Thursday, February 2, 2017

Packing Lunch and Taking Responsibility

Recently, Evelyn asked to bring her lunch instead of buying lunch at school, which she's done all year so far.

Frankly, her buying lunch at school is more convenient for me and Greg since we don't have to worry about her packing and bring her lunch each day. We're not opposed to her bringing her lunch, however, so we bought her groceries to make sandwiches for lunch while setting the expectation with her that she would be responsible for packing her own lunch.

On Packing Lunch and Taking Responsibility | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

To me, this is a task that a 5-year-old is fully capable of doing, and so it was a reasonable expectation on our part that she be responsible for making and bringing her own lunch.

I'm a believer in holding kids responsible for their age-appropriate assigned chores/tasks - and generally, their actions - while they're young, because the consequences of them failing to take responsibility now are far less than 10, 20, 30, or however many years from now. I did, however, comment to Greg that I think I set a bad precendent the very first day that she brought her lunch because she ran out of time to make her lunch the night before and I - out of the goodness of my heart - made it for her that first day, even though I explictly told her that I made it the first day since I was being nice.

One morning last week, I went in to wake Evelyn up so that she could get ready for school, which made me feel a little bad inside, but is ultimately one of the many things in our day-to-day lives that tests my resolve as a parent (in a do-I-stand-my-ground-or-do-I-let-her-walk-all-over-me kind of way).

Evelyn's words in block quotes, my thoughts in italics:

Did you make my lunch?


I told you to make my lunch!

Oh no you di'int just give me attitude while telling me that you told me to make your lunch. Because not only do I not appreciate the attitude, you did NOT tell me to make your lunch. And even if you did, YOU are the one responsible for making your lunch, not me. (Reinforcing that she's the one responsible for making her lunch is the expectation that was communicated out loud to her that morning).

Daddy told me to read!

Yes, it is true that Daddy told her to go do her daily ready after she'd already started to make her lunch. That doesn't, however, absolve her of lunch-making responsibility, especially considering that she engaged in at least 10-15 minutes of playing Hide-and-Seek right before bed (which I pointed out to her), time that could have been spent making lunch if she hadn't forgotten, which I think is what actually happened.

I can't reach it!

She was referring to the meat and cheese in the fridge. I challenged this when we were talking that morning because in the past, when she's wanted something bad enough that was out of her reach, I have seen her scoot a stool over to the fridge, cabinet, or pantry in order to reach what she wanted. I know she can problem solve, so to me, this wasn't an issue of "I can't," this was an issue of "I forgot to".

I also pointed out to her that while her alarm went off at 6:25 am, she was still laying in bed as of 6:55 am, and in that 30 minutes that she chose to lay in bed, she could've packed her lunch.

What I believe happened is that she realized she forgot to finish packing her lunch and was unhappy about that, so she tried to shift the blame off of herself. I get that to some extent. It's human nature to feel that way and I certainly have done that to Greg in the past (although, I would argue that I've mellowed out some over the years in that respect).

In any case, she did speedily get ready this morning, finished packing her lunch in short order, and also left the house in a better mood than when I first woke her up, but I'm glad I didn't give in because for a split-second when she was giving me 'tude, I wanted to tell her I'd do it for her, and that doesn't do anybody any favors in the long run.

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