Yesterday, my family had a discussion about potential. Strike that, yesterday I attempted to teach my kids about potential. Instead, I learned a lesson that I won’t soon forget. Never underestimate kids, they see things in different and unexpected ways. They have the unique perspective of innocence and open-mindedness that an adult can’t match.
This isn’t saying that everything that flows from their mouths in that constant river of sound consists of rubies and emeralds. It’s more like panning for gold. Most of the dirt and sand is just dirt and sand, but every once in a while there will be a nugget of truth and enlightenment.
You see, I’ve created a new responsibility chart that will hopefully help my little ones take a more active role in caring for themselves and their surroundings. There is a lot of work to do in this house and although I can do all of it, I don’t see why I shouldn’t share the load. They need to learn about the importance of work and the joy of having helped. I also reason that if they help more with the clean up they will possibly think before leaving little messes everywhere.
I introduced the chart by talking about the word potential and asking if they knew what it meant. My eight year old son replied with the definition for potential energy (he’s the family physicist) and talked about how things at the tops of hills and those with more mass had greater potential or they could do more.
I asked him if he knew what it meant for a person to have potential and it confused him. Why would we be rolling people down hills? He imagined that larger people would have greater potential energy than smaller ones. By this reasoning Grandpa has more potential than anyone in the family.
My daughter added that Jesus has more potential than anyone, even Grandpa. I’m still not sure how to reply to that one. Yes, He has done great things and will continue to do great things and for that he has extraordinary potential. I admire her for thinking of it. Now I’m hoping she didn’t think of Him because we were talking about things being higher having greater potential than things that were lower. He is in heaven, that would be considered really high up.
I did my best to teach them about how when people have potential they have within them the ability to do great things. By being better helpers and being more responsible with their time it would increase their potential and help them be even more awesome kids than they already are. While they aren’t thrilled about having daily chores, they aren’t putting up as big of a fight as they could have either.
As for you dear reader – remember that you too have great potential, especially if you are higher up, like at the top of a flight of stairs. Oh, and you have it in you to do great things as well!
Glad to see you are raising responsible, caring humans. Now, if everybody would do that…
No kidding, right? I’m still feeling guilty that I didn’t put in a greater effort earlier and made it a normal thing for them to help from the beginning.
Kids are always surprising and your post made me chuckle. You won’t realize how important the talk to your kids was until they are using a similar chart with their own families in the the future!
I can only hope – we are entering week two of using it and my son is catching on that earning stickers for stuff is pretty awesome. My daughter, however, is being as stubborn as ever. Not that I mind too much, it doesn’t hurt me when they choose not to. They don’t get to use their iPods or anything else with a screen until they do their lists!