Do nothing, say nothing (advanced version)

For the past several years I’ve been living the “do nothing, say nothing” philosophy of staying out of my daughters’ way whenever possible. That includes the “when in doubt, don’t say anything” approach, as well as the “when you feel the urge to help, wait at least 30 seconds” rule-of-thumb.

But I’ve never repeated that first solid week of completely stepping back…until now. Last week I went on a business trip and my girls, now ages 11, 13, and 15, were alone in the house for five days.

As I prepared for the trip, I felt grateful to PoT for showing me how to trust my kids and foster their independence. Because of that, leaving them alone didn’t seem like a big deal. I stocked up on groceries, taped a list of pet care duties to the fridge, and told them which family and friends they could call for emergencies and rides.

Then, after the chorus of nonchalant “bye-mom”s, I drove away.

I called them each evening to say goodnight. Charlotte called me once with a question (that I don’t remember now), and at one point I listened to a short debate about who was going to scoop out the cat box first.

On day four Ellen sent me this photo collage entitled, “Home alone”:

Home alone collage

Then she added, “Mom all of the milk in bowls in the sink is sour and clumpy and it smells disgusting.”

I replied, “Hmm, what to do, what to do…” and braced myself for the mess as I headed home the next day.

But after all these years I should’ve known that Vicki Hoefle was right: “Have faith in your children and their abilities – BEFORE they have proven they deserve it.”

And, voila…welcome home.

Clean kitchen

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5 Comments on “Do nothing, say nothing (advanced version)”

  1. Elizabeth Mayor Says:

    As grandmother to the flock, I entered cautiously into do nothing, say nothing mode as I saw my daughter leave her 3 children alone for five days. My offer to stay at the house or have the children at my house flew into thin air.

    I carried my cell phone in my back pocket for the calls that seldom came. The first day i received a text to please “do the animals” as the morning was too rushed, but it never came again. I was ready for the driving assignments, but that was it.

    We can thank technology for its part, but the parenting concept at work in that house I have watched with amazement and admiration.

  2. Slawebb Says:

    Flockmother, you continue to inspire me. This is truly a gift to ourselves and our children.

  3. sblanck Says:

    Awesome C! This is amazing. I don’t even get my own kitchen that clean. I’m just realizing that another DNSN would benefit all in this household. Stay tuned…… Thanks for writing : )
    S


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