I came across this great quote earlier today:
“If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” – Abigail Van Buren
I love this quote because it’s what Montessori teaches (from your preschool years there) and what I have believed and done since you were little. Most of the classic books on self-esteem also advise this in some form or another in order to build self-esteem. I’m not taking the “keep your feet on the ground” as a call not to dream big or believe everything is possible (because of course you know I advocate both!), but rather, in today’s world, not becoming ‘soft’ or entitled or helpless.
I’ve read somewhere, in more than one book, that you shouldn’t do anything for your children that they can do for themselves. Of course, this too shouldn’t be taken as an absolute.
Sometimes it’s nice to do things for one another, but for the most part, whether it’s packing your own lunches, doing your own homework (this seems obvious but you can’t believe how many parents help there children with home work these days!!!), picking out your own clothes when you’re little, cooking dinner for the family when you’re older, or countless more examples, I’ve found that you love the responsibility, if not always the task!
It has, in all of your cases, built your self-esteem. Whether it’s Alex making her own breakfast and packing her own lunch in Kindergarden, or doing ‘big girl’ chores like here sisters, or picking out all of her own outfits (no matter what they look like!); or Kaitlyn starting a babysitting and animal sitting business or making phone calls to cancel all of the catalogues we receive or taking care of her hamster; or Kelsey undertaking more chores than anyone, creating new meal ideas or now babysitting too; or Sydney making her own breakfast every morning or reading to her sister and doing her own laundry (not your favorite ‘responsibility’!) – taking responsibility and being responsible has been great for you all!
Taking care of a garden is a great way for children to take responsibility!
Being responsible & taking responsibility is good for you are part of creating your best lives, in so many ways. Here are just a few: Taking responsibility for your thoughts, your words, your actions, your habits, your character – for creating your best life. Taking responsibility and being responsible for yourself, your things and your choices.
The more responsible you are, the more responsibility you get. That will be particularly helpful when you’re teenagers and want to borrow the car, or stay out late, or countless other things. If I know you are responsible and take responsibility (so much more on that later!) then you’ll get more privileges.
As always, there is so much more to say, but it’s time to pick everyone up from school!
“I am taking responsibility for my thoughts, my words, my actions, my habits, my character; for creating my best life.
I am responsible for myself, my things and my choices.
I am taking responsibility & being responsible!”
Note: I wrote this for my girls several years back but make sure to check out the ‘update’ below!
p.s. UPDATE: Kaitlyn, you are now driving!! What I said many years ago now has come to pass and because you are so responsible for yourself and for your things, you’ve gotten the privilege to drive. I can also say, with certainty, that teaching all of you all of the life skills that I have and your learning to be capable and independent has increased your self-esteem and self-confidence by huge amounts AND it’s made you all more grateful and appreciative!!
p.p.s. Dear Girls are best life lessons, character development, gratitude and happiness lessons I’ve been teaching to my girls/children for the past 16+ years. I have included them here for my children to have as well as to inspire, motivate and empower you and your children. They’re from my heart and sent with love!
You’ll also see that they are from different time periods. I include them when I find them! I’ve been keeping journals since before they were born and this is where “Dear Girls” reside.
They’re also insight into my now 17+ years of parenting. If you’re a young parent or new parent, my thoughts from that time are here. If you’re a parent of older children, my thoughts are here too!