Just before we left for church this past Sunday, I came down to see both my charming, intelligent, good-hearted and level-headed teens “dressed” and ready to go. I was pleased. There they were, no complaints and already had breakfast with 10 minutes to spare before we had to walk out the door. Then I saw what they were wearing to church. Clean, yes. Appropriate, not so much.
I made a few suggestions, the gray or purple sweater, over a nice top? How about the darker jeans sans the store-bought holes? Just a few helpful suggestions so they knew what I wanted.
They were flabbergasted that I was even asking for a change. Really, you should have seen their faces. I would have laughed had I not been under such a time crunch. Several eye rolls and tense discussions later, we were ready to go. Amanda, my 16-year-old daughter in the purple sweater and Allison, my 18 year-old in dark jeans and her good coat. (I have found that “good” coats cover up a multitude of sins.) I was tense, Michael, my husband, was tense, and the girls were not happy.
As we sat silently in the car ride over to the church, I came up with an idea for a holiday gift that will help avoid this kind of train wreck in the future. This idea will only cost you a bit of time, talent and serious compassion and empathy for your fellow family members.
Family coupons. Giving you what you want when you want it. So I asked the girls to give me their list and I gave them mine:
From my daughters I have asked for the following chits:
Ten “I’ll wear what you want without arguing” coupons.
Ten “I’ll listen to your opinion before I disagree with you.”
Ten “I’ll say, ‘Sure mom,’ when you ask me to do something.
My daughters have asked for the following coupons from us:
Ten “No reminders about anything” days. (I asked to receive this request the night before to prepare myself.)
Ten “I am leaving my room the way I like it to look” days.
Ten “Have too much homework to clean the kitchen” days.
This was an interesting exercise for us — as we were all able to see what was really important to each other when it comes to living everyday life as a family.
Cost of these gifts? Minimal. Overall benefit to the family? Priceless!