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The Guilt Trip
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Cindi    Posted 12-30-2003 at 20:11:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
It only took the promise of a new CD, but I managed to get Jenny to do all the feeding by herself for the first time this afternoon. And why not. At thirteen, she's the youngest, but she is more than capable. Besides, the new CD is Lynard Skynard, and I get to borrow it.(grin)

Feeding everybody takes about thirty minutes and I was a little anxious that she did everything she was supposed to do, so the minute she came in the door I started the inquisition.

"Did you remember to water?" I asked.

"Yeah, and guess....."

"Did you remember to turn the water off when you were done?"

"Yes. Mom, guess what...."

"You fed the dogs, right? Collected the eggs?"

"YES! MOM...!"

I knew she was anxious to tell me something, but I wanted to catch her while she was still standing in the doorway, in case she did forget to do something.

"What about Blitz?" I asked.

Blitz is Jake's new hunting dog. Jenny's used to feeding four dogs, not five, and Blitz is penned up off by himself.

"Crap!" She said, with all her heart.

"I reminded you before you went out, Jen. I know you want to tell me something, but run on out and take care of Blitz and then come tell me. Okay?"

Stomp, stomp, stomp. Finally she returned and I gave her my undivided attention.

"You're not going to believe this." She said, her cheeks all flushed with exertion, and her eyes... slightly troubled.


"Well I was in the shed getting feed, and there was this chicken sitting there, just looking at me."


That didn't seem like that bigga deal to me.

"Yeah. I went out to feed the boars and when I came back she was still sitting there in the same place, up on top of that empty barrel."


"Well, even when I fed the rest of the chickens she just sat there and watched...and I dumb chicken, just sit there and go hungry, big dummy."

"Sounds fair to me."

"Well, I got done all the feeding and while I was watering I got to thinking, and it seemed to me that I remembered that same chicken sitting in that same spot yesterday too."

"Maybe she just likes that spot." I said, trying to figure out where the heck she was going with this. Was she going to tell me that the chicken was dead... sitting bolt upright on top of a barrel?

"That's what I thought at first but then I thought, why would she like that spot? There's no hay to lay on and no food or water, so something must not be right."

"Good reasoning. So what did you do?"

"I went out there and I reached for her, and she didn't try to get away from me, she just let me pick her right up, and then I found out why, she had a string wrapped around her leg. Somehow she got into a ball of string that was on the shelf and she got it all tangled around her leg and she COULDN'T get down."

Now I could see why her eyes were troubled. She had seen that chicken sitting there yesterday and when it didn't react normally to feeding time, she didn't question it. Now she was busily working herself into a hefty little guilt trip.

"She sat there all night and all day with no food and no water, Mom."

"Well I guess that's probably true." I said, noncommitally. I didn't know whether to let her off the hook or not. Maybe this was a good lesson.

"I cut the string off her leg and and I put her by herself and gave her some feed and she started eating like crazy."

Still with those two big brown guilt ridden eyes looking up at me.

I could have told her that she wasn't responsible for some dumb chicken getting herself all tangled up in a bit of string. I could have told her that these things happen, especially to dumb chickens. I could have eased her conscience for her in a half dozen different ways. But I didn't. I didn't because, well...because of Blitz.

"Jenny, when an animal acts in an unusual manner, there is always a reason. Maybe they are sick or maybe like this chicken, they have some other problem that we can't easily see. When they act in a way that is not normal, you should always question it. She didn't get down when you put the chicken feed out yesterday, right?"

She shook her head, her eyes on the floor.

"That's when you should have checked honey, and you wouldn't be feeling badly now that she went all night and all day with no food and no water." Then I got to where I was really going. "Like Blitz would have, if I hadn't asked you if you had fed him."

I think if she could have found a handy hole she would have crawled into it.

"You have to look at every one of those animals, Jen. Feeding time is the best time to do it. Look at every one of them. Are any of them not eating? Are any of them out of water? Are any of them acting or walking funny? It only takes a few seconds. Feeding doesn't just amount to dumping some food in there, you have to look at every one of them, and if you do, there's no way you will forget to feed any of them, like you almost did Blitz. Now I want you to go outside before it gets dark and walk around and look at every animal out there, and if you find anything strange, you come and tell me, okay?"

"Okay." Head still down, she went on her way to do her checking.

After she did her second round I let the matter go, hoping that she learned her lesson. I was confident that I didn't have to go out and follow up on her work and we went off to town without another word about the chicken or the string or Blitz and how he almost went hungry tonight, and we didn't talk about how those animals rely on us for every single thing they need, because I didn't think we needed to, but together we stood side by side in the music department at Walmart, and as promised, we picked out a new Lynard Skynard CD. That I get to borrow if I want to. (grin)

