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Ik vind het niet leuk.

Ik vind het niet leuk.

How much does it matter how much kids like something?

There are things that people have to do (death and taxes are the stand-bys) and there are things that we want to do (play and eat chocolate mousse come to mind).

But as parents, what and how much do we decide how much kids do and how much do we take into consideration how much they actually like what we’re having them do?

“Ik vind het niet leuk.” (I don’t like it.)

Let’s take a quick inventory of when I’ve heard this as far back as I can remember (which is usually about three days):

  1. Piano lesson
  2. Homework (math)
  3. Paper route

Ah, a nice mix. Let’s do a quick analysis:

  1. Piano lesson. The 11-year old subject’s reasoning was something along the lines of Why will I need this later when my career is ________. (choose flavor of the month career–that’s not a pianist). Makes sense.
  2. Homework (math). Yeah, sorry pal, but this is non-negotiable. Even if you use your brother’s reasoning, it just doesn’t cut it. Like death and taxes, you have to do your homework.
  3. Paper route. Things get a little fuzzy here. The 13-year old specimen signed up for the paper route himself for the reward of cold, hard cash (or at least automatic bank deposits–less pizazz, but still currency).

What if we categorized the tasks or chores or jobs or how we spend our time:

  1. Luxury.
  2. Advancement.
  3. Obligatory.

I realize they’re not adults, but if we applied it to adults:

  1. Nice to have.
  2. If we want to advance, improve, excel.
  3. Food on the table.

But they’re kids. I put food on the table. Do they care about improving or advancing or excelling? Not if there’s something more fun to do–and piano ain’t gonna cut it.

Back to our original premise: what do we, as parents, do? How do we choose what we oblige them to do?

  1. Piano. If we want them to progress beyond knuckle-dragging mouth breathers, we should introduce them to luxuries such as making music (or the arts in general). Frankly, I believe this is maybe, surprising to some, at the top of the list.
  2. Homework. Yeah, if you want to not repeat 7th grade, you’re going to have to do your homework.
  3. Paper route. Yep, mommy and daddy put food on the table. But those shoes you like, the extra broodje frikandel you enjoy so much, how much do you value those? Is it worth doing something dat je niet leuk vindt to achieve another, possibly unrelated, goal?

How much does it matter what kids enjoy and where do we draw the line as to what they have to do based on how much they like doing it? If you know the answer, you’re a rockstar.

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