Raising Responsible Adults

First, I will tell you, that after an hour on a lawn mower, there isn’t a lot that hasn’t gone through your mind.  There is just something magical about the monotony of riding on a lawn mower that truly opens your mind and helps you to sort through thoughts you’ve been holding on to.

Or at least it does for me.

Last week, I had a scary moment with my oldest.  I was cleaning in the house, and she wanted to play outside.  My youngest, though, wanted to stay inside.  As per our house rules, I told my oldest she could stay outside, just so long as she stayed inside the fence.

She has strayed before, and has been disciplined for it, but I know it is never beyond her to follow her whims into the next yard.

After a little while of cleaning, I called Madeline to come inside to wash up for lunch.

She wasn’t there.

I looked on the front porch where she might be coloring with chalk.

She wasn’t there either.

I grabbed Clara and started wandering down the road yelling Madeline’s name.

(Sorry, neighbors.)

On my way back, I decided to knock on our next door neighbor’s door, only to find my 3-going-on-35-year-old-first born sitting on her couch.

Apparently Madeline had helped her bring in her groceries, then sat herself down to relax.

“My mom will come find me,” she told our neighbor.

Of course, upon hearing this I was very upset.  I have been trying to teach Madeline to obey the rules of the house, especially because they all truly have her and her sister’s safety in mind.  The fact that she would blatantly leave our yard without telling me, and sit herself in someone else’s house, was infuriating.

Seriously, how dare she?

It wasn’t until this week, having had many hours to think about it, that I considered Madeline was actually exhibiting some characteristics my husband and I have been working hard to show her.

First, we are teaching our girls to show initiative.  Do no wait to be asked to do something, but do it if you see the need.  This hardly ever happens in our house, but when it does, we go wild.

Serve and help others.  We often ask our kids to help us with tasks, just so they can get used to the idea of helping one another.  We do have Madeline help Clara sometimes, when Clara can tolerate her big sister’s help.

Although it can be frustrating at times, we are raising a very independent, strong, caring, initiative-taking young girl.  Our little Madeline will move mountains one day, I guarantee it.  But until then, she will at least have to live by our house rule.

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