Kens640    Posted 01-03-2004 at 15:43:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Why do you think the worlds in the shape it's in today . Kids aren't taught responsibilities or respect for others as well as for themselves . They're just handed money & told to go away . For years the welfare system has rewarded the kids for doing nothing , getting pregnant & just living together to get more money individually .Or some get married with the idea that if they don't like marriage ; so what's the big deal , the country owes us a living . In the past as a self employed home remodeler I tried putting a few welfare boys to work . Ha , they came right out & told me they wanted to start out with a vacation , holiday , birthday pay plus $10.00 to start then $15.00 after 30 days or they'd just stay home . Now of course I had to provide transportation , lunches ,& all tools . Asked if they knew how to count , read a tape measure , operate equipment & etc .; NO was their reply . So if someone doesn't try to teach our future responsibilities & respect - what future do they have . I remember when my oldest daughter was in 7th grade , she came home from school & I told her to take the burnable papers to the burner for me . Her reply was no . I looked at her & she proceeded to tell me that her teacher told the class that they could not be made to do things at home or be paddeled . Also the teacher gave each kid a phone number for I think it was an attorney to represent them for abuse . Well I took the note & started dialing that phone number to my daughters surprise . She asked me what I was doing . I told her that I was helping her out because if she didn't appreciate Mom & Dad & felt abused ; I wanted her to be happy by living where the state would drop her off . Immediately she begged me to hang up the phone . I held up the piece of paper & asked what she wanted to do . She threw the note in the burnable container , put her coat on & burnt the papers like I wanted . Gee , she even asked if there was anything else before she took her coat off . Phew , I was relieved . Keep at it Cindy & God Bless . Ken

Question    Posted 12-31-2003 at 09:12:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Why would a 13 year old farm kid need to be bribed with a CD to do afternoon chores???
Chores are more than work they are a learning experience.
"Blitz is Jake's new hunting dog. Jenny's used to feeding four dogs, not five, and Blitz is penned up off by himself."
WHERE'S JAKE? His dog, his job!
I'll never understand!

Coon Catcher Clay    Posted 12-31-2003 at 03:18:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Years ago when I had chores as a child my parents had a way of letting us know when we forgot to feed the livestock without saying a word.Our breakfast,lunch,and dinner plates were always put out on the table about 20 minutes before we ate.If one of us children had no plate it meant that we had forgotten a chore and there would be no food for us until the chore was done.It taught us at a very early age that if you don't work you don't eat.This practice has made all of us very hard working and sucessfull in life.

Cindi    Posted 12-31-2003 at 05:45:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
That is a very good idea.

Jimbob    Posted 12-31-2003 at 10:46:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
I bribed my kids for good report cards from school. The oldest got a 50% paid scholarship to a state university. The $300 or so dollars I spent over the years saved me thousands plus I got two kids to go! Bribes or perhaps better called awards are a good thing if not overdone.

deadcarp    Posted 12-30-2003 at 22:59:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
i learned a long time ago (don't ask me how) that anytime a kid is anxious to tell you something, listen okay? just listen. i know it makes for lousy press and may not aid any of the momemt's causes, but just listen. :)

it was 20 years ago but that's one thing i noticed different in australia - kids lived at home til they're way in their 20s, but if pa clears his throat and glances, the kid jumps off the couch and politely offers it to a guest. if mum smiles and looks twice at the garbage, it promptly and quietly goes out. and here's what really puzzled me then - if somebody had a comment toward solving a problem at work, everybody politely listened. regardless of the speakers age or credentials.

well okay i couldn't imagine why they were quiet as mice when maggy thatcher walked by. (later explained as "a matter of courtesy, in case she wished to speak - her words are important as well" :) clumsy me, i might have (and nearly did) cheered and clapped :I

ret    Posted 12-30-2003 at 20:33:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
GEEEEEEEEz with all the screwups you have told us that you do, you have to take it out on a young daughter for not noticing a chicken that didn't move and was apparently well looking. I really think you were wrong, and made too big a deal out of it. If you think I am picking on you, I am.

Cindi    Posted 12-30-2003 at 23:59:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ret, it seems that you have missed the point, or maybe I didn't make it clear, and I'm used to you picking on me. When I see you respond to one of my posts my first reaction every time is ....oh no. Lol! That's okay, you keep me honest.

I wasn't making a big deal out of the chicken, I was making a big deal out of the fact that she didn't feed the dog. Not that I care any less about the chicken than I do the dog, but she completely missed the fact that she hadn't fed him, and if I hadn't thought to ask, that's the way it would have stayed. To let an animal go without food and water just as an OVERSIGHT is a big deal to me. The chicken was just one of those freaky things that happen, and is neither here nor there. She chose to feel guilty about that, I just capitalized on it. With kids, you have to enter when the door is open.

DC....I am very guilty of not listening. I grew up in one of those 'seen and not heard' household. Kids in our house had NO opinion about anything. I try very hard to let my kids have a voice and generally I do stop what I'm doing and listen, but at this particular time she had a job to do and before she flopped down and kicked off her shoes I wanted to make sure that she finished it. It's a lot easier to 'keep' them going than it is to 'restart' them. (grin)

RichZ    Posted 12-31-2003 at 05:46:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi, having two stepkids, now in their 20's, I'm used to the half-a$$ed way teens tend to do things. I always waited for an oppurtunity like the chicken to teach them a lesson they would remember. You had the oppurtunity, and jumped on it. Now Jenny will be a much better farm kid because of it!!

Good work!!! :^)

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