Archive for May 2010

Dirty dishes and roommates

May 28, 2010
I hate people who leave dirty dishes in the sink all day long, soaking. It's gross and disgusting. Teenagers can be difficult. positive ideas to deal with difficult teens.

Ugh. A dirty pan left in the sink all day.

I HATE finding dirty dishes left in the sink. I work from home so today I’ll be looking at this gross pan all day.

I guess Kristen, 22, forgot I wrote a book on how childhood chores cultivate capable confident young people and that I’ve retired as the family servant!

It’s ironic because Kristen lived with three slobs in her apartment during her senior year of college. Their kitchen and bathroom were disgusting. No one ever cleaned up their mess. When I saw the kitchen last week, it was pretty bad. Kristen said it was relatively clean compared to its usual condition.

Maybe I’ll leave her a copy of my book where she can see it. The note is a form of mutual respect. It’s better than nagging. It’s how I would treat a roommate.

why can't people clean up after themselves? I get tired of writing nice notes. TEenagers can learn to clean up and behave.

A note is a form of mutual respect. Did she forget I wrote a book on chores?


Motivate without money

May 26, 2010
This is thankless work, requiring high motivation. Daniel Pink has written a book called "Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us." Encouragement is really important, and he also identifies master, autonomy and purpose. I had to have all three to motivate me to do this thankless task.

I'm putting nets around Purple Loosestrife to grow beetles to kill other loosestrife.

I just read “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” by Daniel Pink. I was so impressed by the book that I included some of his ideas  in the next edition of my book, “Raising Able: How to retire as the family servant,” about how childhood chores are a valuable teaching tool.

Pink says money is the LEAST motivating factor, even though it is the most commonly offered reward to influence the behavior of others.

Mastery, autonomy and purpose are the strongest motivators of people and primates, according to research, Pink reported.

Researchers were astounded to find monkeys puzzling over puzzles long after the rewards were consumed — for the sheer challenge of figuring out the puzzles.

It’s the same with motivating children, spouses, employees, co-workers and friends and neighbors. People want to work for mastery, autonomy and purpose. When people are given the freedom [autonomy] to do a job right [mastery], they can connect to the purpose behind the task, according to Pink.

So it is with children, who also like to contribute to the family good because it proves their family depends on them, they are important and they belong.

You’re asking, “Why the loosestrife photo?” It was a thankless job with several complex steps to grow a crop of beetles on it [hence the nets] that will reproduce. In six weeks, I’ll deliver the next crop of beetles from under the nets to a waterway clogged with loosestrife and I’ll have done my part to eliminate this invasive species.

What motivated me? Mastery — it was complex; autonomy — no one was making me do it; and purpose — I’m helping the environment. Now I need a glass of iced tea and an hour in the hammock.

I felt like a toddler at the Bar Mitzvah

May 24, 2010
A family celebrates the bar mitzvah of their son. A Bar Mitzvah is an important step on the journey to manhood, how families reinforce values, religion and family, family values, passage to manhood,

The whole family takes part in the bar mitzvah celebration.

I had the honor of witnessing a young friend make his bar mitzvah on Saturday. I felt a bit like a toddler because I didn’t understand what was going on. When they were doing the Hebrew parts, they might as well have been speaking Greek or Hebrew. The only way I could follow the action was by observing body — which toddlers are expert at.

Toddlers can also clap. When I watched the cantor closely, I could clap on the right beats of the songs with clapping. It always amazes me at bar mitzvahs how the congregation knows all of the songs without looking at the words or the music. They just join in with gusto leaving me feeling like a toddler because I haven’t learned how to do it yet.

Clapping made me feel good and like I could participate on my level. Like a toddler, I felt the bar mitzvah went on for way too long and I was tired and hungry, and anxious for the party.

I love that Judaism has an initiation to adulthood for boys and girls to cross from childhood to adulthood, although the age should be moved up in today’s world to age 18. That’s about when young people take responsibility for themselves, unlike the olden days when 13 really was the precipice of adulthood.

On time – or not

May 21, 2010
Sometimes it's just hard to manage the activities of a busy family. Even the dinosaurs couldn't get it. Raising children is one of the most challenging tasks.

Here's to all of the moms and dads who try on stay on top of the family calendar.

When I was managing the lives of six people, I depended on a huge wall calendar with big blocks to track our comings-and-goings.

In theory, everyone had a colored marker to write on the calendar their activities.

In theory, hubby posted all of his business travel and dinners.
In theory, I looked at it every day, especially on Monday morning.
Many a Monday morning appointment slipped by this domestic guru in spite of our best efforts and family meetings.

Perfect is for diamonds, not parents

May 20, 2010

“Kathy says”

May 18, 2010
My sister Kathy cooking with one of her five grandchildren.
“This is fun, grammy! I love having my own apron, bowl and dough.”

Brianna, 2, is cooking with her Grandma,  my sister Kathy, who is 12 years older than me. Kathy taught me so much about raising children and living with them.     

 Kathy says the sure-cure for boredom is easy. When a child says, “I’m bored,”  it’s easy to solve their lack of creativity. Say, “The living room needs vacuuming.” or “Here’s a squirt bottle to clean the bathroom.” 

Because of this miraculous cure, my children learned to tap into their inner resources and solve their boredom by finding something that interested them, or feel the boredom for a while until they were motivated to take action. 

I was always willing to support their quests, while not taking the responsibility to entertain them.   

Kathy is the second oldest of my parents’ nine children and served as the assistant mother. I’m the eighth in the family.  When children are around Kathy instinctively knows how to include them. She is often willing to take the time to give them their own bowl of pie crust and apron. 

 Kathy was/is like my second mother. Every young mother needs someone like Kathy to turn to when facing myriad challenges of raising children. Kathy unabashedly loves Martha Stewart, and can cook, decorate, sew and garden as well as Martha, if not better. Kudos to mothers, sisters and grandmas like Kathy.

The importance of a mother’s acceptance

May 14, 2010