Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Episode Thirty One: Get Stuck In

This post could easily be about how little time I have to do the things I set out to do around the house. I'll have to save that for another time.

Over the Summer my wife and I got inspired and decided we were going to get chickens. The problem being that we had nowhere suitable to put them. Upon looking around the section we decided if we chopped down three trees out the back we could build them a run there. The next problem was finding the time to actually do this. Cue: child labour.

My middle boy is into doing jobs. I don't know how that happened, both my wife and I detest them, but somehow this little boy has been asking to help since he could talk. He wants to mow the lawns, wash the car and, in this case, dig up tree stumps. When it comes to my children's interests, I try to indulge them within reason. But, having a kid with ridiculous amounts of energy and enthusiasm for things I've been putting off for months is a no-brainer.

I had already chopped the trees down a few months ago. To do this, I put said boy in front of a DVD to keep him inside. He would have been right there manning the saw if he knew what I was doing. So as a safety measure we employed the distracting talents of Wreck It Ralph. Then, a month or two later, after a particularly bad storm I knew that the ground would be very soft and the stumps would be easier to manoeuvre. I went out and started the job and within ten minutes the middle boy appeared asking, "Can I help?".

Using his hoe and spade he dug around each of the stumps for me and showed me where the big roots I needed to chop with the axe were. From there he negotiated a turn with the axe by telling me, "Don't worry Dad, I won't raise it above my head and I have shoes on!". I couldn't argue. I supervised him very closely and he had a crack at using the axe and freeing the stubborn stump from our back lawn. Soon enough my baby girl appeared, picked up the spade and got to work. 

Having them there in the thick of the mud with swinging axes and other "risks", I was reminded of this post by Needle & Nail. Sure, I was able to tell people that I had my little helpers and I was "just the supervisor". But the truth of the matter is that I was able to spend quality, engaged time with two of my children. I was able to teach them how to be safe with gardening tools. I was able to give them a job where there was a clear cut start and finish. They learnt job satisfaction after all three stumps were removed and no doubt, when we finally get our chickens, they can look at that run with pride knowing that they had a big part to play. 

Your children want to see what you are doing and they want to get involved. Well, it depends on what it is. While we were digging up stumps my eldest spent the whole time inside reading Lord of The Rings - and that's fine. When I watch a documentary about the Spice Traders you can bet your bottom dollar he will slide next to me on the couch while the two younger ones couldn't care less. The fact is that our children are interested in us and one of the best things you can do is involve them. I guess that's a variation on this blog: Involve yourself with your children and let them be involved with you. Who knows what you'll learn from each other?

Have fun!

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