I am in a moral dilemma (slight exaggeration here). My son left the table and also left his bowl, cup, and fork on the table. The bowl of half-eaten macaroni still sits there.
He knows we all clear our plate to help the family run smoother and to take some burden off mom. We have been over and over this. I asked him to clear it, but he said he was getting dressed. That was 15 minutes ago. (Earlier today we timed him for a school assignment and it took him 1 minute to get dressed). Now he is just playing on the floor with his balloon Ninja Turtle.
So do I clear the plate because it would make my life easier? I could get the table wiped off and dishes loaded and move on with my day. I don’t want to ask him again because I vowed to nag less in 2011. Plus if I cleared it for him, I would be serving him and showing love and modeling that sometimes we clean up things that aren’t ours.
Or do I leave the plate to teach him accountability and responsibility? And although this is a small gesture, it is better to learn these principles at 5 than at 15. I have often fantasized that I would just leave his plate. And then dinner would come around and the natural consequence would be to not get a clean plate because he didn’t take care of the last one. If only I had the patience. Plus I am not sure he would even notice if I cleared his plate so those lessons mentioned earlier probably wouldn’t be learned.
This matter is a small and maybe a silly decision, but as parents we are faced with several small decisions like this daily that add up to shape or children. So should I clear or not clear his plate?