47 Things

I assigned each of my children a list of 5 things to do. Alexander wanted none of it. He protested. He grumbled. He complained loudly about how I always make him do 47 things, every day, all he does is work. My response? "47 things? FOURTY-SEVEN THINGS? Wow! 47 Things!!! You want to do 47 things - how WONDERFUL." I started writing. I got to the end of the paper and turned it over. I started on a second paper. "This is going to be great! Fourty-seven things!" His eyes bugged out of his head. He started pacing nervously. He started to try to talk me out of it, but thought better of it. I handed him the list. He refused to take it. Finally relenting, he then wouldn't read it. I insisted he read the list before any further complaining. He grumbled through the first 6 things…then suppressed a giggle at #7. As he read, his face contorted with effort as he tried to keep his angry face on. It was no use. He got to #19 'Hop on one foot while gargling and singing The Hairbrush Song' and he lost it. The other kids came to see what was so funny. I sent everyone back to their tasks and we all had fun as Alexander made his way through his list of 47 things to do. All of his original 5 tasks got done, plus another 5 “jobs”, plus a lot of silliness, an unexpected pre-lunch snack, reading a book to his little sister, making random animal noises, and more.


In that situation, I could have grumbled back at him, told him over and over to do his list, listened to him complain his way through his list, cajoled, reminded, yelled, nagged, punished, etc, but it would have made both of us miserable. Instead, not only did he and I benefit from his “47 Things” - the LEGENDARY 47 Things! - but to this day my kids ASK for lists of things to do and I have to wrack by brain to come up with new and amusing silliness for them to accomplish. Not only did he do his tasks, but the entire family enjoyed a laughter-filled morning.


Stay tuned for more adventures in parenting rannygahoots...

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