Despite all of my talk about putting some of these chickens on our table for dinner, I have to say that I don’t think I can do it. I wouldn’t eat them anyway as I don’t eat chicken anymore, but I do still remember how to cook up a delicious chicken dinner and I was prepared to do that for my husband and the one child I have that will eat meat (‘A’ won’t touch it). Here we are, getting ready for chicken harvesting season, and I have come to see them more as pets than as dinner. *Sigh*, I’m not a good farmer, am I? It’s not a good or bad thing, it’s just what is.
I’ve realized lately that the girls are ready to help me out more around the house. Jeff agrees *for the most part*, but does poke at me a bit when I act as though they do nothing. He reminds me that they do more than many other children do. I remind him that my mother had a step stool in front of the washing machine for us and I’m not accustomed to things like laziness and disrespect (I’m not poking fun at you mom, I’m just following in your footsteps). You’ve heard of the Protestant Work Ethic; I not only heard about it, I have lived it. It’s part of me, no matter how much I try to quiet it down. Work, work, work. Be busy, be productive, make a difference. And when you have stopped, and are sitting down, spring back up so that you can get back to work.
At dinner tonight we talked about the work the girls might do around the house. I threw out a few easy suggestions: feed Grace, our cat; check the birdfeeders; keep an eye on the chickens. These are easy, child-friendly tasks. I realized immediately, though, that I use those jobs to mark time. The activity at the bird feeder tells me if the nests have been woven and the eggs laid and hatched yet; the amount of food and water our cat is consuming tells me about her overall health and wellness, and where she is on her journey through life; the angle of the sun tells me what time it is. These things are tied to my everyday sense of balance – I cannot give them up.
The next best thing to do, of course, is to share the work and turn it into a teachable task. It’s time for my girls to learn how to tell time by the sun; how to tell when the baby birds have hatched without peering into any nest; how to determine if the cat is as healthy today as she was yesterday. I don’t know how to teach those things except to say, “Listen to sounds you hear, observe what is happening around you, trust that it will unfold as it should, be patient with the process; and absorb and remember it all so you can do this again next year.” Isn’t that what parenting and teaching is all about?
All of this still leaves me with the question about what the girls should be responsible for around the home. *long pause*… I don’t know.