26 November, 2012

Our camping frustration

Just in case you got the impression that we had a perfect camping trip. I want to tell you about the most frustrating part of camping for David and I. It is the kids. Actually, it's their unwillingness, at times, to help out.

I have to admit they are better than they were on our early camping trips, but we still have times when they won't help do simple things like unload the car, cart bags, or help pull the tent down.

This trip I tried to relax a bit, remembering that they are kids and need to goof off a bit. My improved attitude did help me a bit. But I still get annoyed when it feels like David and I are doing all the work (especially when it is work that the kids can easily help out with). It becomes even more annoying when you ask for some help and you are ignored. Or they start to help, you leave them to it, and they get distracted and wander off to look at an ant, or have a pretend sword fight with a stick they found.

Fanning the fire. Our youngest especially enjoyed
collecting pine cones to add to the fire this time.
There were times this trip that one or more were doing a fantastic job. For example, our eldest, particularly, did a great job of pumping up beds on our first night. The younger two also did a pretty good job of helping with the fire most meals (which is, of course, more attractive than carting luggage or rolling up sleeping bags). They all helped out, at times, with various other camping-jobs too. Just not always as willingly as I'd have liked.

But they all did jump in (admittedly, after a tongue lashing and some negative-consequence applying) to help us get all the gear back into the house when we got home.

This last thing is a bigger deal that you might think. To unload the car, we have to park it on the road, which is only just wide enough for two cars to carefully pass at low speed, so we are being an inconvenience to anyone using our road. And in putting things into a Japanese house you face the barrier of the shoe-changing step in the entrance. So everything gets piled in the entrance and it soon gets so that there is no room to go in or out. Having one person inside and shoeless to ferry stuff out of the way is pretty important.

But generally, I'd have to say that they are improving in attitude in relation to helping out while we're camping. They're gradually learning all the different tasks that are required during a camping trip. I guess that's half the battle. My feeling is that the more everyone pitches in, the more enjoyment we all get out of the trip. If only I could get them to fully understand that.

I guess it is part of the whole, "Why should we help out with chores at home?" question that kids ask. And parents try to answer as best we can. The "it's a privilege" is usually met with a good deal of scepticism, at least in our house. Do other people have similar experiences in their house?

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