The Lost Key

You want to give your kids some responsibility. And getting the mail seems like an easy enough chore. That is, until the mail, or the mail key gets lost!

Getting the mail can be a fun task. You take a key and open a little box to find letters, magazines, maybe even packages. It’s like a mini Christmas!

I typically enjoy getting the mail, but I like to hand out these easy chores and a sense of responsibility to the kids, too.

So here’s the story…

It was a snow day and I was home with the kids for part of the day. We needed to get to work, so I could anchor the 4:00 show. And sometimes with snow days, you get kids who are eager to play outside. This day was no different.

My kids met up with the neighbors and they were sledding, throwing snowballs, and just enjoying winter fun.

But, I had to get to work. Olivia (my seven year old) volunteered to get the mail. She took the key in her mitten-bound hands and headed with her friend Grace to the mailbox. She had trouble opening the box, so big brother helped out. He then handed the key back to her.

She met me in the garage and proudly handed over the mail, her cheeks a frosty red, and her pink monster stocking hat coated with new crusty snow.

“Thank you, honey, but where’s the key?” I asked, a bit worried.

“I, I…” Olivia looked at her gloves and on the garage floor, then back to Grace.

I was getting stressed. I needed to get to work, and the mail key along with the attached house key was gone!

“We need those keys! We can’t get the mail and a stranger could get into our house!”

By now, Grace probably thought I was some crazy mother. I probably over-reacted a bit. But snow was everywhere! How would we find that key!

After searching briefly, we headed to work, two little heads hanging in the backseat.

After work, the kids retraced their steps and pointed out their path to their daddy. It was cold and we sent the kids inside.

Jon spent an hour in the dark with a flashlight searching for that lost key. It seemed hopeless. Would we have to wait until spring? Would someone else find the key?

I came outside a little later to find Jon, kneeling, his head down with a rake in his hand.

“It’s a miracle,” he said and pointed to the bush as his side.

There it was, perfectly placed in the center of that bush. Jon raked the snow off to find it hidden underneath.

“I prayed for a little miracle and there you go. Ask and you shall find...” Jon said in relief.

When we entered the house, the kids were sitting quietly.

“Look what daddy found!”

They came running in excitement, relief on their faces.

I felt bad for the stress they enduring. That was punishment enough.

Teaching responsibility can be tough. There are growing pains for the kids…and for the parents.

I'd love to hear how you teach your kids responsibility. And at what age do you require chores?

Until next time… Happy Parenting!


About the Author...
Taryn Vanderford
Taryn Vanderford is an Emmy-winning journalist who currently works on "First at Four", "Pure Nebraska" and "Moms Everyday" for 10/11 and Gray Television.

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Taryn Vanderford loves being a mom to her two elementary-aged kids, Jacob and Olivia.  Activities with the kids and a full-time job keep Taryn pretty busy, but in her free time she enjoys taking pictures, reading, Jazzercising, gardening, traveling and playing the piano for church.