Children just don’t know how good they have it. I know I sure didn’t when I was a kid. My children aren’t convinced they have it good because, brace yourselves for this cruelty, they are expected to do some learning (aka: school) and help with their community (aka: chores). Actually, I can’t complain, they are great about those things at least most of the time. According to my children, their friends don’t have to lift a finger. According to my children, the parents of their friends do their laundry, all the house cleaning, all the dishes, and all the boring errands alone. I don’t believe this is true but if it is, oh well. But even with the slave driving they face from us (aka: intrinsic motivation response when we ask for help), I get the impression our children simply don’t appreciate their life style opportunities.
AKA: I’m freaking jealous of my kids.
Why, you may ask? It’s not their incredibly good looks, their limitless energy, the younger ones’ mid day naps (ok, I’m insanely jealous right there but at least sometimes I have to “help” them nap), their beautiful skin, their talent (hey, they got it from somewhere), or even that they are smarter than me. These things don’t make me (too) jealous, nope. I enjoy these things about them.
What makes me green with jealousy, drives me crazy like nails on a chalk board, and evokes internal turmoil on the scale of a 20 month old’s temper tantrum is something I should be celebrating and excited about. Certainly not complaining. Which I’m not. I’m just jealous.
They get to read! Like whole books! Chapters of whole books in one sitting, finishing books in days. I’m happy if I finish a book AT ALL. Ever. It’s not just the working and the cleaning and the cooking and the cuddling. Those are certainly contributing factors and severely limit opportunities to read. The biggest problem? My attention span. Distractions abound but even without them, staying focused has been a challenge. Because as soon as I start reading I struggle to push down all those other things demanding my attention. Or, more likely, when I sit down to “read” I mean “hold a book while I nod off.”
But I want to read because I love to read. I want to read because I want my children to see me reading. I want to read because my mind and my heart expand with reading. So I try. While I’m trying to read, my kids are succeeding at reading.
I’m really not complaining, I’m just jealous.
By the way, I believe reading is important and I want my kids to be avid readers. I also believe knowing how to do laundry, cook, do dishes, clean a toilet, etc. are important as well. Investing in these areas in my children is part of how we invest in their future. Our future. Society’s future. I hope other parents see the importance as well.
In other words: parents, please expect your children to help around the house. And find some time to read.
I’m going to go do some dishes now.