Monday, May 14, 2012

A different kind of shut up

I have been observing the dynamics of both parental units of mine and my in-laws and I notice it is sort of a generation of women being men's mommies or at least buying into thinking they need  to remind the men to eat, go to the bathroom, or use their canes.   It just makes me wonder what would happen if the women stopped doing that?   I am certain the Grandpa's are aware of what they need in these departments. 

Then I take a looksie at my own young men and think about how I don't want to train them to need mommies but rather to know how to make decisions of their own, show respect, and not wait to be reminded to do things like make their beds, help clean up a table after a meal, get other people water or offer tea or.....whatever other polite nice things they can do for their neighbors.   Sons show some intuition in living and then the daughters to not treat men like the men are children.    They aren't.   There is of course nothing wrong either in a young lady (or old) to offer a man something to drink, to take their coat, ask if they want to see the newspaper etc.   

How to do this?   Well, at least for my part, I need to show them how by doing it myself.   I also watch and wait to give my kids a chance to figure out what needs to be done without micromanaging them.   The example that came to mind today was when I was at the grocery store with one of my teenage boys and I waited to see if he would help to unload the groceries and to help put them in the cart to be able to go to the car.   He almost passed the test, but what if I had stood there and said, "Please help unload the cart".   "Please take the groceries and put them in the van".    Instead I just took a few bags and put them in the van when we were done, got in the van and let  him figure out what next to do without a bunch of instructions.   Without any instructions really and......lo and behold the young man knew to put them in the van and put the cart away.   Amazing. 

Here ends my thoughts on when to shut up for this day.


  1. I like that example. As I was reading, I couldn't figure out how you teach a kid to do something without being told to do it. I've got loads of those situations that arise, but once you remind them to do it, you've undermined any chance of having them Take Responsibility for noticing it themselves. I still can't quite figure out how to deal with this.

    But your one example helps. The kid sees that something needs to be done. After all, you started loading the car. But then you quit. Ingenious! (Now I just have to figure out how to translate that mentality into our multitude of situations.)

  2. So interesting. My husband and I have just been having this discussion. I grew up on the extreme that my mother asked my father for NOTHING. When he saw a need and was home he jumped in and did it. I learned that it was not OK to ask for help, and that as the wife I was responsible for everything. If my husband could help he just would. If he didn't then I should just take care of it. My mom would have died before asking for anything from anybody. My husband grew up on the other extreme were his mother asked her boys and husband for EVERYTHING. She could be standing next to the sink getting dinner ready and ask someone to get her a glass of water. So Husband grew up never looking for any way to help because Mom would just ask. He's completely oblivious to anything that is not brought to his attention, and I grew up not learning how to ask. It took us almost 9 years to figure out were this tension in our marriage was coming from. Hopefully as we figure this out we can find some great middle ground to teach our kids.