We have a few rules in this house, not many, just a few.
One of them is to not give up too easily, to stick at something if it feels hard, or too tough and get to the end of a term, or finish the exam you are on, or complete the show, or achieve some small goal ahead of you. Unless it is making you severely unhappy or hurt or not safe, don’t just walk away.
Another is to do the very best you can at anything that matters to you, get some qualifications under your belt, have some competency documented you can fall back on. From early on the girls have known that we won’t be able to afford to put them through uni and that if they want to go, they are going to need to have some way of supporting themselves. We’ve encouraged them to see their activities as something that is skill building and making them employable.
Lastly, less a rule than a state of mind, we’ve done our best to make them responsible and employable because god knows we’ve had enough utterly unemployable teens come to us for work experience. I’d rather have Josie working in the unit than any one of them. They’ve all got a decent work ethic for their age, they all know how to behave in a trustworthy and sensible manner. They might be lucky girls in terms of things they own, but the rarely get things without working for them and we’re pretty strict on privileges too. All of them know that their activities and our time ferrying them about are earned, not a right.
Watching Fran collect her first wage packet this week, earned by getting a job as a teacher in a dance school, was nearly as proud a moment for me as it was for her I think. Watching her working with her little ones in their show last week, encouraging them on to stage, keeping order, being Miss Fran, being professional and knowing how to behave, was a very proud moment. Our little girl is nearly grown up.
I think perhaps what makes me proudest though is something else; with the arrival of her first wage packet, Fran understands she has to take on the cost of some of her own dancing lessons now. We’ve put money into helping her achieve a step on the ladder of being independent and now she has begun, those funds need to move on to helping her sisters do the same. The way she accepted that, without sulk or strop or feeling hard done by, made me really proud of her.
Love you Fran.