Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Do you think I like to do this?

Wednesday January 14th, 2009 by fathersez

This is a statement that I have lately found myself repeating often to my younger children.

Children are quite forthright when it comes to listing their likes and dislikes. And the problem is that quite a number of good things are usually in their list of dislikes. 

Take for example, washing their shoes. They wear white washable canvas shoes to school. And by the time the school week is over, the shoes look as if they have been in a concrete mixer. Getting them to wash their shoes is a hassle. All they have to do is to soak the shoes in soap water on Friday night, clean the shoes with a brush on Saturday morning and dry them. And on Sunday, apply a coat of shoe whitewash and the shoes are as good as new. Maybe all-in a 20 minutes job spread over 3 instances. 

Yet it is not so easy to get them to do it. Because they don’t like it! 

My younger children are at an age where I feel that I have to reason with them and win them over. (I remember those days when I would be given a nice clip on my ears if my shoes were not as good as new on Monday morning.)  

So now my mantra to them is “Do you think I like to do this?”  

I mention things like : 

-         Driving them to and from school,

-         Taking them to the doctor when they are ill,

-         Buying them stuff they need for school on Monday, that they forget to mention all weekend and remember only on Sunday night, 

as things I do not like to do. I also mention that I would much rather sit at home and watch TV. I tell them that I still do these tasks anyway because I love them and want the best for them.  

I follow up with the statement that some things have to be done even though we do not like to do it.    

This mantra seems to have some effect. Their spirited arguments falter somewhat and they nod in agreement. Whether my mantra would sink into their unconscious minds remain to be seen.  

But for the time being, this is the best retort I have. 


Doing things that we don’t like to do (and by logical extension, others most probably don’t like to do) seems to be rewarding for adults too.

Read how: 

- Brooke saves time by taking the earliest appointments possible.

- and in fact this habit is acknowledged as a “common denominator for success”. 

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