Anyone who knows me knows I don’t let my kids get away with much in the way of helping around the house and contributing the (preferably smooth) running of the household. This time of year it gets a bit worse ~ or better, depending on your perspective.
Spring Cleaning has started here at Casa del Wacko. Now that the scheduled part of our homeschooling year has ended (whew!), we have several hours a day to dedicate to whipping this place back into shape. Truth be told, I feel like I won the time lottery! It’s very odd to have freed up 5 whole mornings a week, and I’m excited for the results.
But of course, you can’t jump to the results without first laying the foundation. I wanted buy-in from the kids, I mean real buy-in, so I had to make them realize the need on their own.
Back in the early spring, on a day when E had some (blissful for me) alone time in her room with her ponies, I got out the white board and asked the boys what they wanted to see happen in our family. I wasn’t sure they’d be so forthcoming, but they came up with a pretty good list without a single bit of prompting from me. I didn’t even mention the words ‘spring cleaning’ because I wanted to see if it would surface on its own.
Here’s the list:
Both boys took turns listing their desires and wrote them out on their own. They talked it through while I sat (with difficulty) in silent anticipation. In case you have trouble reading that:* We want a clean, fight-free, respectful house * A non pee-smelling house (training our new puppy was numero uno for C) * Good school-time and work * More fun time * All the fruits of the spirit * A good household * More time with mom * Good dog * More food oy! oy! oy! * No bills * Taxes done (this was taking up a lot of my time in a serious way) * Less butter (that makes me smile) * Stronger with faith * Get more sleep * Listen more to God * More pie * Less sin
I found it very interesting to see the things that were coming up on their list. It didn’t surprise me that C was fixated on food. He is very health-conscious (eat less butter) and talks food all day long. G, having an additional 2 years on his brother, seemed to be more focussed on spirit-based goals. I choose to take that as a sign of maturity. Recognizing the gaps is the first step.
Then I asked them to each pick the three things from the list that were most important to them right now — even though all were important to them, I needed to identify the things they most wanted to work on first.
That’s where the check-marks come in:* We want a clean, fight-free, respectful house * All the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) * More time with Mom * Stronger with faith * Listen more to God * Less sin
They had their list and then both agreed that having a clean, fight-free, respectful house was the best place to start. So, we erased the white board and they started thinking through the specifics of what that means:
I was impressed. I let them talk amongst themselves (critical thinking at its best) and figure out how to summarize their thoughts. When they got stuck, I asked them to form a hypothesis on the subject. Through some other school work, they had already learned how to hypothesize. They developed a statement that described what they thought would help achieve their goal of a CLEAN, FIGHT-FREE, RESPECTFUL home.
Are you ready for it? It’s my Finer Thing for today:
The beauty of it is that his goal will likely also result in some of the other ‘desires’ on their first list. They immediately saw that there would be more time for Mom in the process, and I helped them along with some of the others:* Good school-time and work (when the place is clean and organized, it will only help our productivity in other areas) * More fun time (when we are on top of neatness and organization, we will have more time for other things) * All the fruits of the spirit (we will likely see evidence of love, joy, peace, goodness and self-control in the process) * A good household (self-explanatory) * More time with mom (to pitch in together means Mom time is freed up to spend more wisely) * More food oy! oy! oy! (if all else is tidy, we can spend more time baking) * Get more sleep (order brings calm and peacefulness, and therefore, better sleep)
And now school is “over” (caveat: it’s really never over when we’re learning through living, but you know what I mean). Now we’re in to the process itself. Room by room, we’re working our way through the house. We’re sorting and purging and cleaning and regaining control over all the “stuff” which clearly doesn’t matter.
Hey – did you notice that nowhere on their list did “stuff” enter into the equation?? It was all about time together, joy, order and purity of spirit.
Be sure to visit Amy for more Finer Things. I always enjoy her blog, but Fridays allow for extra hopping around with all the great link-ups… Happy Weekend Everyone!