Monday, January 3, 2011

An Open Letter For My Children

As is my annual year-end habit, I have been spending time in retrospect and in so doing opened up some old journals. I was not particularly interested in 1984, but the bright red of the journal caught my eye. Nestled inside interesting info from the past captured my attention far longer than I had anticipated; my dog, Cassie, grew restless and Jack and the Mables, my chickens, crowed and cackled for their supper. A brittle newspaper article, a heartfelt letter from my daughter, a play bill from a school production. And then there was this list. Typewritten on my old manual Royal titled simply “Summer Rules” it succinctly lays down the behavior I expected from my three teenagers. (OK, one was a preteen, but close enough.) I can still see the rolling of eyes and hear the heavy sighs burdened with silent martyrdom.
These rules and others like them were never meant to smother the life out my teenagers world, as much as they may have thought otherwise at the time. The intention was to raise responsible adults, pure and simple. I wonder what my children will think and feel when they read these rules. I hope they’ve gotten over the “mean mom” comments, I know I have, but I would like them to remember, especially now that they are getting the rolled eyes and heavy sighs from their kids. Hmmm, what goes around, comes around. If anything, this list may serve to show my grandchildren that the rules they are asked to live by are not so bad!

SUMMER RULES 1984

FRIENDS Please do not invite friends in the house when parents are not home.
If you go to someone else’s house, their parents have to be home.
Let us know WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO BE.
No last minute over-nights.

TV
TAKE TURNS deciding what to watch---check schedule in cabinet.
Two hour MAXIMUM daytime TV –this means before 7 PM.
No late night TV except by special permission. Remember, you are on vacation, but Dad and Mom are not.

TELEPHONE
Sorry, 5 minute limit. IF YOU BREAK THIS RULE, YOU WILL BE GROUNDED FROM THE PHONE.
Please ask friends not to call before noon.

ROOM
Continue to make your beds daily and keep your room tidy. YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL YOUR ROOM IS IN SHAPE. SO DO IT AS SOON AS YOU GET UP.

YARD
You MUST keep the lawn mowed! Don’t worry, we’ll take turns.

FOOD
We will continue to have lunch at noon and supper at 4:30. We are going to take turns fixing lunch, check schedule in cabinet. You may decide the menu.
CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS IN THE KITCHEN.
You will also take a turn at suppertime chores. Check schedule.

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