Pony Gal has been busy mothering Arthur the bottle sheep, including feeding him, as well as keeping Bolt's food and water topped off. Dad and I have noticed,though, that her responsibilities needed to be added to. She does okay with what she has, but she is definitely old enough to start contributing more. This move is frustrating for all involved, though. Dad often forgets that responsibility has to be TAUGHT. You aren't born with it. It is the reason so many people come into adulthood and end up learning from the school of hard knocks. No one taught them how to be a productive member of a group, as well as responsible solely for themselves. We are working on little things with her, like putting her shoes away when she takes them off rather than leaving them in the middle of the floor, or putting things away in her room rather than just tossing them inside her door. Also included is simple daily care tasks like brushing her teeth, her hair, washing her hands regularly, especially after playing the animals or before helping in the kitchen.
Our major change started a few days ago. She is now required to do one major chore each day-just whatever her dad or I see needs done. Yesterday it was tossing rocks into the driveway that had migrated into the yard from plowing snow. It actually is a chore that will take several weeks to complete, but she was asked to work on it some yesterday-just put the time in and make noticeable progress. I helped to show her some techniques that worked a bit better than her picking up one rock at a time and tossing it, like using a hoe and shovel. She was whiny and at one point actually told us we were treating her like Cinderella (I had to work not to laugh at that one) but persisted and did very well. Today her duty was to bring the clothes in off the line once her favorite TV show was over. She whimpered a bit, but then finished with no issue. Our goal is that eventually she will learn to recognize when something needs done, and help do it. I also hope she starts to take pride in being a part of the family and farm and want to make it the best it can be, and see the benefit of a good day's work. It is a long road, years to the end, but in I know eventually we will end up with children who understand what being an honest, hard working individual is, rather than someone who expects someone else to constantly do for them.