A Plate Of My Own

We have eleven plate settings of Fiestaware, all different colors. Colors for our family and colors for quests. My set is white. My husbands set is blue. My oldest daughters is teal, my sons is green and my youngest daughters set is brown.  There are no more random dishes piling up in the sink.  Stacks of plates left on the counter, waiting to be washed later in the day, by someone else.  Now everyone in the family has their own dishes, to eat from and to wash.

If you want to eat your lunch on a plate, you have to wash your own plate from breakfast that you left on the table. The goal is for them to wash their dish right after they use it, and not come back to it later.

My father said to me before he died,  “The most important thing I want you to know is – make sure you get your birthday cards in the mail on time.”

I want my children to learn to wash their dishes right after they use them. There are natural consequences for not washing your dishes right away –  the food is usually dried on and is harder to clean. What could have been an easy rinse is now an intense episode of scrubbing.  The plate is really their life. Clean up after yourself, and don’t leave your messes for someone else. Be responsible.

What is the most important thing you want to teach your children, or your students?

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15 responses to “A Plate Of My Own

  1. I hope to “drill” two things into my boys. One to always pick up after themselves – we are still working on that. Second – to explore. My parents were always encouraging my two siblings and I that “You know what is here at home. Go explore. Find what you are looking for. If you can’t find it elsewhere or don’t like what you find, you can always come home.” Of course my mom jokingly now says, “I didn’t expect two out of three of you to be over 1300 miles away!”

  2. Always be willing and eager to learn.
    Even stuff we dont need to know, it never hurts to learn it anyway.
    As example: both my girls are brilliant with computers, and both speak english. Danish being their mother tongue..

  3. What a great lesson you are teaching your children. I don’t remember my parents ever purposefully telling me a life lesson, like your father’s words of wisdom (cards in the mail is something I fail at).
    I wanted my son to always be aware of consequences. Sometimes the consequence would lead to good things, but not always. Think before you do. Now, I believe he does.

  4. Oh wow. The most important thing? Hmmmm. I think it’s to be the kind of person who cares about other people’s feelings while still having a lot of self-respect. Maybe that’s two separate things.
    Perhaps I should mull this over s’more.

  5. 1) Love the photograph
    2) Love the idea!
    3) I want to teach my students to speak up for themselves and work hard. I think those two things will get you pretty much anything in life. Maybe also be kind to people, even when they don’t deserve it.

  6. Lovely post. I am so grateful to see our daughters have grown up to be women who are kind and compassionate. I used to tell them to treat one another with kindness and respect because a sister can be there for you in a way others will not and now, as 20 somethings, they are still the best of friends.

  7. i also love the photograph! we each have different colored cups at our house. that way we don’t have 400 water glasses sitting around and we know what color belongs to whom! Great ideas for responsibility and natural consequences!

    • Yes, isn’t it funny, how the cups keep coming out of the cupboard until they are ALL dirty? I just put all of our cups up on the highest shelf except for five. Now we each have a different colored cup as well.
      Thank you for your comment.

  8. I love the photos on your posts by the way and I also love Fiestaware. I want my kids to do meaningful work and think about other people besides themselves.

  9. Another awesome slice. I don’t have kids, and I question what I’m teaching kids in my classroom quite often. I think the biggest thing is to model passion and compassion — that being kind to people and doing things you love are good ways to live life.

  10. This slice is colorful, quite literally; but more than anything, it is full of great advice, but not in a preachy or pushy way. Making the reader think at the end is wonderful. I’m not sure what my answer would be exactly as there is so much that I want to make sure that I leave my kids with and I don’t know if I can say it as consisely and eloquently as you. What I want to teach most of all is to always be true to who you are.

  11. Love this photo and this slice. I would never have thought of using Fiestaware in this way. It’s brilliant! I love this simple way of teaching something important. Today at the conference I’m going to be talking about an essay of mine about learning not to be afraid or ashamed of who I am and helping my students see that they, too, can be whoever they are and that whoever that is is perfectly okay. Until I wrote that essay, I’m not sure I would have articulated that as being the thing I most wanted my students to learn from me. I hope some of them did learn that. Only time will tell.

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