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Published on July 20, 2018

Kelly Thurman and family

Mom Talk: Dish Soap and Buttons Are Important, Too

By Kelly Thurman, Avera Writing Team

When I was 9 years old I was biking around the neighborhood on my own and dishes were my nightly task. I’m pretty sure I could scramble an egg if I needed to and I could fold clothes like nobody’s business. I was on my own figuring out if my homework was due or if it was library day.

My children? Not so much. They do chores but they have it pretty easy. If I ask them to fold the clothes I’m greeted with a litany of whining and excuses that you’ve all probably heard before. One of my favorites: “I have to do everythiiiing!!!!”

They’re 9 and 6 years old, so I’m not too worried at this point. But I recently read an article about how we’re not teaching our kids life skills anymore. Some of these are important things like managing a budget and having a conversation. Others were simple daily tasks: how to scramble an egg, check the tire pressure on your car or sew on a button.

In fact, there’s even an Adulting School to teach some of these forgotten tasks. They’ve hosted happy hour events on how to make a good cocktail or fold a fitted sheet. One was simply about how to talk to people.

It got me thinking about how badly I’m failing my kids in this area. On a scale of one to 10 I’m probably a solid five. The problem is, I’ve never told my kids how to do some of this stuff. 

The other day I had my 9-year-old son do the dishes and he dumped so much dish soap into the water it turned green. We have some learning to do.

So, I’m upping my game, ladies and gentlemen. 

I’ve stopped putting their clothes away. This is serious business.

Sure, I want them to be able to do long division, but they also need to learn how to scrub a toilet. It would be nice if they knew how to do laundry, too.

I’m trying to think of things they can do around the house that I just do for them because it’s easier and there’s less whining. One is putting away their own clothes.

Another new task this past year? They make their own school lunches. I monitor to make sure they have water and their lunch bag isn’t filled with granola bars and gummy bears. The rest is up to them.

Besides rotating them in as dishwashers, I’ve also asked my 9-year-old to do more in the kitchen — with supervision of course. He can wash and cut veggies with me and help measure and mix. Hey, that’s good for his math skills, too!  

Recently, I even took him downstairs with me and showed him how to work the dryer. I’m working my way up to the washer. Given the dish-soap incident he still has to figure out the proper soap-to-water ratio.

These are little things in the grand scale of creating responsible, independent adults. Budgeting and conversation skills are still on my list, too. 

A friend and I were recently talking about how much easier it is to just do it ourselves. But that doesn’t seem to be doing them any favors. In the end, I simply have to do more teaching instead of just doing.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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