You might have seen the surprise that greeted the story of the Japanese football team this week. Not for getting knocked out of the world cup, it was a surprise they got as far as they did, but for how they cleaned up their dressing room and left a thank you note.
This type of behaviour was unusual, hence the surprise. But should it be?
A little known fact about the All Blacks is, after every game, they tidy up their dressing room. Not the junior players, but the leaders like Richie McCaw. They call it ‘sweeping the sheds’. Again this has been greeted with surprise and shock. World class players doing menial work. But there’s a good reason for it. It instils a sense of humility and responsibility. The thinking is simple. It’s about taking responsibility for your own actions and not having any sense of entitlement. If you don’t do that off the field, it will creep in when you’re on the field, and that means you lose.
That’s why encouraging our children to take responsibility for themselves, for doing what’s needed to keep the family going is important. It is quicker and easier for you to unloaded the dishwasher, loaded the laundry into the machine, set the table, put their plates away, did the washing up, chopped the vegetables, put their clothes away. But in so doing you are taking away their responsibility. You’re denying them the opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson. You are replacing responsibility for dependency, humility for entitlement.
By selfishly choosing to make life easier for yourself in the moment, you are making it harder for yourself and your loved ones in the future.