Kevin isn’t often privy to the lunacy that is our morning routine. In my imagination he’s sipping coffee while chuckling to morning talk radio, or perhaps enjoying a beautiful sunrise to the soundtrack of Yanni on his way to work. He’s also wearing an ascot and a Hugh Hefner style robe on this imagined commute. I have a very fruitful imagination. Thinking about this in direct juxtaposition to my morning routine of children screaming and fighting over whose bowl of cereal is more full, and whether or not someone is giving them the side eye, immediately followed by shock and awe that, AGAIN, I’m asking them to do their school work. It’s a daily battle to keep the green eyed jealousy monster at bay.
Kevin is working from home this morning as he prepares to catch an afternoon train to NYC to visit his brother, so he got a little taste of what school can look like some mornings. Specifically this morning, Logan’s battle to manage his 8 lines of copy-work… Something that could/should take 15-20 minutes to complete is currently in its 3rd hour. Roughly 45 minutes in, Kevin made the comment that we should enroll them for military school. This brought the immediate follow-up question from Cub, obviously, asking what Military school was.
My response, “You know how sometimes you guys complain about not wanting to do your work? If you were in military school this is how your instructor might respond: (Then I got nose to nose with him, and in my best drill sergeant voice said the following) I don’t care what you want. You will do this and you will do this NOW. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME BOY?” He laughed. It was pretty funny. Which I followed up by saying, “If you laughed at your drill sergeant, you would likely be running 3 miles in addition to doing the work which was already required of you.” That pulled him up a little short. We went on to explain (for the gazillionth time) about how they are advantaged to their peers in school in being able to knock their work out early and enjoy the freedom to play, then everyone went back to work…. (for five minutes, until the next distraction).
You guys…. I got drunk with power in that moment. I went to start cleaning up the dishes and couldn’t believe how good it felt, even just in joking, to feel authoritative again. I get that its not realistic to deal in drill sergeant mode at all times. The therapy my kids would need would be astronomical. However, it did make me wonder if I had gotten a little too soft in some areas. I think going soft is a natural byproduct of our culture. We have to tip toe around everything lest someone get offended, and we have the expectation of turning out perfect children before they’re two so as not to disrupt someone’s perceived entitlement to experiencing life on their terms. This spills over into our relationships with our kids, trying not to offend their sense of self, and teaching them to embrace who they are. Which is all fine and good, but I think the line is getting blurred that sometimes the blunt expectation of obedience without all the hand holding, coddling, and explaining, is very much needed.
One of my favorite author’s, Jen Hatmaker, says it like this, “We’ve got to stop turning our kids into precious snowflakes that are going to melt on a warm day.” Sure they’re unique, and one of a kind, and we can celebrate that all day long, but they’ve gotta toughen up a bit within the safety and loving counsel of their parents, before we turn them out into a world that is either going to EAT. THEM. ALIVE. or they will collectively be so UTTERLY incapable of responsibility that society as we know it implodes….. Which seems dangerously close to happening.
So come a little closer my little chickadee’s, consider yourselves on notice. These extended conversations and explanations about WHY everything under the sun is happening to you are going to be happening a little more infrequently. We’ll take it on a case by case basis for sure, just know mama got a little taste of what life could look like in a world where I only had to say something once…. and mama likes! So lace up your running shoes, or grab your favorite pair of workman’s gloves cause I’m ready and willing to assist in developing your precious ears to hear me the first time, and all this whining, ‘but why’ business is coming to an end :). I love you too much to let life eat you for lunch!