Chores have been an unending battle in my house since forever. I hear from teachers that my sweet little angels have been putting away toys and books at school with joy and eagerness since they began their academic adventures. Either those teachers are liars or my children are two-faced monsters.
Recently, my husband hatched The Best Plan in the World for dealing with the dreaded chores. We call it The Draft. It is pure genius. Every Monday, after school, the three kids huddle around the fridge staring at a white page numbered with the chores of the week. Dad stands above them with a chalk pen in hand. Each week, a different child gets to go first and they rotate choosing chores until they are all assigned. They do these chores all week until Saturday, when they are assigned larger jobs.
There is so much to love about this entire process. Firstly, I am not involved at all. This, in and of itself, is reason to rejoice. The household hums with activity and I can do whatever it is I am doing.
But the funny part is the actual Draft. Kurt towers over the children, calling off numbers, chalk pen at the ready. I call him Commissioner, or Roger (as in Goodell, commissioner of NFL). His authority in this is unquestioned. He needs a clipboard and a headset to make it complete. Or a podium and mic. We shall ignore for today the real life CBA and the failed mediation, and the antagonism the NFLPA has toward the owners and Mr. Goodell. My league, my rules.
The kids engage completely in the draft. They peer at Dad as he ticks off the chores. I am surprised at how quickly they learned how to politic each other. The first week brought tears as they took jobs the others liked, just because that’s what siblings do. There were many “but it’s not fair”s. They quickly developed their own strategies. Now they posture, poker-faced, trying with cool attitudes and off comments, to convince their siblings they really want the grossest jobs. I am kind of impressed at how cool they can be despite the high stakes. No one wants kitty litter, but you wouldn’t know it by the looks on their faces. Their cold blooded draft day dealings also make me a tiny bit nervous.
This is a fair and balanced system. One supreme ruler and three beings with free agency to choose in the ordained order. Each child accepts the lot they get and mostly, they do their jobs. I wonder what makes this system so effective. Is it the implied fairness? Is it the choices? Is it that they get to try to one up each other? I don’t know. I do know that there is far less complaining about jobs; after all, when you picked it, you don’t really have much to whine about.
The Draft works for us. For now. I see them working in concert. I see them making concessions, sometimes even forgoing a favorite chore to give someone else a turn. I see them problem solving. I see them taking responsibility.
Give it up for the Commissioner.