Jake is a Royal Ranger (look it up). It’s kind of like Boy Scouts for church kids. He’s currently working on a bachelor merit. It’s pretty funny.
His first challenge was to help with cooking three times in a week. Jake panics when things steam or boil, so it wasn’t super easy. He comes running into whichever room we’re in and yells, “It’s getting hot! It’s done!” He is struggling with the concept that just because the pot is steaming doesn’t mean that the potatoes are cooked.
So, for the cooking part of his merit, he made toast and baked cookies. He likes to measure and stir and spread; things all kids like, I suppose.
He came home Wednesday with a new assignment: help with dishes four times in the next week. Since we got this assignment late on Wed, we began yesterday. Beth had made up some chicken breasts, “braised” in cream of chicken soup, and served over white rice. We had some veggies on the side.
We have a dish washer, so things could have been worse. Jake got to help with scraping food into the trash, sorting dishes, and loading the dishwasher.
I didn’t realize how complicated and multi-step such a simple task like after-dinner clean-up can be. It was his first time, so the project was lengthy. He got some of the food on his hands from one plate while handling another, and we nearly lost him. “I got gross all over me!” He kept trying to wipe his hands off on his shirt. It’s one thing for cream of chicken soup, but it’s another story entirely should we have spaghetti sauce. Watching him try to figure out how to position the plates in the bottom rack, the bowls and cups in the top rack, and decide which little slot to put each fork or knife into was more fun than I realized it could be.
As I sit at my keyboard and reflect, I realize that I’m going to have to buy some rubber gloves so that he can more comfortably help in the future. On a deeper level, I’m reminded of the rule that says you should assume competence when dealing with someone. He did better than I would have anticipated. It’s always been quicker and much easier to do such tasks ourselves, but far more important in the long run to spend the time teaching Jake how to do it.
Just the other day, we had been watching a movie (by “we” I mean Beth and I), and we took a break to have dinner. When we were finished, we told Gabe and Liv (8 and 9) to clean up the kitchen while we finished our film. After initially confused looks, they set to work and did a pretty great job. They were quite proud of themselves at their accomplishment. Jake should get to share in that, too.