I have this ongoing thing with Holly about learning independence. When we talk about money, jobs around the house, future work, school work etc. she thinks long and hard and places her hand on my shoulder. She then reassures me that when she is an adult she will definitely take all this stuff seriously. She then walks away. It’s hilarious as she really believes that is how life works.
Holly thinks she has these golden years or work being an ‘opt in or out’ situation and that fundamentally there are staff (parents/adults/teachers) who will do the mop up work of making sure that no wheels fall off and that a warm bed and dinner are served up at the correct time of day. It makes me laugh because she thinks that I have opted in to this kind of life but if I wish could opt out at any time as well and just like for her, the laundry would be folded and the bills would be paid. So when she says that she will be like me when she grows up I guess I should take it as a compliment as she assumed I have made an interesting life style choice.
Having grown up in a family where you might be expected to do certain things around the house, when it comes to adulthood you increase the chances of experiencing a ready transition into looking after yourself. I know that this is not the case for everyone as I remember a friend calling mum from university asking how to cook a lettuce. For kids in care though I wonder whether there is another dimension? Is it the case that the benefit system has provided a ground where if you don’t bother, actually things get done anyway? I don’t wish to get political however I do find Holly’s response to mucking in interesting. If she has grown up where people swarm when you don’t work what else could you deduce as a child?
Certainly a work ethic is not only an issue for kids in care as I can testify of my 10 year old however it must be even more difficult to be plugged into a new family who don’t talk about work as an option but rather a necessity for life and health. As with many things in this life it is a slow burn and I don’t think the worm will turn until she stands in her first flat and understands how to iron, cook and clean and realises that she has been practising for years.
How do you instigate a work ethic in your home? Do you provide reward or make it an expectation or maybe you just try to make life as easy as possible for your children as they have been through so much. It would be really interesting to hear from you!