Motivational Technique

Thursday, December 27, 2007

There are times when you want your kids to do something for you, but they just don't seem interested in doing anything, much less what you want.  And when your kids are young, you can send them to your room, or ground them, or inflict some other form of punishment. 
That doesn't seem to work when your kids are 24 and 21, like mine.  So, I have to come up with creative ways to get what I want.

Last Tuesday, after taking down all of Krista's boxes, I then decided we needed to get the Christmas tree and decorations down so we could actually have a tree this year.  I waited specifically for kids to get home, thinking they would jump at the chance to decorate something.

Oh, before I get into that, I have this little riddle:

Question:  How does one get down a 7.5 foot tree in a huge unwieldy box down from the attic through a tiny hole in the ceiling using a rickety old ladder all by yourself?

Answer:  Very, very carefully.

I got the tree down, followed by the decoration, then took everything to the living room.  Both kids just sort of looked at me.  One was parked in the recliner, the other in the couch, both typing away incessantly on their laptops, absorbed in surfing the web or chatting, or whatever (wonder where they get that from??).  I asked where we would put the tree this year, wanting some input and a little help, and they gave a disinterested shrug and muttered stuff about me deciding and they were busy. 

Remember (if you actually read some of the past entries) that I was sick, and still not feeling well at all.  So I asked again.  One of the kids even had the gall to say "I didn't really want to decorate, I just wanted to watch it get done".  That did NOT make me happy.  No one offered a suggestion for the tree location, no one offered to help.  So, being just a little aggravated, I took the tree out of the box, set up the stand, and assembled the tree (a three piece tree with lights built in) right in front of the television.  No one moved while I did this, but after I finished, one of them asked if I could move the tree.


I said "No, but if you want it somewhere else, you gotta move it.  Otherwise, I like it just where it's at!".  With that, I went to bed.  I woke up the next morning, and the furniture had been rearranged a bit, and the tree was placed nicely in the corner.  It wasn't decorated yet, but at least they got to it eventually.

Over the years, I've learned a few things.  And one of those things is that you can get your kids to act if you can make them WANT to do what you want done.  Here, I made them WANT to move the tree and place it somewhere else.  I guess my putting it in front of the TV was a bit inconvenient for them. 

Now if I could only make them WANT to be fully independent, and never ask Dad for more money.  Hmm...I'll work on that.....

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