Looking back at how my parents raised me, I realize how important the lessons of responsibility are to children.
I remember my father always reminding me to clean my room. He would make me take out the garbage, mow the lawn, help wash his car and clean the garage. He would offer to wash the dishes if I dried them and vice versa. No, it wasn’t a real offer, it was his way of telling me what I was going to do. He was, in his own way, giving me a small say in the matter.
My mother taught me how to separate the colors when washing clothes, how to iron and fold sheets. She taught me how to dust, polish furniture, how to set the table, how to sew on a button and how to keep our home looking spotless.
My father told me time and time again to stand up straight. He instructed me on how to shake a person’s hand as well as how to speak up with authority.
My mother was supportive. SHE was the one who bought my first set of drums from my cousin. She was the one who said I could make it as a musician. And I eventually did.
I know things are different at my ex-wife’s home, but there is very little I can do about that at this point in my life. All I know is what happens in my home. When our kids are with me, they know that one of their responsibilities is to set the table for the dinner that I cook for them that evening. They also help make the food with me. After we eat, they clear the table, sweep the floor, and wipe the table and counters. When they sleep over, they make their bed in the morning.
After school each day, my kids know they should never come in my apartment and drop everything to go and play. They must first hang up their coats and put their shoes in the right location. If they get a chance to play after their homework, they take out their toys and put them away where they got them after they are finished. They make sure their room is in the same condition that they found it.
I am starting to notice how my son gets up in the morning, usually before I do, and dresses himself. He is so proud. He also tells me to look in his room because he already made his own bed! My daughter makes it a priority to have her hair washed and styled before we have breakfast in the morning. She also sets the table before we all have breakfast.
While it’s not perfect, after many years as a single father, it seems like things are starting to get into a groove at daddy’s house. It can be rough on a single person to run a home as the only adult. I don’t recommend it at all. I still don’t see the attraction of the choice of single parenthood. Since I was forced into this life, I will make the best out of difficult situation.
I love the day-to-day aspects of raising children and think having a solid foundation like I had growing up helps. I feel it is important to pass on these values to our children.
I don’t know what other people do, but I feel it is important to teach responsibility to our children and to hold them accountable. It helps prepare them for life on their own.
Many of these lessons last a lifetime.