Teaching Children Responsibility

Six years ago, I borrowed a book from my daughters’ preschool. The book was called Teaching Your Children Responsibility. I don’t remember any advice from the book. All I know is that I never returned the book to the preschool lending library.

I have felt guilty about not returning that book for six years. I try to model responsibility and consistency. Sometimes I model guilt and blame.

For the mess in our apartment I like to blame my husband Chris and his Parkinson’s Disease and my children who have no good excuse. And of course I blame myself because I don’t discipline them enough and I would rather write before work and play tennis after work than clean and do laundry. I would rather go out to Happy Hour with my work peeps than make a family dinner. How often have I said, “Let’s order Chinese food again, kids”?

I may be irresponsible but I am happy. I may be guilty but I am keeping the Cottage, the best Chinese restaurant on the Upper West Side in business.

I may be messy, but I am creative. This is what I tell myself. In our country house there is a magnet on the fridge. It says, “A creative mind is seldom tidy.” So true.

This jibes with my Rule Number 5: Expect the best, love what you get. Even from yourself.

Someday I’ll return that library book. Until then, I’ll try loving myself.

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