Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Responsibility....What It Looks Like

He stands tall on a stool over a sink of dishes waiting to be washed. Water drips down his arms as he scrubs away at a bowl that had held the morning's oatmeal. The drips fall to the floor. All seven of his years showing as he maturely finishes the job at hand.

The girls work together, somewhat smoothly, folding laundry and delivering to the appropriate homes within the drawers of each family member. The floor of the laundry room is, at least for the moment, free of grass and other debris. I didn't do it....she did.....my oldest.

Another son asks if he can begin his schoolwork early today. He has each day this week. Well, that is partly because his mother fired him, or at least temporarily laid him off. In an attempt to teach personal responsibility to our children, we have assigned a chore list to each for every week. Along with that comes enough training to ensure that each participant is able to meet the demands of those tasks with confidence.

Unfortunately, like we all do at times, my son had a bad week of personal responsibility last week. While some of his chores were done, many were not, and the attitude left something to be desired. As any manager must, I was forced to look at the people I had placed in each position. Each was slated to received a small amount of pay for jobs well done at the end of the week, and, with the current economy being considered, I had to unload the most unproductive of the team.

Now this is not an easy thing to do. You may think it is a hard woman who can do take away a son's sole source of income (and, no, I do not pay unemployment), but what else could I do?

After receiving the news, my son retreated to his room (presumably, to carefully consider the lesson to be learned). When I looked in to check on him, my husband sat on the edge of his bed, and they talked. While I did not hear everything, I was touched by what I did. They talked of choices. Of being the place where the "buck stops". I heard my husband share his heart....a father struggling to mold his son into a man and steer him away from the mistakes of his own.

We are each faced with our own responsibilities every day of our lives. Some we meet with courage and yes, a good dose of personal responsibility. Other times we would rather bury our heads beneath the pillow and forget what must be done. Whether there is a time clock in our lives or not, there is always a choice to do what is right or to do what is easy.

It is this that we want to prepare our children for. If they learn nothing else from us, may they learn to take responsibility for themselves. To be men and women who can stand tall, knowing they have done what is required. That they would learn how to be stewards of the lives they have been given. In the process of training my children I am challenged to do a better job myself. As I see pride in their own work increase, I am encouraged to do the same. I dare not allow my own weaknesses to be the stumbling blocks in the lives of those I love so much.

My son is looking forward to next week when he is eligible to be rehired for a position within this "family-owned business". No doubt, there will be more days of shirked responsibilities, but hopefully lessons will be learned that will continue through life.

"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (I. Cor. 4:2)

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach other also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (II Tim. 2:1-3)

While the dishpan may be a lowly learning ground, may it yield "faithful men" who will be worthy to carry on the work of the Lord in whatever capacity they are led.

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