I have literally spent a lifetime teaching Alexis that the best way to get what you want is to work hard and be nice to the people who can help you. While it has been a short lifetime (her 8 years, to be exact), it's something that comes up over and over again.
She hears me.
It started about a month ago. I don't know what triggered the thought in her mind, but suddenly Alexis decided she wanted an Elf on the Shelf. I personally rank the tattletale elf about as highly as I rank Dora, which is to say NO THANKS. I would rather punch myself in the face than deal with moving an elf all over the house.
It's possible that I get carried away with things like that, in case you hadn't noticed. I know for a fact that if I am put in charge of an elf's well-being, it's going to turn into a competition. I'm going to have to do everything Bigger! Better! More creatively! than is absolutely necessary. It would become a full-time job as I tried to figure out clever ways to maneuver the stupid thing.
So ... no. No elf. Period. There are too many humans depending on me to be a responsible adult right now. I can't take on any new tasks.
Alexis heard my "no" and pondered how to deal with it.
She chose hard work and kindness.
In the past month, the kid has cleaned her room without being asked (although, I did shame her on Instagram for the disaster zone that is her room). She has also done the dishes, cleaned the living room, washed the windows she can reach, put away Mila's laundry, cooked dinner, gotten her sister dressed nearly every day, and generally been the most helpful 8 year-old you've ever seen. She has used nice words, a polite tone, and ... well, she has been an absolute dream come true. If you've ever thought to yourself, "Wow, I wish my kid would act like this all of the time," THAT. THAT IS HOW SHE HAS BEEN ACTING. 24/7.
She has been absolutely amazing in the most fantastic way possible.
I can't fight against nice. I don't possess the armour necessary to fend off that beast.
There have been times in the past 8 years when I've wondered if I'm doing an Alexis a disservice by stressing that the best way to get what you want is to work hard and be nice. The reality of the matter is that in the business world, nice doesn't always cut it. Should Alexis decide to pursue a career in any number of fields, being nice will actually put her at a disadvantage, unless she learns to use "nice" as a way to advance her agenda.
I'm going to go ahead and bet that she's got that all figured out.