The way I see/saw it is that Finn and Tali are a part of this family and should therefore chip in and help. They have been responsible for quite a few chores every week...changing the bathroom garbage can daily, (We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and the pipes in this very old city are not up to handling trash, so toilet paper needs to be deposited in garbage cans next to the toilet.) taking the dog out on the weekends when the downstairs tenents are here, washing the dishes, and folding and putting away the laundry. For those chores they receive $3.00 a week. In the states it would be more, but the cost of living is much cheaper in Ecuador. In my mind I felt that this was a good deal. They learned responsibility, helped the family and were able to save their money if they chose to in order to purchase things that they wanted. Right now they are both saving up for an Ipod Touch. Tali has saved $58 and Finn, $32.
I've also felt that pity party for myself. "Why should I have to do everything?!" I already do so much...grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc... If the kids don't help me I will start to get resentful and that is not something I want to feel.
But radical unschoolers see it differently. It is really hard to understand in just a paragraph or two so I'm not going to explain it here. If you are interested in learning more about radical unschooling and chores, please read: http://sandradodd.com/chores/
Today I was reading along and finally came to a place in my heart that said to just go ahead and read the pages on chores. I was afraid of what I would read. But I did anyway. And what I found was not at all what I thought I was going to find. I think I really get it. I think I understand and I think it is something I can do from a happy place.
I am not one to take in information and process it for a long time. I like to jump right in, so that's what I did today. I decided to put into practice what I have been reading about chores. Starting today. Here's what happened.
Mark, Patrick and Amanda have been in Montanita learning how to scuba dive. They are coming home today. I gave Finn all week to clean up his playroom. The thing is filthy. I just couldn't take it anymore! He has been moaning and groaning about cleaning it and "okaying" me all week. Well, its Friday and it still hasn't been done. So, I decided to try radical unschooling. After taking a nap I told myself that I would go in and clean the room. I would not ask for help and I would do it with peace and love. Since my back has been hurting all week I told myself that I would only do what I wanted to do. I told myself that I didn't have to finish the whole thing today.
The kids were on the computer when I went into the room with a garbage bag, broom and dustpan. I sat down and starting picking up Legos. Let me tell you, Finn has a boatload of Legos and they were scattered from one end of the room to the other sitting in little piles of dust. Finn saw me and immediately came to help saying, "Mom, I'll help. You shouldn't have to do this all by yourself." I told him that I didn't mind and if he wanted to keep playing Animal Jam he could. But he stayed with me and we cleaned up everything together. It took a long time and it wasn't easy for me because me back was really hurting, but we had a lot of fun listening to music, talking and laughing. I really enjoyed myself and so did Finn. Tali kept on playing Animal Jam. She didn't invite herself to help and I didn't ask her to, which was perfectly okay.
After finishing, the joy in Finn was enormous. I was in the kitchen putting stuff away and he ran in and threw his arms around me thanking me. I thanked him back. It was a lovely moment.
|Finn hugging his playroom.|
Every radical unschooling thing I try makes me more and more a believer. I am so grateful to have the chance to be at home with my kids and to move our family to a more peaceful and loving place.