Thursday, July 12, 2012

Your mother doesn't work here...

Last week I saw an unusually direct notice in an office coffee/tea station/kitchenette.
It said:

Your mother doesn't work here

Clean up after yourself

Do your own dishes

My first reaction was amusement. I was amused that with how polite people try to be, this was one time when it was important to set clear rules. Within seconds, my amusement turned into annoyance. In fact, I felt personally insulted as a mother because it meant that the expectation (of whoever wrote/thought up that sign) was that mothers "naturally" clean up after their family and others...Let me tell you why the sign felt like a direct insult.

A few years ago I listened to a Focus on the Family programme where Dr Leman said that a lot of the problems parents, dare I (Sapphire) specify - mothers, are having with their children is they haven't trained their children to know the difference between a home and a hotel. He went on to say that parents continue to wait "hand-and-foot" on their children - from when they are toddlers into their tween years. If you ask me, it is simply ridiculous! I agree that "Home is where the heart is" and the hotel is where the hired hand/maid is.  

The topic in our church on Mothers' Day was "'M' is for 'Mother' not 'Maid' or 'Manipulator.'"
I'm not happy to say this but the truth is that some mothers do behave as if they are maids...which may be what the person who wrote that sign does or has experienced this.
I have always said that once a child can walk & talk (even if it sounds like babble), knows where his/her toys are and can bring them out to play with them, he/she should also be taught how to put them away and learn how to clean up after themselves. I remember watching an ad where a teenager was watching TV or playing video games with his friends and then his mother came to serve them with the product being advertised? What's the meaning of that? What do you think children who watch the ad will take away from that? Personally, I make it a point to always pay close attention to subtle and possibly unintended messages from ads and convert them to teachable moments in my home.* Why couldn't her child come and help her make the snack for himself and his friends and take it to them himself? What do you think children would have taken away from that version of the ad? (Hmm, maybe I should become an ad-adviser). Ok back to my current assignment... 

The point here is: 
We should all clean up after ourselves and teach our children to do likewise.

References:
*Some previous postings on Teachable moments:
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2010/08/teachable-moments.html
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2011/04/uncle-auntie.html

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