Thursday, July 26, 2012

When opportunity strikes and lessons in dogs

When I set out to create the Countdown list I never intended it to be an exhaustive list. How could it possibly? The number of life skills my children will require in order to successfully manage their first years out of the nest, and beyond, are too many to count. And, with the rapid-fire changes in technology and culture, who knows what other skills they will need to be proficient in within the next 10-20 years in order to be competitive and productive.  But in creating this list, and attempting to raise my own awareness as to how better to prepare my chickadees for life outside the nest, my hope was that as opportunities for growth presented themselves I would be better poised to take advantage of such "teachable moments" (I can only imagine how much teenagers must love that phrase. I'm an adult and even I kinda hate it.)

Such an off-the-list opportunity presented itself just yesterday, and I almost missed it. 

As I mentioned before, my family and I are currently divided by the full length of our fair state. Superdad and the boys are back in our primary residence, while Annie and I are enjoying extra summertime fun with cousins and extended family on the other side of the state in our secondary residence.  This means that the majority of my communications with my sons are occuring via text. You might think it would make more sense to just call them. It would not. Skilled phone conversationalists they are not, at least not with their mother. If I'm going to be fed a string of one-word responses, I'd rather see them on the screen of my phone.

Me: Hey Jack! What are you up to today? Are you being helpful to Dad?

Jack: Ya. just going to skate today. can you make me a haircut appt for tomorrow?

Me: Sure, I'll try to remember to do that. Have fun and be sure to check with Dad and see if there is anything he needs you to do before you leave.

Note of explanation: Jack is an avid skateboarder. Clarification seemed necessary so you wouldn't get a mental picture of him strapping on his walkman, tying up his roller skates and performing double axels along the boulevard in Venice Beach (which would be especially peculiar since we don't live anywhere near Venice Beach).

After this brief but deeply fulfilling text conversation I continued on with my day but occasionally my mind would jump to the thought, Oh, I need to make Jack a haircut! That is until I finally got my head on straight, remembered my recent epiphany and the purpose of this written chronicle, and had an entirely new not-so-shocking thought, Wait! Jack should make his own haircut appointment! This is exactly the sort of thing he needs to handle himself now! 

I know. I'm quick.

Me: Hey there- Making your own haircut appt is a great thing for you to handle on your own.  The number is xxx-xxxx. Just tell them you want to make a haircut appt with Holly. Go for it!

And he did. :)

Here on the other side of the state, I am continuing to learn more about the dog breeds of the world than I ever thought possible. Annie is our resident dog lover and expert. Recently, we purchased for her The Dog Breed Bible. This has given me ample opportunity to practice one of my goals from my own list, The Proverbs 31:28 ChallengeListen with my full attention when my children speak. I am afraid to say that isn't always as easy as you'd think it should be...

Annie's very first words out of her mouth this morning were, (with the sleepy still in her eyes and her hair falling in her face)  Hey Mom, did you know that the Irish Wolfhound is actually a very good family dog even though they are so big? They aren't jumpy and they make excellent companions. Oh, and Mom? What kind of dog do you want to be today? I'm a German Shepherd puppy. You can't be a Cocker Spaniel because you were that yesterday. How about something from the Sporting Group?

Good morning, Annie...

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