Picture this scene and think about how you would answer the question. We are all at a live event in a room full of parents and spouses and the speaker asks us, “With a show of hands, how many of you set your kids/husband/wife up for failure?” Would you raise your hand? In all honesty, mine would have to go straight up.
Here's my confession. Just the other night I set my husband up for failure. He could even cry out, “FRAMED!” and it might be true. Even though I gave him a pep talk before asking him to do something it didn't really matter.
The short version confession goes like this. I asked my husband to go to the grocery store to get 3 items and gave him coupons for those items. The sale was expiring that day so it couldn't be put off. We were having a party the next day so my time was tied up getting the house ready. He reluctantly agreed saying he needed to get coffee any way.
He went to the store and got to the counter with items and coupons in hand. The items rung up and then he realized he changed his pants and left his wallet at home. Did I mention he got to the store 20 minutes before they closed? Somehow, someway the cashier said she would paid for his groceries. He promised to go back and repay her the next day. When he came home he had 2 bags of groceries. One bag of what he went there to buy and one bag of someone else's groceries!! (Lord, have mercy!) In the check out confusion the clerk handed him the extra bag.
This is kind of a funny story (and when my husband retells it the story is absolutely hysterical) but the message behind it is serious. I know asking my husband to go to the grocery store - especially with a coupon - is a recipe for failure. We've tried several times. Each time with almost the same result. To keep peace in the family and harmony in the grocery shopping it's best when done by me.
Knowing what someone is good at and encouraging that is better than setting the bar so high on unrealistic expectations that both parties end up frustrated and failure ensues. The same is true with kids.
As parents we have had many, many years of experience cleaning and picking up rooms. Kids are still learning. It's best to cut them some slack when they don't do it as perfect or as quick as we'd like. We can always raise the bar within reason. The health of their hearts and our relationships are more important than a spotless room (or an “easy” grocery trip).
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