Life 103

Friday, June 22, 2007

general guidelines

Summer is here. Routines are completely out of wack. People are eating, sleeping, coming, going, watching TV and playing computer games at weird times of the day and some of these activities have been exercised in excess this first week of summer vacation. So at dinner the other night we reviewed our household "guidelines" together as a family. This is pretty much what we can expect from each other...

¨If you mess it up, clean it up.
¨If you get it out, put it away.
¨If you were the last one to touch it, put it away.
¨If it’s dirty, wash it.
¨If you ate off it, put it in the dishwasher.
¨If the dishwasher is clean, empty it.
¨If it won't fit in the diswasher because it's full, run it. With soap.
¨If you look around and notice something needs to be done, do it.
¨If it’s yours, take it to your room.
¨If it’s not yours, ask before using it.
¨If you know you’re supposed to do something, do it by 3:00 and before going anywhere.
¨If you’ve been asked to do something else, do it by 3:00 and before going anywhere.
¨If know you're supposed to do something and you’re going to be gone, make arrangements for someone else to do it for you before leaving.
¨If you can’t get in touch of a parent, the answer is no.
¨If you have a bad attitude or are being hard to live with, don’t count on it.
¨If you need help, ask for it.

AW mows the grass (once around the homestead is 3 hours) and takes care of garbage detail every week. AJ does the laundry and cleans the bathrooms every week. They each cook dinner once a week - anything they want except dry cereal - and they have to be home for dinner at least 4 nights a week. Mom and dad reserve the right to delegate other duties (like hoe weeds in the garden) as needed. And yes, sometimes it will interfere with a very active social life.

Since dad still has to get up at 5:55 a.m. to trek across the living room to work, and nothing good ever happens after 11:00 p.m. anyway, the TV goes off at 10:00 and lights out at 11:00. That way everyone can rise and shine by at least 10:00 a.m., which is several hours after the working adults have engaged in their gainful employment so protests are not likely to be met with much sympathy.

Their strength, I believe, is in negotiation. A friend of mine said that when his kids were teens, "They'd have made GREAT lawers." It's true. Part of my job, as I see it, is to help them hone their skills so they can survive when I'm gone - to England after they move out, for example. And if I do say so far, so good.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I'm surrounded by the most incredible kids. Mostly I went to school with their parents. We stair-stepped our babies such that we'll be celebrating someone's graduation together for the next 6 years in a row. As the first ones graduate this year, I get to watch them seriously dating for the first time, leaving for the Marines, and making plans for college; after having wrecked their parent's cars and eaten them out of house and home. Our families have gone camping, swimming, bowling, bungee jumping (not me, I watched), hiking, biking, and boating together. We've eaten holiday meals together and always overstay at each other's homes. As their parents, we have compared notes sometimes into the wee hours of night, laughed long and hard, and occasionally cried together.

One graduate was his class president. He's been bigger than me for at least 6 years now. I taught the C.S. Lewis valedictorian how to sew. One has followed her heart to the third world and back twice. One is destined to change the way the world thinks. They are great kids, these friends of mine, and I couldn't be more proud.

Adam David Andres
Lindley Jo King
Jonathan Forrest Moreland
Lauren Elaine Snow
Jana L'Rae Watson

As the leaders of both today and tomorrow, I have no doubt that the world is in good hands.