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This diary started as a comment in a thread about banishing sex-role stereotypes, but I decided to flesh it out.

I was raised very pampered, with my mother doing all the cooking, and all of my laundry.  My mother made sure I knew the essentials before I went to college, so I can take care of myself, but I never had to.

My wife and I decided that our house was going to run rather differently.

We have two sons, now 12 and 16.  They started being required to help with their laundry when they were 6, and were fully responsible for it when they were 9.  Of course, they also help out with cleaning.

The most wonderful thing, however, is that they both cook.  The 12 year old is still learning, so last night he forgot to drain the grease from the taco meat before adding the spices.  No problem.  We helped him drain it, and he added more spice and was good to go.  If you don't make mistakes, you don't learn.  He has already mastered breakfast, so when the whim strikes him, I wake up to fresh waffles in the morning.

On Monday, my older son was responsible for making the Salmon that we had bought over the weekend.  Usually we grill salmon, but my son decided he was tired of that, so he went online for a recipe.  My wife was surprised when he asked her to stop by the store to pick up asparagus and puff pastry, but she brought them home.  The result was a delicious meal.

One moral of this is that sex-role stereotypes that keep boys out of the kitchen are a waste.

Another is that the more you ask of your children, the more you will get.

Finally, one of the incentives we gave our boys for learning how to cook is that it is a skill that will make them babe-magnets when they get older.  (The 17 year old's girlfriend was over on Monday, and was quite impressed, so I think he knows we are right.


If his girlfriend hadn't been over, would the salmon have just been broiled?

47%8 votes
52%9 votes

| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

    by Actuary4Change on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 03:49:57 PM PDT

  •  I think the word (7+ / 0-)

    "useful" is odd. And I think it is odd to confine it to sons, if you're going to use it. We should expect our children to be helpful around the house. We all live there, and we all need to pitch in to make things run smoothly. Obviously this doesn't apply to infants and toddlers and children with significant disabilities. But otherwise, yes, children should do chores including helping with food prep and cleaning, lawn and garden care, and any other facets of running a household.

    But it sounds like your boys are well on their way to learning the essentials, and then some. Congrats on that.

    •  I worried about the title (5+ / 0-)

      IMHO boys are much more likely than girls to grow up without life-skills, which is why I made it "sons."

      as for "useful,"  It's just a parent taking some pleasure in the results of the training we did.

      Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

      by Actuary4Change on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 04:42:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Think of useful in contrast to useless. (0+ / 0-)

      Helpful is a subordinate position. A useful person is like a tool, well made and functional, an aid to production.
      The division of our economic environment into producers and consumers is, in a sense, pejorative, euphemisms masking essentially negative perspectives (squeezing out and destroying) about what we do. Why not divide the economy into creators and users? Because the people who set about describing trade and exchange aren't creative and, for the most part, don't know how to use things. Economists are people who watch others work and need to come up with a theory to justify making those who create giving them a share. The theory conservatives prefer is that nobody would create anything, if somebody didn't demand that they work. Liberals see humans as naturally creative and the resulting surplus as something to be shared.
      Basically it's a matter of seeing production as coerced or a matter of self-expression.
      Conservatives and liberals are both mistaken in assuming that everyone is either lazy or creative as they are themselves. Although man is often defined as a tool-using animal, some people can't do anything much with their hands but break things. So, it's really best that they be lazy. Where we run into trouble is when these practical incompetents start giving orders, pretending to know-how that they don't have.

      To see how that works, just look at Willard objectively. He doesn't even know how to persuade.  All he does is threaten and extort money so he can pay bribes. Absent the bribes, nobody would pay him any heed.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 10:59:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A friend of mine raised two boys. (5+ / 0-)

    She told them that anyone who eats must know how to cook.  They also learned how to do elementary sewing (buttons, hems, seams, patches) and of course, they cleaned.  

    You are giving your boys a great start on a good life.  The skills they're learning now will serve them well.  And yes on the babe magnet thing.  :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 05:40:08 PM PDT

  •  One of my favorite memories of our son is (4+ / 0-)

    him standing at the stove, one arm draped around his girlfriend, the other casually flipping the omelet for the two of them.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 07:02:32 PM PDT

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