufficiency. Being a college instructor, I have first hand data on the dangers of raising your child to rely on others for their needs. It is almost a sense of apathy...a helplessness that is far too annoying for me to bear. The deer-in-headlights look is NOT attractive, and nobody got very far in life waiting for someone else hold their hand and help them overcome life's inevitable challenges. So, I decided that my kiddos can be the pioneers of their generation, but only if they learn to help themselves.

My dear Emily has taken to these lessons fairly well, although I would by lying if I said she did not go through momentary bouts of "Princess syndrome", which is the most dangerous of all ailments that can affect our young girls. Furthermore, this syndrome has no vaccine, and once it strikes for a prolonged period with no intervention, it may just become permanent, plagueing the afflicted for the rest of their pitiful lives. I will save this rant for another entry, but one of the symptoms of this dangerous disorder is that you treat all of those surrounding you as servants, ordering them around and threatening tantrums (or worse yet, whining) if they do not comply with your demands. In an effort to avoid this disorder, it has been my goal to steer my dear girl towards self-sufficiency.

Her latest accomplishment on this front is learning to cook. Now, she has always been helpful in the kitchen: measuring ingredients, stirring, licking spoons, but today we took this to another level. Check out my little Rachael Ray making eggs all by herself:



And then enjoying the spoils of this effort, in sandwich form, on a bagel she also toasted herself:




Now, while this is a success story, I must caution you: this self-sufficiency does have some drawbacks, as illustrated by my next story.
I was playing with the kiddos in the living room, when Ethan wandered off into the kitchen. Such occurances are not rare, but when he refused to answer me after calling to him a number of times, off I went to investigate. This is what I find:


At just about this point, I hear Emily's hysterical laughter from the living room. Why all the laughter?

Now that is a kid with fearless independence. Look how proud he is of his accomplishment. He plowed through all the obstacles in his path: the difficult to open produce drawer, the saran wrap, the sticky juice spilling on the floor. All of these obstacles may have deterred a child. One may have thought, "You know...this is just too much trouble. I will just stand here and wait until somebody helps me." Not my boy, he knows what he wants, and is not afraid to go for it.
Now, filled with pride, I am off to purchase a steam cleaner.

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