I like things clean. Don't particularly like to clean, but the end result makes the drudgery worth it. I live with six males, however, and this throws a curve in my desire for clean. But being the organized, training mama that I am, I make charts....chore, kitchen cleanup, zones (the house broken up into zones that each kid is responsible to keep clean on said day),etc. We have 4 such charts. So from the time Quinn could walk, I've had them cleaning. The chores go down to Thatch. But I noticed something a few weeks ago that bugged me.
Newsflash....boys don't like to clean. I know this. You know this. It's fact. But chores are chores and they have to be done and I'm sure as holly not cleaning up after everyone. No way. Over time, I've tried to come up with creative ideas to motivate the cleaning to be done to my standards. Hold up, let's rewind...you have to understand, I have great kids and they dutifully do what the chart says without complaint. Nar a time...yep, no complaining. But I know (and you know) boys don't like to clean. So I hate nagging but I hear myself doing it when they've done that minimal amount just to make it sorta look clean but it's not really clean. (I see you smiling.) Back to my creative ideas, we've done games to make it fun and keep me from nagging. It's fun and it works...temporarily. But I was after their hearts. I wanted them to look at cleaning a different way.
When I was a young girl, my mom worked, a lot. She had one clean day and it was Saturdays....if she didn't work. Well, I can remember loathing the cleaning, but what was loathsome was torture when I had to do it alone. I can remember once my step-dad correcting me about dusting the wrong way, he said, If you're not gonna do it right, don't do it at all. I thought, 'Right on, I won't do it all.' Sounded good to me. I mean, after all, we're all made of the same lazy flesh, right? But therein lies the problem, our spirit wars against our flesh and where my flesh wanted to do nary a bit of cleaning (who does? I mean, be honest.) my spirit felt guilty for doing nothing to help my mom while she worked. So when I realized this, my heart changed and I genuinely wanted to clean just to bless my mom. See, when it was expected of me, I hated it, but when I felt like I was doing some thing to help and bless my mom and make her proud, it was worth it. So here we are, years later.....
A few weeks ago, before breakfast I noticed that Quinn's zone was a mess...no problem, being a kid with his head in the clouds half the time, I allow for a little of this. A little. So when I called him back to clean it better for the third time, I saw his attitude waiver. Then it all changed. I felt myself nagging, again...yuck. But next, by God's sweet grace, wisdom flowed, like a river. I told them they no longer have to clean. WHAT???!!!??? Cleaning is optional at your choosing, I say. They were taken aback. I mean, really, aback. Way back. But the result has been unexpectedly GLORIOUS. God is so good to me. Now, they want (What the? Are you kiddin'?) to clean to bless me and as a result, I'm genuinely thankful. AND, (here's the kicker) when it's not done to my standards, I do it better, myself. Wow, what a novel idea! That was what the Lord put on my heart as I nagged Quinn for the eight thousand nine hundred and twenty-first time about not cleaning good enough. He (the Lord) said, If you want it done better, do it yourself. Ouch. I thought I was supposed to teach them to be thorough, sure but not at the expense of bad attitudes and lost hearts.
It's all around great, the place gets cleaned and we are serving each other the way Jesus intended, no one's nagging (ahhhhh). Hey Quinn, pass the cleaner cloth.