Monday, November 19, 2012

The Child in Charge of Thanksgiving

This morning I woke up my 11 year-old son and told him that he was in charge of Thanksgiving.

"I know you are only a child, but I think it's time," I said. 

He stared up from his covers sleepily and with a blank look on his face.  "I can't tell if you are serious or if you've lost your mind," he said.

I let out a deep laugh and said, "that's what's so great about homeschooling. Sometimes you study math, reading and writing and then sometimes you study Thanksgiving in a hands-on course."

He was scared.

Lately we have been reading a book called "Doing Hard Things  --  teenage rebellion against low expectations" by Alex and Brett Harris. In it they talk about how we don't expect much from our kids and therefore they don't give it.

Looking back over history, there are so many examples of kids who did amazing things. Clara Barton at age 14 nursed her father's hired man back to health from small pox. She then went on to care for her entire village during the outbreak. At 17, she was a schoolteacher for 40 children, some her same age. You know her name probably as the founder of the Red Cross.

Then there's the example of David Farragut. David was 12 years old when during the War of 1812, he was given the assignment to bring a ship captured by the USS Essex safely to port.

Really now, I'm not asking my son to heal the sick or captain a ship or anything. But to cook a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner for 8, why not?

It was a funny prospect. But it also got me thinking why don't I ask more of my son? In a backhanded way, am I saying that I don't think he is capable? It reminds me of that great quote by Goethe which says "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being."

Maybe he won't have to cook the turkey this year. But he can certainly help unload the groceries, chop things and set the table. Children are capable of amazing things, but we as parents have to believe it first.

P.S. For more resources and great articles on Thanksgiving, check out the seasonal guide from Carolina Parent at:

No comments: