In an effort to undo approximately 12 years of all but ruining my children in the area of personal responsibility, I have recently launched Operation Grow Up. Don’t tell them. They don’t know about it yet. They think I’ve just turned into an evil witch determined to destroy their lives.
Okay, in all seriousness, my 16 and 13 year olds might be a teeny-tiny bit behind what some would advise for personal motivation and self-discipline. If there is one thing I am not going to release onto the world it’s people who can’t take care of themselves in a pinch. So, this summer we are going to work a little extra on some life-skills development. I’m already equal parts looking forward to it and dreading the ever-living shit out of it. I’m looking forward to imparting my vast wisdom of how to actually survive at life, and I am loathing the idea of how much push-back and whining is about to ensue. I’m sure some of the activities are going to be borderline fun for one of them, but I’m positive the fun isn’t going to last more than 5 minutes.
Here’s some things I’m planning to work on:
For the 16 (who plans to get a summer job, but at the very least will be babysitting for cash)
- Apply and interview for jobs
- Open and manage a checking account (yikes. I’m most scared of this one.)
- Develop a personal budget and *fingers crossed* actually follow it
- Learn to change a tire and other car/driver related things that I’m still working on
- Email etiquette – practiced by taking over communication with college contacts!
For the 13 (who, up to this point, hardly cleans his room and unloads the dishwasher with any regular success. ugh.)
- Learn to do laundry and begin doing his own from now till forever
- Basic money management
- Basic cleaning skills- things like strip, wash and replace sheets. sweep and mop (thoroughly!) and similar tasks.
- Purchase gas and fill the car tank
- Wash and clean cars – inside and out
Tasks to work on together (read also: learning better teamwork with people who think differently than you)
- Meal planning, budgeting and shopping. I’m thinking Elle will be the boss and supervise Jordan, but I’m also wanting him to plan and execute a week of lunches and her a week of dinner.
- Basic table and social etiquette
- If we survive this, I will think of other similar tasks. 🙂
This might seem small and silly to some, but this will probably take all of my mental energy for the summer, ha! I just need these kids to realize a few things:
- The things that magically happen in their world on a daily basis while they’re at school or at play aren’t done by magical fairies. It’s hard and thankless work, and it requires sacrifice.
- Accomplishing those things also provides a great deal of personal satisfaction and pride in your work ethic if you do them well.
Cross your fingers for us. It might be a bumpy ride this summer.