Yesterday we were really late to a class at the library. We were late because I asked my kids to clean-up before we left and my oldest quickly shut her game and the little one had a lot of toys and crayons to put away. When I walked in to check on them the little one was moving at her usual snail speed and the oldest was literally just sitting there. I asked why my oldest was just sitting there and not helping so we could leave on time. She told me that the mess wasn't hers so she wasn't going to help clean it up.
Her words played into the fear that I have of raising selfish entitled people. So as the youngest finished cleaning I used it as an opportunity to give my "tween" one of my famous and very long life lesson lectures. I asked her to imagine what our house would be like if everyone only took care of themselves. If we didn't help or do things for each other. I asked her what her days would be like if I only did things like cook and clean for myself. What if Poppa only took his trash to the curb on Wednesdays. As my child gave me an eyeroll and a scowl I reminded her that our family works because we are a team who help each other out. I also dropped the bomb that the teamwork never ends. I reminded her that just a few days before I had spent 2 days helping my parents move. Despite years and all these miles apart my family is still a team that comes together to help each other out.
I never know if my Mom lectures work until I see a change in my kids' attitude and actions. And if I see that it hasn't sunk in I will be ready with an even longer lecture.