After Cubby and Charlie had finished their grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, I told them to get suited up to go outside. And while they were out there, they could get a sled-load of firewood from the shed for me.
Cubby immediately got a mutinous look on his face and announced very huffily, "No! I won't."
Now this is the kind of attitude that makes me want to let fly with an immediate backhand. I restrained myself, however, and instead went with the Approved Modern Parenting approach.
I knelt down at his eye level (he of course refused to meet my eyes) and told him in a very calm, low voice, "All morning you have been eating the food I prepared for you, wearing the clothes I washed for you, in a house that I have cleaned for you. Your contribution today is going to be getting some wood to keep the house warm."
His response, still with the attitude: "What does getting wood have to do with clean clothes?"
Me, still breathing deep and maintaining my tenuous control: "We all contribute to a pleasant house. Your contribution is getting the wood."
His response: "WHY?"
My distinctly un-modern-parenting response: "BECAUSE I SAID SO. NOW GET OUTSIDE."
It's the cliched parenting answer from time immemorial for a reason: Because sometimes, "Because I said so," is all that's left to say.