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working for JOY

October 16, 2017

Good Morning!   How are you?  It's Saturday Morning at our house.  It's just me and my 4  babies awake.  Mike worked the night shift.  We have our windows open.  The cool fall air is blowing in. Tim McGraw's voice is filling the air. And Chris Stapleton. Dang, he is GOOD! Nothing like good music to get you moving. If you haven't heard Zac William's song Chain Breaker, listen to it. So, So, So GOOD!!!


The baby is already napping.  She can't deal with all the kids here.  Someone took her Barbie and it was simply more than she could handle! Two year olds. My only advice for them is a load of time outs.  We've already had a few today.


Lilly is helping me with chores.  Which is the whole reason I'm writing.


I decided I'd teach her how to mop.  All of our floors on the main level are hardwood.  Dark, Shiny hardwood, which I'd NEVER recommend in a home with a bunch of kids and traffic!  Anywho, I was telling her to get the mop pad just a "little" wet.   Too wet and you'll have a flood and water marks, not wet enough and you won't be able to get the crud up.


She went on about her business with the Norwex pad

 as I was wiping down the inside of the microwave.  When I went to check on her, the foyer floor was basically flooded.  She'd got the mop pad SOAKING WET! Puddles of water were covering the hardwood.  I also forgot to tell her to start in a corner and back your way out of the room to avoid footprints.  So there she stood. In a mess of water, wet socks, and the only way to get out was to go back through her flood. 


And can I just say, in all honesty, this is the EXACT reason I often just let them watch TV, play on the iPad or play in the basement while I work. Teaching them to do anything takes at least 5 times as long as it would to simply do the job myself. 


So, we were in a little pickle! Instead of overreacting and shooing her away, (which I can be totally guilty of doing!) I miraculously stayed calm and kept my head on straight.  If you are particular about stuff, that can be a challenge! 


"What can we do to problem solve here, Lil? How can I help you solve this problem?"   We ended up grabbing a towel and getting all of the excess water out of the floor.  We wrung the mop pad out.  I showed her how to start in a corner and work your way backwards out of the room.  We talked about how you really gotta use some "elbow grease" or "muscle" on the dirty areas and you can just glide over the rest.  


Instead of taking over the project, which I kind of wanted to do, I handed the mop back over and she went to work. She did the foyer, kitchen, and  living room.   Then she asked, "Can I do the dining room for you too?" I could see that she was starting to love the job and see the reward of her work. 


Mike is all about them working. (He, unlike me, is NOT AT ALL particular about HOW things get done! In fact, he'd rather they mess things up a little so they'll have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.) He wants them  packing their own lunches.  Making their own beds.  Getting their own clothes put away, etc. etc.


We want them to leave our home feeling confident in every way, but that means "we" and by "we" I mean "ME" have to let go of a lot of control and slow down long enough to actually teach them. To really work through all the problems.   To help them understand little things like that when you are refilling a soap container that if you don't let air out, the soap can't flow in! 


We both agree that self-worth and value partially comes from hard work.  The book of Proverbs, actually the whole Bible is filled with verses on working hard.  You work hard on the floors and all of a sudden you are filled with pride and a sense of accomplishment. You are a little less likely to run through the mulch and come into the house with your shoes on! You start to see the value of other people's work. 


When Mike woke up I had told him about how hard she helped me work.  She ended up taking out trash, mopping, refilling soap bottles, etc. etc.  Mike is good about reaffirming their work.   I could hear him say, "Lilly, I appreciate you helping your mom so much. She works so hard to take care of this house for us. You did a really good job on the floors."  You could just see the JOY on her face!  Her feelings of Hey, look at me!  I am smart, capable, hard-working! were all over her face.  Had I just let her watch TV or play games on the iPad, I would have robbed her of that Joy! (Which I have done SO MANY TIMES!) 


Not only that, but it's their ticket to what they LOVE most: Friend time. She and Carly both had places they wanted to go that night. Our deal is if your bed isn't made and your floor isn't picked up, you don't leave the house and your friends aren't coming into ours. Of course there are exceptions! We invite in spontaneous guests ALL of THE TIME! It's not that we care if people see a messy house, because come on, a mess is REAL life!  But if I want work done, trading work time for friend time is the secret to success! 


All of that to say, MAKE YOUR KIDS WORK.  Turn off the T.V. Put the iPads, iPods, iphones, Kindles, etc AWAY! If their room is a mess and they are on their electronics, WE, the GROWN-UPS are the ONLY people to blame!  I am not preaching to YOU, but to ME! I am SO guilty of taking the faster, easy route.  Of being mad at their laziness when really I am the one being lazy.  I need to turn that frustration of "Why am I the only one working here????" into How can I train them to do better?  To be more helpful? 


I cannot keep robbing my kids of JOY because I want to take the easy, less messy, faster route.   It is definitely something that I need a lot of work on. 





You know what's  coming....


Train up a child in the way HE/SHE should go, and when they are old, they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6


Let your Gentleness be evident to all. (Even when they flood your floors!)  Philippians 4:5





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