Monday, 30th November 2009
The windows had frosted from the frigid weather as a group of writers nestled around the dining room oak table. We were reviewing each other’s material, highlighting effective passages, and leaving a trail of red ink over less inspiring words.
My young children often busied themselves downstairs with toys, PBS shows, and games like spying on the adults. The understanding was that the oldest would keep an eye on the younger ones and notify me if there was any trouble. The only drawback to the plan was that the oldest normally instigated the trouble.
On this particular winter day she had slipped into my sewing kit, mesmerized by the multi-colored threads and their possibilities.
The possibility she settled on was stringing the thread from one corner of the room to another, dancing around columns and couches and TV set. Whatever could be ensnared was ensnared, until the basement looked like a large spider web trap of thread.
When I checked on them, I quickly told them to clean it up. A few minutes later, Jackie crept up to me as I sat with the group. She tugged on my shirt sleeve.
“Mom, I want a jellybean.”
I looked into the intense blue eyes, brushed a blonde curl off her forehead, and said, “If you and your brother clean the basement in five minutes then you can have a jellybean. On your mark, get set ….GO!”
My daughter hurried off, calling her brother’s name.
I smiled and turned back to resume work, when a lady in her late thirties crossed her arms over her chest and huffed, “I can’t get my kids to clean anything, no matter what I bribe them with. It doesn’t even matter if it’s ten dollars, they won’t do it. You can get your kids to clean the whole basement for a jellybean?”
Now here is the question: How did I get my four- and five-year-old to dash off and hurry and clean their mess? And even more importantly, how do you use the same skills to get what you want in your life?