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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Signposts on the Road to Maturity

NewYearResolutionMaturity.  That elusive quality that evades scores of children and teens (not to mention millions of adults making merry on December 31st of each year).  We worked with our kids as they set educational, spiritual, physical, and mental/emotional goals for the new year, yet, none of their goals were any that we, as parents would have listed for them.  Their resolutions focused on the very lofty and ethereal, never mind that we requested specific and measurable.

“Those are beautiful,” I enthused, tweaking a few when they tended toward bringingpout about world peace, rather than making their beds each day.  “And now I have some for you.”

“These are not goals, per se, instead, these are signposts on the road to maturity.  Some of you have a goal of acting your age, and today, I’d like to talk about what it sounds like, looks like, and feels like to be mature.”

So far, so good.  My thoughts tended toward not eating like pigs, leaving schoolbooks and clothes behind at our last location, not throwing your dirty clothes in the corner, but in the hamper, and combing your hair on a daily, if not hourly basis.  And stop chewing your fingernails, if not toenails.  And stop irritating your siblings, if not your parents.  Speak quietly and positively.  Keep your hands off of your face.  And on and on, ad nauseum.

resolutions2But how to word these in an elecgant way?

“See, if we want to head to Florida, we’re not going to get on the highway to California, right?” I asked.

Naturally, they had never been on any highway to California, in their limited and luxurious lifestyle, they thought everyone hopped a plane to go across the street.  Prior to that, their earlier lifestyle in the orphanage or on the street meant the avoidance of all personal responsibility.  All the more reason to talk this out.

Here are five of the twenty that I tossed their way, in my need to act as Controller of the Universe.  What would you add?

1.         Keep my room clean without being asked (no hangers, clothes, or socks on the floor or thrown under the bed).  A FEW things on tabletops, clothes neatly folded or hung up in closets.  Bed made correctly each day.  Floor vacuumed once a week.

2.         Take responsibility for my clothes—t-shirts or turtlenecks, pants or skirts should not be worn over and over without washing them.  Same with socks, underwear, pantyhose, and bras.  I must put them in the wash, or else wash them myself in the sink every time I wear them.

3.         Stay on the morning schedule – 10 min/ 10 min/ 10 min. (10 minutes to morning-routineshower, 10 minutes to get dressed & make bed, 10 minutes to do hair) = 30 min. to get ready.  Have my clothes laid out the night before (including underwear, socks, shoes, etc.).

4.         At mealtimes, I choose to make pleasant conversation, thinking of two positive statements I can say to others (weather, things I’m looking forward to, etc.)  I will eat in a polite manner, not stuffing too much food into my mouth, not mashing my food with a fork or spoon, not playing with it.   I will not hold my cup over my nose for long periods of time, but take small sips of water.  I will use my knife to cut bite-sized pieces and not chew like a cow with big lumps sticking out in my cheeks.  I will bring the food up to my mouth and keep my elbows off of the table.  I will spread a napkin in my lap. This is not too hard for any polite person to remember.  I think of others and what they have to see in my example.

chore(1)5.         I will help where there is a need, whether or not I am asked.  When I see dog hair in piles around the edges of the floor, I will sweep it up.  When I see that the dogs need water, I will fill their bowls (rinse it out first).  If the trash is overflowing, I will replace it with a new bag.  If the dishes are finished being washed, I may carefully put them away.  I will wipe off the kitchen table without someone having to tell me.

The most surprising thing?  They all thanked me… and then pitched in to help!

Sometimes kids want to be mature, they simply need us to point the way.



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