Make Them Do It

     Last night I was reading a forum about whether or not a parent should force their child to go canoe camping with them.  At first thought I was wishy-washy without a concrete answer but this morning the answer is clear in my mind.  Make them do it.

     Of course there are always going to be exceptions to this rule but for the most part I think if a parent wants their child to go on a Boundary Waters Canoe trip with them then make them come along.  I find myself making tons of decisions each day and many of them revolve around my children and their wants and needs.  That’s what you do as a parent, right?

     As a parent you also make your kids do alot of things they don’t want to do.  For instance, cleaning their room, brushing their teeth, doing their homework are all things most kids don’t really want to do but they still need to do them.  Mine don’t want to do the dishes, sweep the floor or take the garbage out either but I would be failing as a parent if I just said, "Ok, you don’t have to, I’ll do it." 

     Today both kids are going to the North House Folk School for a project.  I have tons of things to do today and I want to go cross-country skiing all before we leave town at 3pm to head to Duluth for Josh’s hockey game.  At breakfast Josh asked if I was going to come to the North House with his class.  I was a little surprised and asked if he really wanted me to come and he said, "Yes." 

     Then I asked Abby how important it was to her if I came to the North House with her class.  "I don’t really care, whatever." was her response.  Now that sounds like a typical teenager response but she’s only 11.  She acts like a typical teenager who could care less if her parents were around but deep inside I bet she really wants me there.  She just can’t say she wants mom to be there in front of her weaker little brother who needs his mommy.  As a young girl she wants to show her independence and indifference to me.

     After I dropped the kids off I started to think more about it.  I’ll go with Josh because he wants me there and it isn’t going to be long and he won’t want me around either.  But we have been spending an awful lot of time with him and hockey so maybe I’ll just go with Abby.

     Then I thought about the canoeing question again.  I know Abby hasn’t always been excited to go canoe camping, especially just with me.  But whenever she has come with me she and I have had a good time.  She spends time in the great outdoors, gets exercise, swims in the lake and enjoys the peace and quiet.  It’s good for her whether she wants to come along or not.  So, if I know something is good for one of my kids and I want them to do it, then as a parent I think I should make them do it.

     We have such a short time with our children in our homes.  We need to teach them and mold them into people who can be kind, caring and successful in the real world.  We need to show them we love them and care about them so they know how to show others the same.  I know how fast time flies by and soon they will be off at college. So, I better get some other work done quickly so I can spend all day at the North House Folk School with both of my children.