I haven’t determined if my oldest son, Ryan, is the cleverest person I know; or the laziest.
He is a normal 18 year-old in most respects; he is self-absorbed, he knows EVERYTHING, and he is obsessed with the video game, Tour of Duty. There are nights when I literally have to pry the video controller from his sweaty palm so he can actually get some sleep. He is also a typical teenager when it comes to chores; he doesn’t want to do them. That’s when Ryan uses his exceptional persuasion skills instead of his muscles to get the job done.
Ryan has the unique ability to convince you that what you know to be fact is a hoax. It does not help that I am easily persuaded, although I try to hold my ground. Ryan is extremely logical and very charming; both traits that I am sure will serve him well later in life. He will either be a very accomplished attorney or quite the used car salesman, I’m not sure which. I do know that currently, he has mastered the art of talking me out of his chore duties.
For instance, Ryan will use a variation of that old psychology chestnut, “If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?” Ryan’s version is, “If a bed goes unmade and no one is around to see it, is it still a mess?” While the answer to the latter is yes, how can I not be impressed that he actually reasoned that one out in his head, and made me laugh at the same time?
Of course, Ryan has school, a job, a girlfriend, and I recognize that the last thing a teenager wants to do is waste his precious free time on the drudgery of chores; I get it. On the other hand, he has younger siblings who are responsible for their cleaning assignments and it would be grossly unfair to them if he were not held accountable for his share of the work. So what I do it this: I present the duty to him and listen to his argument as to why he should not have to do it. I gauge how logical it is, how well presented, and if it has an element of humor, which is always a plus for me.
And then I make the laziest clever person I know do his chores.