The Crayola Secret

It appears that I am already the mother of generations. Plural. 
Yup. Technically, Generation Y ended after my oldest three were born, and before my youngest three. 
Generation Z, to which they belong, doesn't make many headlines, but Generation Y has gotten a lot of bad press, hasn't it?
I just want my objection to go on record here.
I teach a class of more than twenty 12 and 13 year olds every week and they are amazing girls; I have three teens of my own, and yeah, sometimes they don't pick up their socks but really, given the opportunity, they consistently prove their mettle. 
It was our family's turn to clean the church on Saturday morning and lest you are imagining up a little one-room, clapboard church, let me explain that our church has over 500 linear feet of upholstered benches, a full sized gymnasium and stage, an industrial-sized kitchen, six bathrooms, a dozen or so offices, three large children's rooms, a couple dozen classrooms, a library, an employment and resume center–need I go on? It's big. And the vacuums don't necessarily all suck–and I'm using that in my generation's sense of the word. I should have taken my Dyson.
Anyway, on Saturday morning I roused the sleeping forms of my children. Early. Teens. On a weekend. And you know what? Yeah, they pretended not to hear me the first few times I called out the old rise and shine routine, but they got up and they got in the van, and not one teenager complained. Not on the way, and not during the cleaning.
Headline that on MSN. 
You wouldn't believe how they took the initiative, even for distasteful or difficult tasks. My daughter was vacuuming pews and polishing water fountains, the little ones were emptying garbages, dusting and organizing hymn books and when the elderly Sister in charge informed me that she had set my oldest son to mopping the bathroom floors you should have seen the size of my smile–this is not something I would have asked him to do–especially not the women's bathrooms!  I would have automatically taken that upon myself. But she asked him to do it, and he did. No complaints.  
And when I came home at dinner time after a long day of grocery shopping (in a town large enough to shop in, and thus far away from here) my daughter had cleaned my entire house. After giving up her Saturday morning to clean the church. And we're talking a week's worth of laundry for eight people not only washed, dried and folded, but put away; floors swept, freezer organized–the child even cleaned all the crayon off my front door outside. Have you ever tried to wash crayon off an exterior door? And do you know how much better my entire front porch looks sans crayon?
These are the days a mother thinks maybe I'm not a complete and utter failure after all… even when we know that we can't necessarily take any credit for the good.  Just breathe deep and thank God for making up the difference where our parenting skills fell short. 
So maybe hesitate the next time you want to gripe about the rising generation. They're good kids. They like to have fun and they don't always think every action through sometimes, but they are trying. And they know the secret to getting Crayola off the door. We ought to cut 'em some slack just for that, don't you think?

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9 responses to “The Crayola Secret

  • Rex

    Well said. This is one of the joys of being a parent. Kids are really good ,if we just look for the good instead of focusing on the negative.

  • Freedom Smith

    I am very impressed. Your children have a wonderful work ethic. That is nothing to sneeze at!!!! What a terrific life lesson, to have them helping clean the church. Our kids clean their school's buses once a month, with Mr's help and he is very particular….it gets done RIGHT!! They are not excited about going but they do a wonderful job and usually come home in good moods. Doing these tasks for others and having most people not even be aware that you have been the one to do them teaches an altruistic spirit…..doing for others for the sake of doing…not just for a reward. Good for you!! Teaching our kids to "serve" is a gift that will repay them many times over during their lives, as they learn that it is indeed "more blessed to give than to receive." Good job, Mom!!

  • Kimber

    I guess I never thought about who cleans the busses–if anyone…I've always thought that if families were given a rotating responsibility to clean the schools like we are at the church, that kids might learn to treat our schools with more respect. Might put the janitors out of a job though!

  • Waterbaby

    Admirable behavior of a few kids (yours 😉 ) alters not the truths about the rising generation. You got lucky, did something right or both. I'll leave it at that. 🙂

  • Kimber

    You realize what that says about the generation that is raising them… (or not raising them…) I actually worry more about my generation than the next. These kids I interact with each week seem so much brighter and intuitive and eager to learn than I remember my own peers being. Maybe I'm just really lucky; maybe it's the almost daily dose of sunshine on this side of the mountains… maybe all the kids over there just need some vitamin D! (If only it were so simple!)

  • Freedom Smith

    At the school that our children attend, the school lets parents and families do the cleaning of the school and also the buses to help a bit with tuition. It is wonderful both for the school and for families that need more help than financial aid can give them. So, once a month, we clean the buses. I do think it helps our children appreciate the fact that they get to attend a private school and that they are helping to make it possible. My 18 year old son has mentioned that before…that he works to make all A's because people are helping make it possible for him to attend school there and he feels that it is a privilege. He is unusual, that way, about being thankful for things that others take for granted.

  • Waterbaby

    You realize what that says about the generation that is raising them… (or not raising them…) – I sure do. I'm highly gifted in dissecting and understanding society and cultures. Unfortunately this leaves me quite out of place on Vox BUT that insightful wisdom is woven through my my book in the making. I do believe you have luck on your side.

  • Kimber

    Sounds like an interesting read!

  • Waterbaby

    It'll be several steps above the book that's being written by Kendra Wilkinson who, despite being dumb as a doornail and whose level of English equals a third-graders', will make millions more with her tome than I would with mine.

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