medicineLast night was rough on my son, Eli. He had a lot of homework and he forgot to do his job. He is 12 and has been working a very part-time gig for a couple years. He opens and closes the neighborhood pool: covering it at night, uncovering it in the morning, sweeping the deck, emptying the garbage, and checking the bathrooms.

It was nearly 10:00 p.m. when my wife and I guessed that he hadn’t closed the pool. He’d been in bed for a couple hours, so we had to wake him up to ask. When he said he’d forgotten, we told him he had to get up and go do his job. We reminded him that he’s made a commitment, he gets paid for doing the work, and it is his responsibility.

He groaned and asked my wife to do it for him. That was a non-starter, so he said he was scared and wanted someone to come with him, which his mom ultimately did. Being dragged out of bed in the middle-of-the night sucked, but it was an important lesson for him to learn. Suffice it to say I am confident Eli will remember to close the pool from now on.

Tonight I’ll be getting a healthy dose of my own medicine. Since we have 2 kids and my wife and I both work, we have insanely detailed carpool spreadsheets to track who is driving how many kids where and when. Tonight is my night to deliver Eli and his buddies to soccer, but Eli is sick. Yet, there is still the carpool. Those kids’ families are relying on me, I made a commitment, and it is my responsibility.

I really don’t want to do it, and asking my wife would definitely be a non-starter. What do you think I should do, Eli?