I have two grandsons. They live in Boonsboro. Far enough not to see (or hear) them everyday. Close enough to fetch them now and then.
Of course, they’re welcome anytime. But they come only at certain times.
And on those certain times, I stop them at the door to review the house rules, like Moses delivering 10 behavioral modification rules to the Israelites before entering the Promised Land. I count off seven rules on seven fingers (leaving three available for new rules.)
Walk, don’t run.
Clean up your messes.
Ask permission before opening the refrigerator.
Take a nap after lunch.
And when you see Mimi, ask her: How can I help you today?
Considering the boys’ ages, I leave out no fornication, no adultery, and no other gods (before me). I also don’t consider stoning as an enforcement. Instead it’s Sit on that chair and don’t move! Keep that up and there’ll be no orange Creamsicle for you!
For a long spell, Eli and Wyatt took the house rules in stride, without complaint. And then one day they marched up the stairs from the basement and stood before me, hands on hips. “Grandy, we don’t like your rules.” (Apparently they had been discussing the rules over the Lego table.)
“Which rules don’t you like?”
“All of them!”
I’m no king, prime minister, or president. But I got a sense of what it might feel like to be one facing a rebellion.
I was proud of my grandsons. I was glad they conspired to rebel against authority. My heart sang. (I never dreamed of such a thing until I was at least 20.)
“Well, boys, I’m glad you told me. But if you don’t want to follow my house rules, I will take you home now and you won’t get that Creamsicle I promised.”
They looked at each other, turned around, hopped down the stairs, and went back to the Legos. Without a fuss.
It only took an orange Creamsicle to squelch the rebellion.
My heart sank.
Check out Paula’s bird photo montage on the home page.
Wait until the rules get onerous And unfair before giving up on the boys.
Would that the current situation could be so easily resolved!
Take heart! Do you know why Eli and Wyatt were such easy “gets”? No one provides unconditional love like grandparents, and nothing feels better than that! And you thought it was the creamsicles! ?
I’m not too fond of rules myself!
If all of the problems presently confronting us could be so easily resolved. I know why your heart sank, when the possibility of a creamsicle being withheld quelled the flames of rebellion. No debate, just acquiescence. Be of good cheer. As you well know, this too shall pass. Debates over changing the rules, or abandoning them all together, will become more determined and protracted. What a blessing to have grandchildren so close by.
Ah, you missed a great opportunity to engage them in defining “new rules.” Perhaps explaining THE rules and asking them what they thought. While your heart sank, you could have walked down the stairs with the Creamsicle and thanked them for their courage. People always have to follow rules. There are some that can be modified if you know what the issue is rather than simple rebellion. Sigh
Don’t let on that a creamsicle ain’t the be-all, end-all. If they back down for one of them, you might pare ’em down even more by making the “reward” one Pez block.
The orange creamsicles are the incentive here as well–they work well, especially on a hot day–to inspire “brotherly love” among Hayes and Rhys–at least for a while. The problem is the aftermath, the slight sugar rush…but by then their mom has come to get them. Timing is everything.