And now, he feels sorry for #2. "I think he is bored. He never wants to do anything except throw a ball into the air over and over again, or sit in front of a book, the TV, or the computer."
I, on the other hand, do not feel sorry for #2 (nor any of the rest of them), because I am not his social director. He has various activities throughout the year that we get him involved in that I think he, and the other children can be referred to as very fortunate (dare I say spoiled?).
To help prove my point, I added the following:
- These kids are being raised with a strong, devout, faith-based belief system.
- These children have two parents who are married and who love each other. They see these parents work out any disagreements in a respectful way. We do not smoke. We are not drunks.
- These children have a nice home in which to live.
- These children have clothes to wear.
- These children know that they will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner not to mention snacks in between. They never have to hear their tummy gurgling or feel pain because of hunger. They even get to eat out a fair amount.
- These children are privileged enough to be able to attend a private school in which they are not only allowed to pray, but the faculty prays with them. They do not have to go to school fearing for their lives. Their teachers are not glorified babysitters. They do not have to ride Satan's minivan: the school bus.
- These children are involved in dance, music, sports, and social activities all outside of school.
There is not a "need" that is unmet. There are very few "wants" that they go without.
Then we discussed how he and I were at this age. Did we roll eyes, slump shoulders, sigh, etc. when we were asked to help? I specifically remember many times I would say to my sister, "Let's surprise mom and dad and clean the house." I remember vacuuming, dusting, changing sheets, and cleaning bathrooms. In fact, I remember that my dad's shower was a tiled walk-in shower. He was a smoker and when he would get out of the steamy shower, there would be nicotine "nipples" hanging from the ceiling in the shower. Gross, but true. (And if you ever lived with a smoker, you know what I am talking about.) I would have to get into the shower and scrub the walls, ceilings, marble built-in seat, and floor. Because I am mildly OCD (I don't check the lights a million times) I take pride in the job that I do and doing it correctly is its own reward. I mean, why do something if you aren't going to give it 100%? Of course, pleasing mom and dad was a perk.
King said his mother asked that they keep their room clean and they had a few rooms each that they were expected to vacuum. She never had to nag. Although he remembers grumbling about having to do chores a little. He agreed that pleasing parents and taking pride in the work was and still is part of his make-up.
So what is missing with our kids. Is it a generational thing? Do they have too much? Is "work ethic" genetically missing? Have King and I not done something right? Should they spend the summer in a third world country? Are we expecting too much possibly? Do we let our children continue to see that we love them all the time, or should we start withholding some of the affection and praise until they "have earned it?" Is "work ethic" something that comes with age/maturity?
I gotta tell ya, this is frustrating. I truly do not have any answers at this point. I would appreciate parents of older children to share their wisdom.