What went wrong??
Often, we question our parenting as our kids do silly, non-sensical things. They put the plastic containers on the Barbeque, they scrub the T-fal pan with the SOS, they do things that we shake our heads at and say “That’s just common sense! How did you miss the GENE?”
I remember watching my mother so intently, putting her makeup on in her small en-suite, carefully outlining her eyes and lips, shading in with the blue eyeshadow, and pink gloss. I watched her run the tub, carefully setting the temperature adding the Mary-Kay bubble bath (about a 3 second pour) I remember watching her make a roast dinner, and Jell-O Desserts, I remember sneaky watching my dad make buns (Grannies recipe) carefully placing a tea towel over the dough and letting it rise in the corner of the kitchen, punching it down 45 min later – then, allowed it to rise again. Finally, when no one was watching I would sneak and try to do the ALL the things myself- of course it was my mothers least favorite thing when I got into her pink totes of makeup, emerging from my hiding place revealing my masterpiece- looking like I got hit by the Mary Kay Cadallic. When dad wasn’t watching I climbed onto the counter and punched the bread down just like he did. And when I moved out on my own I made roast beef dinner as a treat with Jell-O desert – just like Mom.
I remember my eldest cousin one day getting up before her mom, she quietly and skilfully moved about the kitchen, moving her little mouse chair to cupboards she gently cracked an egg into a Tupperware container and placed it in the microwave for the allotted time. When my aunt awoke to an eerily quiet house she found My cousin sitting at her small table eating her self made scrambled eggs.
What do these instances have in common?
Our kids stopped mimicking with the invention of Sesame Street, they began watching cartoons rather than watching their parents, they have no idea how the breakfast got to the table, they just know it magically appears while their show is on, or while they play their game. While our children are on their electronics they are out of our hair, we are able to do the WORK of life, I get it… I’ve done it. We do the laundry while they nap, we wash the floors while they watch a show, or play on their tablet, we do the grocery shopping while dad takes them to the park… or better yet we click and collect. They have no opportunity to observe us, to mimic how we work- to mimic common sense.
Rather than watching how the food gets to the table they are batteling mindcraft puzzles on their tablets or searching how to get their eyebrows on fleek, rather than watching how to sort laundry they are sorting their preferred music videos on U-tube. We have a crisis of sorts. Our children are googling and researching things that may be relevant to what their peers are discussing and what is going on in their social circles as they are herding but, what they are failing to witness is the life skills that will serve them in adulthood – what we are beginning to see is a failure to launch of sorts, we have failed to integrate them into adulthood.
While it is highly amusing to watch the videos of girls texting their moms asking how long to cook the Rice Krispy squares for? How long to boil an egg? How to remove stains? How long is chicken good for after it sits on the counter for 6 hours? They have no idea what the nutritional value of their food is let alone how to prepare it. They have missed some “life skills” along the way.
Then let us take this a step further, when was the last time your children witnessed you doing a good deed? An act of service? Do they watch you smile at strangers? Do they watch you comfort a friend? They are learning empathy as they watch others be human in a safe place.
I saw an adorable post the other day of a precious little toddler talking on a toy phone and pushing a dolly in a stroller. Comments abounded about the adorabilty and I 100% agree – I’m just suggesting that we mindfully show our children what we want them to mimic.
We have a generation that is being marketed to in unprecedented volumes, and while they are a savvy smart demographic, we should be asking what have we taught them to look for. How have we taught them to “Adult” – What we may need to be reminded of is that we are raising adults, we are not raising children. What are they researching, what are they mimicking ?
Just my thoughts from here