Ten hours later and my boys are still alive. It’s quite surprising really. What did we do for ten hours on what, I imagine, was a beautiful spring day? We cleaned the world’s dirtiest bedroom.
I saw things unimaginable – things a mother should never see. But three garage sale boxes, four plastic grocery bags of Webkins, and two giant stretchy garbage bags of trash later we finished. Now I’m taking the “this-is-what-a-clean-room-looks-like” photos.
It would probably feel a little better if I could blame it all on the boys, but the real truth is they were poorly trained. Their momma dropped the ball on that one. The good news is, at 13 and 11 it’s not too late to learn these life lessons and make some changes.
I’m hopeful that we had some breakthrough moments and we can avoid being on a future episode of “Hoarders” - The stuffed toys edition.
I’m convinced that you can’t tell a child to “go clean your bedroom” and expect it to be cleaned. It has to be taught. I’ve tried several techniques over the years but their success depends on the depth of the
If it’s not too bad, just some things that have gotten out of place, I like telling them to start with the three largest things. Usually, that means making the bed first and then picking up the next two largest toys, blankets, furniture – whatever. The theory behind my method is that they see progress quickly and are encouraged to continue, though I have to send them back for “the next three largest things.”
Sometimes, it’s a little worse. If I’m too busy
doing my own thing to be in the room with them I might direct them to start by picking up everything in one category then returning to me for more instructions – I might give directions like “start with all the laundry” then maybe “all the trash”, “all the books”, “all the Legos”. Beware, this method can backfire if Legos are the main problem (which they tend to be for us…) or if you have a highly distractible child (which I have three of…)
On this particular day we used a team approach. We all worked together (even the little sister helped out) and mom directed the forces. We did a “category” clean combined with a “largest objects” clean. I started by removing all the Legos from the room. (I say “all” but what I mean is “all the Legos I could see on the surface… then as we came across more of them they were tossed in a centrally located container to join the others later.)
Now we’re teaching/learning how to keep it this way – not letting it get out of control. I think the real key is having less to care for (garage sale fodder and just plain trash) and a reminder during the day to get things back in order, then a final quick pick-up before bedtime.
Overall, it was a really good day. We spent some time talking about what’s really important to us and why it’s important to us – why we feel compelled to keep all this junque and continue to add to our collections. We discussed “the Rich Young Ruler” of Matthew 19:16 and our treasure and our heart being in the same place (Luke 12:24). I heard a great bible teacher say something profound last week. He was teaching about “addictions”. He said:
“We’re created to be addicted – to God. When you look at what an addiction does to a person’s life there’s really nothing wrong with those things if GOD is the addiction. If we plan our life around Him and we can’t get enough of Him and we’d sell everything we had to get more of Him that’d be a good thing. But the theory is that if you are not in love with and obsessed with God then you just need to ask the question what is your addiction? Because it’s something else.”
My kids aren’t the only ones with a problem. How many “things” in my life do I give more importance to than time with my Savior? The good news is, at 42 it’s not too late to learn this life lesson and make some changes.