In my 40-plus years of working with parents and children of all ages, it has never ceased to amaze me that some parents could never grasp the idea that their children would be adults some day, probably get married, and/or have an apartment or home of their own. When that would happen years off in the future, there were a few questions that would need to be answered: Who’s going to do the dishes? Cook the roast? Run the sweeper? Good old Mom or Dad? What if Junior or Honey lives on the other side of the globe?
Learning domestic skills does not come to a child-turned-adult by some fairy waving her magic housekeeping wand over his/her head, and VOILA! Child-turned-adult knows exactly what to do to “run a household.”
Numerous times I’ve been invited to homes where the mother (often the dad too) was sweating up a storm cooking the meal, setting the table, feeding the dog, and trying to hold a decent conversation with me while the teenage son or daughter sat in front of the TV with his/her feet up on the sofa.
The teen came to the table only when the mother (or dad) had everything served. When the meal was finished, so was the teen, and off he/she went again to do his/her own thing.
Thank goodness, this scenario didn’t happen all the time, but it happened enough for me to scratch my disciplined head and wonder, “What is that parent thinking?”
Many a marriage falls apart because either or both partners haven’t a clue how to cook, control their finances, use an iron, or cut the grass. Changing diapers? Are you kidding?
My challenge to any parent is to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old, he’ll not depart from it.”
That verse from the book of Proverbs hints to not only spiritual guidance for the child but also training for life, as well, that will help him/her cope with the pressures of adulthood and marriage.
Marriage is a team effort; but if one partner spends all his/her time in front of the TV with his/her feet up, conflict is right around the corner that could lead to further problems and even divorce.
So, parents, start early. Junior and Honey are not too young to learn the ropes around the house, even at the age of five or six. They can pick up their toys or take out the garbage, or, here’s a thought, they can feed their dog!
Help your child be successful years before he/she ever steps over the threshold of his/her own home. He/she will be eternally grateful and will come back to thank you again and again.