• Many Hands Make Light Work {Gypsy Magpie}

    Many Hands Make Light Work, and Fun

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    Have you met my Mother-in-law?

    If not, you are missing out! She is a top notch mother. I don’t think I have ever known another woman who was as supportive to her children as Manly’s mother is. The woman went to every single game that every single one of her children played in from pee wee all the way through high school, college, and beyond. She even found her way to Germany to watch my cute brother-in-law play on his European basketball team. Amazing.

    Many Hands Make Light Work {Gypsy Magpie}
    Mom Mag loves her children, and her kids are GREAT people, so you know she did a fantastic job raising them! {And, yes, I’m sure that having a Saint for a husband helped!} Her kids are some of my very favorite people in the entire world. They aren’t my brothers and sister-in-law, they are my brothers and sister. I love them beyond words. They are rad. Rad, I tell you!

    Anyway back to the point, a couple years after Manly and I got married, we were at his parent’s house for dinner. As soon as the meal was over, everyone got up and plopped down in front of the game leaving Mom to do all the dishes. It made me straight ticked! Here she had gone to all that work to cook all that food, and everybody left her with all the work of cleaning it up. I don’t think they meant to, I really don’t, {Remember how Rad these guys are?} I think it was just sort of habit. I remember sitting down and talking to her about it, and she said that she loved them and it was just easier not to try and fight it, that she’d just hurry and do it herself. I remember feeling hurt inside for her. And then, in sheer stupidity, I vowed out loud that this would NEVER happen in my home.

    Flash forward a few children…

    Last month, after I had made a big dinner, I watched with tears in my eyes as my family got up from the table and ran off to watch a movie together, leaving me to clean up. That conversation with my Mother-in-law at the kitchen counter all those years before flashed before my eyes like a vivid motion picture. Never say never folks!

    For the first time, I truly understood what she had said.

    All these years I had done all the work, because I “love them… and it was just easier” just like she had said. I spent the rest of the evening in deep thought. What do I do? How do I teach my children to help? I have good kids. The best! {How could they not be, they have RAD in their veins!} But, how do I teach this?

    The next day I searched through my little scratch pad I take with me to classes and church lessons and found the name of a book that my friend, Lynette S., had recommended one time in a parenting class she taught. Lynette is my old neighbor and has 5 children. She loves to learn. I have really admired the fact that she attends workshops, reads, and studies and I have called her several times out of the blue to ask her for advice. {She probably doesn’t know, but she helped me make it through my son’s 4th year, which is nothing short of a miracle!} I knew that if Lynette recommended it, that this book had to be pretty good. Next thing I knew, I found myself in the book section of Amazon.

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    Now back to the post…

    The Parenting Breakthrough by Merrilee Browne Boyack

    via Amazon

    In her book, The Parenting Breakthrough, Merrilee Browne Boyack says that “Our job is to teach our children so that they, too, are equipped to go forth and serve…”

    That really hit me!

    “Go forth and serve!” That is what I want! I want my munchkins to grow up to be incredible husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, friends, and just all around good people! I want them to be prepared with life skills when they go to college, get married, and start families of their own. I want them to know how to make themselves dinner instead of living on peanut butter and pop tarts in their freshman year. I want them to know how to get barf stains off their new shirt after they’ve had their first baby. I want them to work with their sweetheart after dinner so they can ALL enjoy a movie TOGETHER!

    But, how in the world are they going to learn those skills unless I teach them?

    In the book there is a quote by Elder Neal A. Maxwell that says, “Those who do too much FOR their children will soon find they can do nothing WITH their children. So many children have been so much done FOR they are almost DONE IN.”  “Man of Christ” Ensign, May 1975 

    Yep, that hit home, too. I don’t necessarily WANT to do everything. But, in reality, like Mom Mag said, it’s just faster and easier to do it myself! Add to that, my love language is “Acts of Service” and yep, I’m screwed. I show my family I love them by doing things for them. But, do they feel it? Does me doing all the work for them really make them feel my love?

    If you are wondering what the heck a love language is, then click HERE, take the survey and find out! It is seriously one of the most helpful things Manly and I ever learned about each other, because seriously, we speak completely different languages!

    So, at this point in the book I’m wondering what I’m supposed to do to change what I am doing. That’s when I found the most amazing list in Chapter 3!

    Chapter 3 is “The Plan” and it spells it all out for you, which if you are like me, spell slowly please! Mrs. Boyack lists ages and then chores that children of those ages are capable of doing. For example: A 3 year old can dress self, use toilet independently, begin to brush teeth, pick up toys, say prayers, and clean glass tables. She goes from ages 3 all the way up to 18. I have to be honest, as I read that list, I was a little embarrassed that my kids didn’t know how to do half the stuff that they should know!

    It really got me thinking. I have some serious work to do. There are chores to be done and children that need to be trained to do them! I think the hardest thing is going to be slowing down and allowing them to do it, instead of me just whipping through it mindlessly. But, someday, when they are old and married it will all pay off, right? A family who works together, that’s what I want to create! It’s not going to be easy, and finding the fun is going to be a big job, but as the old saying goes…

    “Many hands make light work.”

    P.S. Mom, if you are reading this, I am SO sorry that I judged you. Please forgive me. I get it now. And, thanks for being patient with your daughter-in-law all those years ago. I love you to the sun and stars.

    *What do you do to help your family work together?*


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  • HK
    13 February 2012

    LOVE that book! My kids hate it when I pull it out. I need to get back on track and start again this summer.

  • Krista Neil
    9 March 2012

    Hmmmm…might have to get that book! You and I are a lot alike in this area :0) K I love this “new” blog girl!