Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kids & Responsibility

A week or so ago, I took the kids shopping for some new fall clothes.  I know the temperatures can't stay over 100 degrees forever, and they will eventually need some long pants when that happens!  Being 9 and 7, Benjamin and Hannah are pretty much past the ages where I can go shopping for them, bring home what I buy, and expect that it will all fit and be approved.  As I'm sure you can imagine, the prospect of shopping and trying on untold numbers of clothes was not necessarily appealing to either one of them.  But I had some inspiration and a discovery along the way that made it much more bearable, even enjoyable, for them both!

When we arrived at the first store, there were not many people there at all, and the layout of the store is very wide open (read:  my 6' 1" frame could pretty much see over everything and be able to spot either of my children in half a second!).  Since I would be able to check on him as I shopped with Hannah, I sent Benjamin off to his section of the store to look for his particular size of pants (this was a resale/consignment store, so some searching was necessary).  That responsibility immediately put some life into him, and I could see his dread of the process melting away.  In just a few minutes, he was back with a few pairs of jeans in hand.  "Okay, now what can I look for?" he asked.  So I sent him off to find some long sleeved shirts in his size.  A few more minutes, and he was back, obviously very proud of his finds. 

It was now time for the dreaded dressing rooms.  But this particular store had one area of dressing rooms, rather than one area for girls and another for boys.  It was just a line-up of five separate stalls for trying on and chairs outside for a waiting area.  The kids asked if they could go into their dressing rooms by themselves, and I thought, why not.  That added even more life to them both because they suddenly felt very grown up.  They even wanted to do the dreaded task of putting the clothes BACK on the hangers after trying them on by themselves!  Again, they liked the responsibility and being trusted with the task.

Because I was willing to give up some of my control and my need to do everything my way, the process that was originally dreaded ended up being very pleasant for us all and resulted in my children doing some growing up in the process.

It's got me thinking...where else can I let go of some control and give them responsibility??