Anyone with children can certainly relate to this issue. The trash is obviously happily overflowing, there are dishes in the sink waiting to be placed with loving care into the empty dishwasher, there’s fluff from the most recent dog toy laying like little pieces of an impossible jigsaw all over the floor and empty pop tart, chip, and cereal containers of various shapes and sizes wherever they were deserted by some absent minded soul. Towels invade the bathroom floor, clothes on the bedroom floors look as dejected as the ugly pet store puppy nobody wants and please don’t get me started on the tablespoon of milk remaining in the bottom of the one gallon jug of milk.
Yet, there are three perfect and able bodied young people living here who must be completely blind and deaf too. They must be blind to the glare they’ve received every single day when the crumpled bits of refuse are thrown in the trash by the hand of another. They must be deaf to the sound of a mysterious voice reminding them daily that there is not a maid or a butler available to be at their beck and call and clean up after them. Mom does start with the same letter as maid, however, that is where the similarities end, or at least that is what they’re told. I’m beginning to wonder though if this a true statement.
Equally true though, is the fact that none of the aforementioned trio have been in any serious trouble at school unlike many of their peers. Their grades, though not living up to the potential believed of them, have been above mediocre and in some cases even occasionally outstanding. Their manner of dress is not outlandish nor is the makeup worn by the eldest, despite parental protestations, garish or otherwise inappropriate for her age group. Generally speaking, this trio is mindful of their manners, treat others with compassion and respect, and they are well behaved, inside our home and even more importantly when they’re not within my earshot.
Will I continue to fuss at them about their rooms looking like natural disasters and the towels that persist in hanging out on the floor despite the empty hooks on the wall? Yes, I shall. However, the key point here is that there is a choice to be made by me as their parent as well as them as thinking children. You see, they’ve been taught well and are familiar with the concept of cause and effect. Each of them have experienced the the laws, if you will, of action and reaction. I can make the choice to ride their backs constantly about every little detail that is not done to my expectation. A choice can be made to make them feel inadequate or wrong somehow about their particular choice in clothing and accessories, makeup and even the manner in which they style their hair.
On the other hand, the choice can be consciously made to fight the important battles that are necessary for their safety and well-being. Respect is a two way street even with our children, and if we expect silent compliance we’re not raising children but automatons who will eventually rebel like there’s no tomorrow because they’ve not lived through the consequence of poor choices previously. Our children are not miniature representations of us, rather they are portrayals of how we treat others. They are reflections of every bit of us, the good and the bad both. Personally, I’d rather make the choice to battle over the importance of an education and respecting the viewpoints of others than whether or not the overflowing trashcan is ignored.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk to our children about the importance of a clean home, but to ask ourselves the question: what’s more important in this moment – to be right with a spotless house? Or, is it more important to have a mutual conversation about whatever may be weighing on their over-stimulated minds and leave the dishes waiting in the sink for another 30 minutes?
Choose wisely my friends..Until next time