Responsibility. It's a big word. My oldest now knows what it's about. Poor kid. She was upset the other day because of the things she has to do to help out, and how it isn't fair! I proceeded to tell her that the older you are, the more responsibility you get. I'm not sure she really liked the idea of getting older as much as she did prior to this conversation.
My two oldest children are 7 years old (8 in a month) and 5 years old. They are young, but it is neat to see that they are becoming more willing to take on more responsibility around our home. Don't worry, they are normal kids who generally don't want to do the tasks I ask them to do, but they do have to do them. However, lately I have noticed that they are more willing to take on age-appropriate tasks around the house. I have realized, though, that I also need to give them a task, and give them a time frame for completion. Usually I want them to do something right that second, and they are in the middle of something. So I am working on that because I know I'm the same. You know, the whole, "Mommy, I need you!" to which I often reply, "I'll be there in a second!" (or 5 minutes...)
Both of my oldest children really like when they have a chance to help with their younger brothers. It is neat to see how proud they are when they have done something helpful, and when we acknowledge how much we appreciate it. They are both generally willing to help with chores in the barn, probably more so than in the house (yes, I can relate! I feel the same way!). However, they are taking on more household chores, and are able to take care of their own things by putting them away, and tidying up around the house. I think sometimes I underestimate them and what they can do. Of course, I don't want to push them and force them to grow up too quickly, but I do want them to be responsible kids who grow into responsible adults.
We're working on finding a balance, and I have to think about when I was younger and what was expected of me. I am the oldest of five siblings, and I remember my dad often saying to me, "You are the oldest, and you need to be a good example." I did my best, and I am pretty sure I will be saying these same words to my own older children...