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The Chessboard







I like metaphors. And I have a little girl who loves horses and castles and princesses and bishops and kings and queens. We talk about all of these important players quite a lot. So naturally, I'd write a metaphor about the family and how all these different roles work together.

At my house we're pretty traditional as to who does what. I won't even apologize for being old-fashioned, because N and I both like our system and believe it works well for the family. N is the breadwinner, and I run the household. As our kids have gotten older, they help a ton too. So let's look at the different "job descriptions," using the metaphor of a chessboard for each of the key players. Let's say that the chessboard is our home kingdom. 

King: Father

  • Duty to God and country.
  • Go on dates with the Queen because he's still in love with her;)
  • Govern with good humor, justice and grace.
  • Manage chess boards with other teams, knowing that his corporate kingdom and his religious kingdom are second and third place to his home kingdom.
  • Provide for and protect his Queen and subjects, so she doesn't stress about the treasury or food or shelter.
  • Regular training sessions with Rooks, Bishops and Knights.
  • Stay in place to maintain home court advantage.

Queen: Mother

  • Athletics: No sitting on the couch all day.
  • Castle maintenance: teach each player to Clean up their Crap.
  • Cheerful: Don't let the dumb stuff drag you down, ie oatmeal on shirt, potty on floor, late to preschool, dent in car door, etc.
  • Discipline: Referee the children.
  • Education: Read stories when they're little, sing songs, write thank you cards; teach the pawns to be wise and straightforward.
  • Foreign policy: Serve as ambassador to foreign kingdoms, ie make nice with the band, choir and orchestra boosters; avoid the wrath of the PTA moms; see that foreign kingdoms don't tax the treasury too greatly; translate between the neighboring kingdoms.
  • Love. Love the children and love her neighbors. She knows she can't raise her children without the other women in her village. Love her king, even when they only see each other at the end of a long day.
  • Loyal: Protect the King and their joint stewardship at all costs.
  • Operations: Organize and delegate tasks, lighten the King's load to help conserve his energy.  Teach bishops to work together. Teach knights to play and be joyful. Allow Rooks as much power as possible to lighten her load, so she can stay home more.
  • Transportation: take people to all.the.places.
  • Treasury: Keep expenses down, be frugal, use resources appropriately.

Rooks: Big boys

  • Function as a team, knowing their power is greater in pairs.
  • Love God. Attend church each week and seminary in the morning M-Thursday. 5:50-6:50am. Yes it might sound demanding, but that's the whole point.
  • Music: practice trumpet. It makes the queen happy knowing the Bugler is safe, having fun and working hard.;)
  • Share the 4Runner; pay their own gas money; pay half of insurance costs.
  • Study. Learn hundreds of things in high school and college.
  • Treasury. Get a job at Domino's or Costa Vida to learn about making food and making money.
  • Work. Mow and trim the lawn regularly as citizen of the house. Help the queen with chores. Clean bathrooms and sweep and do dishes.

Bishops and Knights: Middle school aged kids

  • Here the metaphor changes a bit since the two younger sisters are different. 
  • Be kind to each other even though there's a huge age gap. 
  • Be sweet even when some girls might be snarky.
  • Treasury: Earn money by brushing the pool and keeping an eye on the chemicals.
  • Education:  Learn violin and singing and math and history and volleyball.

Pawns: Elementary kids

  • Citizen of the House: unload the dishwasher
  • Education: Go to school. Ask mommy to read stories together.
  • Learn independence: Brush hair, brush teeth, get dressed, put on shoes.
  • Obey. Learn to tow the line: safety first.
  • Snuggle buddy: ask Daddy to sit on his lap after dinner.
illustration by Amber


It seems kind of simple when you write down all the roles and duties of each person in the household. But the complexity is there. I remember a song from a long time ago, (it was on a cassette tape, guys!) and the female lead sings this mournful lullaby called, "Which part is mine?" Okay, I just found it on youtube over here. Written by Michael McLean and the idea is about learning to share the responsibility and how our roles often overlap. That's the song I play at the end of the day when I'm tired.

In the morning, when I'm waking up and the day is just beginning, it sounds like the Carrie Underwood song called Crazy Dreams, you can listen to it here.
Hello you long shots
You dark horse runners
Hairbrush singers, dashboard drummers
Hello you wild magnolias
Just waiting to bloom
There's a little bit of all that inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true
I stood at the bottom of some walls I thought I couldn't climb
I felt like Cinderella at the ball, just running out of time
So I know how it feels to be afraid
Think that it's all gonna slip away
Hold on, hold on
Here's to you free souls, you firefly chasers
Tree climbers, porch swingers, air guitar players
Here's to you fearless dancers, shaking walls in your bedrooms
There's a lot of wonder left inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true
Never let a bad day be enough
To go and talk you in to giving up
Sometimes everybody feels like you
Oh, feels like you, just like you
Yeah
I've met some go-getters
Some difference makers
Small town heroes, and big chance takers
I've met some young hearts with something to prove
Oh, yeah
Here's to you long shots
You dark horse runners
Hairbrush singers, and dashboard drummers
Here's to you wild magnolias
Just waiting to bloom
There's a little bit of all that inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true
Thank God even crazy dreams come true
Yeah


Comments

  1. I love your metaphor story! You’re a pretty boss queen! -Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaah, thanks Julie. You left me a comment! Those are like hidden gems at the end of the rainbow. AND I think we need to run with the idea of PBQ pretty boss queen. instead of PB&J which is what we make for lunch all the time.

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