Frustration. That is what I felt this morning when my 17 yr. old daughter informed me that she had to go into work early. For those of you with older children, I’m sure you recognize the feeling…elation at their growing independence and confidence, frustration at their lack of availability for household responsibilities.

Incredibly, with Clementine’s growing independence, I have discovered that there are a few other children in this house who are more than capable of picking up the slack!

Today, quite unexpectedly, the four boys (ages 13, 10, 9 and 7) “stepped up to the plate”. I had to take Clementine to work before we had all finished putting away the groceries, and was quite pressed for time. Arthur steps in and says: “Don’t worry, Mom, we’ll take care of these.” I had known they would, but it was nice to have him stop me and assure me that he was “in charge”. I took the two little girls with me, as I always do and left the “men” to their work…

Forty minutes later I returned home and nearly had heart failure! Of course, they had put the groceries away…but they had also cleaned the kitchen, wiped down the counters, mopped the floor, taken out the trash, vacuumed the entire downstairs, cleaned the living room and dining room.  Arthur  even had classical music playing when I entered the house. Amazing! They have always been great helpers and will do whatever I ask (sometimes willingly, sometimes begrudgingly) but their realm has been primarily outside the house. This was such a spontaneous, loving and gentlemanly act requiring no hints or coercion of any kind. It was a lovely surprise!

Once again, I am astonished that all our teaching is taking root. That the next “team” is ready to play its part. That my girls and boys want to serve their family, as they themselves have been served…lovingly and without reservation.