As parents, we get busy with our own responsibilities — typically work-related — and realize we must depend on our kids, the younger generation, to help out at times. You must “put them in charge” of something.
I was reminded of this two times yesterday. The first was when I was talking to my daughter in Texas. Their washing machine had broken down, which meant the repairman had to pay them a visit.
As it turned out, he said he could be at their home later in the afternoon. Of course, the adults were both at the office, and the older son was at baseball practice. This meant the younger son, Shep, would be in charge of waiting for the repairman and letting him in to see if he could get the washer running again. About 4:45 p.m., Shep called his mom to tell her the man had arrived.
He proudly said, “I showed him where our washing machine is and told him it had ‘started acting up’ last night.” This may seem like a small task in the big scheme of things, but it was an important step in subtly teaching responsibility. My young grandson appreciated being trusted enough to take care of this chore in the absence of his parents.
The second time I was reminded about the importance of putting a young person in charge was while watching a YouTube video featured in the e-newsletter. It opened with a young man named Randy sitting in the driver’s seat of a dump cart in the middle of a peanut field.
At the beginning of his narrative, he let viewers know his daddy was trusting him to run the dump cart that day while they were in the heat of peanut picking season. You could hear the pride in his voice. He said his older brother typically had this responsibility, but he was out for the day on personal business.
Randy was so excited about his new-found importance that he began offering advice about how to pick peanuts to his dad and the other workers via the two-way radio. Instead of ridiculing the suggestions, his dad calmly explained they wouldn’t work.
For example, when Randy asked his dad how fast he was running the picker, his father said, “I am running at 2.2 mph.” The young man came back with, “I have a buddy who says he runs 6 mph, so you might want to bump it up some.” His dad patiently replied, “Son, there is no way you can pick 3-ton peanuts at 6 mph.”
Randy considered what his father said and appeared to nod his head in agreement. It had been a teachable moment. As you go through planning season this winter, think of some jobs you can assign to the younger generation to help nurture their sense of responsibility.
Put them in charge and watch them grow.
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