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Recognizing teachable moments

The Mommy Chronicles

March 23, 2012
Anne Blankenship , The Daily Freeman Journal

It always seems that when one light bulb burns out, a chain reaction is created and lamps, ceiling fan lights, and even the bulb in the refrigerator seem to extinguish in rapid succession. Such has been the case at our house recently.

Like most families, we've been making the switch to the new energy saving lights, replacing the old incandescent lamps. My most recent burn out, however, occurred not in the house, but in my car. A headlamp has gone bad. I learned of this power outage from one of Webster City's finest and friendliest.

But thanks to my dear husband, the burned out headlight will provide a valuable teaching tool for my son. The two of them are working on replacing the light. Both Larry and I are a strong proponent of passing down to the next generation skills that our parents and grandparents have taught us. In sharing those teachable experiences, we are creating lasting memories that Daniel will remember and teach his own children.

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As the two work together on the auto lamp repair, I'm hoping that they will not only give me a workable headlight, but will also walk away with a sense of cooperation, learning and fun. I doubt Daniel will ever be a car mechanic, but I hope he can pick up on some simple repair skills that will benefit him in the future.

I've also been helping Daniel with some around the house skills that will hopefully prepare him for a time when he is living on his own. I know he's just 11, but I don't think it's ever to early to learn how to do laundry, cook some simple things and take care of yourself. When I was in college, I encountered lots of people who had never sorted laundry or even loaded a washing machine. I guess that accounts for all of the pink socks and t-shirts many of my male friends sported after their first-time laundry adventures.

Daniel surprised me the other night with several loads of neatly folded laundry. I was very impressed that he had taken the initiative to help catch up on the laundry during a very busy week. He managed to get the pile of laundry sorted and successfully washed.

He's also been helping in the kitchen occasionally. Scrambled eggs and pancakes, prepared with supervision from Mom or Dad, are a couple of his specialties. He's also quite adept at following directions and making cupcakes. I usually stand behind him and answer questions if need be. We talk about measurements and what happens if you leave out one ingredient or another. Of course, with Daniel, cupcakes are merely a vehicle or vessel to deliver the ooey, gooey frosting to the mouth. He also likes to help with evening meals, and is a wonderful assistant when it comes to pot-stirring and taste testing.

Larry has often said that he appreciates having my dad around to consult and get advice. We both still count on him to impart his wisdom and to share his life experiences with us.

I know we still have those teen years to deal with - sometimes rebellious and often awkward. But hopefully these teachable moments can help smooth the way a bit. I hope someday, when Daniel is on his own or perhaps married with a family, that he will remember these early lessons.



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