I’ve been frustrated lately.
My children, particularly my son, have been having some measure of difficulty with completing ordinary household duties like taking out trash and vacuuming. Like many who will be reading this, I am not a big fan of repeating myself, yet I find myself doing it often of late.
All of this is normal, of course, as I do not know of any 10-12 year olds who do everything they are asked to do the moment they are asked to do it, and complete their every task without error as well as an adult would do it.
As I reflected on this further, though, I realized that my wife and I are, in part, the cause of their nonchalance. You see, my children have things that neither my wife nor I had when we were their age. Sure, times have changed, technology has increased, but that is not what I am talking about. What I’m talking about is the fact that my wife and I both grew up in single parent homes. My kids take things like having meals cooked for them and having laundry done for them for granted because they have two parents, because they do not have to pitch in to household causes in the same way that my wife and I did. My wife does not work outside the home. She works harder than any of the rest of us, but she does not work outside the home. Our family eats dinner together pretty much every night of the week. In our families of origin, however, this was not the case. It wasn’t their fault, but neither of our hard working and industrious mothers could provide the kind of environment to us that our children enjoy. That, in part, is their legacy (a key, but often overlooked, concept of leadership) to their grandchildren, but, as I reflected, it is also exactly what I wanted for my kids.
So yes, they don’t have the same kind of habits my wife and I had when we were young. They don’t have the same responsibilities, the same sense of ownership.
But our kids get to be kids, and that is our legacy to them.
It isn’t that they have no expectations placed upon them, nor that they have relaxed standards for the responsibilities they do have, but my frustration is of my own making. It represents progress. It represents blessing.
It represents legacy.