Clearly not my servant

My son turned to me the other day, after I asked him to pick up his clothes, and informed me that he was not my servant. Clearly, this is true. Since sarcasm is not an appropriate response, I cock my head to the side and go over the course of an average day. He has to put his own clothes away after I wash, dry and fold them. He has to set the table while my husband and I alter between cooking and cleaning up the meal. He has to pick up the toys, books, and games he plays with. He has to make sure his lunch and snack (that I make) get into his backpack. He has to buckle his seatbelt while he is shuttled from baseball, birthday parties, play dates and other activities. He has to take off his own dirty clothes and put them in a laundry basket, not around a laundry basket. He has to make the bed that he sleeps in. He has to get himself dressed. He has to make sure his own toys are off the floor when I vacuum. Those are some of the things he has to do. There are additional tasks but that is the quick mental run-down.
To give credit where credit is due, he asks to help cook, helps his sister clear the table and volunteers to walk the dog in an attempt to sway his parents that there is a hamster in his future. (This is such a remote possibility to the point where I have asked him to just start thinking of the dog as a hamster.) He is kind and he gets along with his sister more frequently than not. That all said he is clearly not my servant.
With school coming to a close this is always a challenging time of year for our family. There is all the excitement as children transition from one grade to the next. Awards, accolades, field days and graduations meld together with slices of cake decorated with the seemingly same congratulatory words. Summer programs haven’t started and the kids are still riding that sugar high. Soon all will come to a crashing halt. Now is the time to be proactive and to establish the summer ground rules before I hear the words, “There is nothing to do.” Now is the time for a new routine, more responsibility and fulfilling part of this parent’s secret agenda of training my children to be my servant.

(published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise)

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