Baked by Daddy and his helpers

It took me a while to wrap my mind around this one: allowing my children to help me with household chores is an act of generosity.

My husband is usually the one in the kitchen with two little kids, perched on chairs and soaking wet, “doing the dishes”. Or with a child covered in flour “making bread”. I struggle with giving them a chance to be involved.

“Can I pour myself water?”
“No, I’ll do it.”

“Can I mix the tuna salad for you?”
“No, it’ll make a mess.”

“Can I help you clean the toilet?”
“NO! I mean, no. No, thank you. Not the toilet.”

In his book, Character Building: A Guide for Parents and Teachers, David Isaacs describes a different kind of generosity: sacrificing efficiency and peace in order to let my children take risks, try things out, make a mess.

I’m getting better. Just today, I remembered to let my three-year-old perch herself on a chair to sort the clean cutlery into the drawer. I could hear her chanting to herself “…big spoon, big spoon, small spoon, knife, fork, fork…” The six-year-old was scraping food bits into the garbage and handing me plates to load into the dishwasher. They must have done this before because they weren’t that bad… probably with my husband.