I had an alternate title for this post but decided to stick with the MOTH theme because that’s really what this is about. The alternate title would have been:
“Character? Yes, please.”
I am seeing so many neat things as a result of our Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores adventures and I plan to share many of those in MOTH 7. Today, however, I’m going to talk about one particular area that has been a struggle for our family and how it relates to PWOC. You might be wondering how in the world a book on managing my home well could directly relate to my weekly Bible Study. Stick with me. I will explain.
One problem area we’ve been having with all the boys is in getting their rooms to pass inspection on the first try. I think it’s happened for each of the bigs ONCE. That’s a bit discouraging until I remember reading in the MOTH book that our goal in this adventure is not only clean rooms but also to develop character in our children. Our goal as parents isn’t to simply give them the tools necessary to keep house, though that would be a nice gift to leave home with at 18, but to cultivate within each one the desire to do a good job at whatever task is before them. I want my children to see the jobs they have as important and worthy of doing right and doing correctly the first time. Whether they’re making milkshakes at Dairy Queen, working in a hotel seeing that things get done in an organized manner, or watching over a pool while 50+ kids burn off crazy energy, I want a job well done to be of utmost importance. It speaks to their integrity. It speaks to their character. Because of my desire to send them into the work force with both integrity and character, be it for their college pay-the-rent jobs or for the careers they will eventually have to support their families, I will expect the best from them now. I have set the bar for what I expect from their rooms and I will inspect their work.
The authors say that children will give you what you inspect, so inspect what you expect. I’m sure I butchered that, but basically, if I expect their drawers to be closed with no clothing sticking out, then I need to inspect their rooms with an eye that catches drawers open or clothes hanging out. As time goes on, they will start to catch this before I do and will fix it before “inspection.” The goal being that eventually they will keep their drawers shut and clothes fully inside without needing an inspection, with the ultimate goal being that when they enter the work force they do their jobs well with or without inspection.
So, with that said, I am strengthened in my resolve to inspect. I have a sheet I use as I inspect each of the bigs’ chores every morning. Wednesday as I went to inspect Bailey’s room I saw that he was nowhere near done. His room wasn’t really that messy to begin with so it should have taken no more than 10 minutes to get it to perfection. He has a bad habit of playing with whatever he’s cleaning, so he ends up cleaning with one hand. We also had another situation where two of them hung their ChorePacks up on the “finished” string when they clearly had not finished the chores listed.
When we sat down to do our devotion, I lit into them. Uh, I mean, I calmly shared my heart with them and let them know how… nah. I fussed. For about 2 solid minutes I told them how annoying it was to go into their rooms after 10 minutes and find them STILL not finished. They clean their rooms every single morning and so it should never take more than 1o minutes to completely straighten a room.
At this point I did calm down a bit and remembered what the MOTH authors had said about character. I asked Hayden, Carson, and Bailey if they knew what character was and we then had a five minute discussion on it. Basically, we defined character as “who you are when no one is watching.” I turned that into, “As you develop your individual characters, you will do your chores right even if I’m not going to inspect them because you want to do the right thing.” I even went as far as to discuss with them that when men and women enter the work force they are expected to do a good job even when their boss isn’t standing right over their shoulders, making them. I told them that our chores are helpful for making our house look nicer but the main reason behind the chores and inspection is to develop inside them a strong character.
I felt it went well. They listened and were engaged, and I was no longer fussing.
And then the best part happened!!
I’m excited to be teaching (facilitating) a Bible Study for women this semester on Tuesday evenings. The topic is about how to hear God’s voice and I can’t wait to share with the class how I most often hear God’s voice. As soon as I opened the boys’ devotional and saw the topic for January 11 I just smiled and closed the book. I was amazed and astounded at the title I had just read. I asked the boys if any of them could remember how God most often speaks to me, as we had discussed it several times in the past. (I want them to begin to listen to how God speaks to them.) Hayden said, “When you read something in one book and then read it again in another book.” Exactly!
Basically, I hear God most often through words. Spoken, sung, written… you name it. When something hits me and I think it may be from God (i.e., character training for my children), then I look for ways He confirms to me that He is speaking.
The title of the January 11th devotional is: Shaping Your Character.
Oh My GOSH! I was so excited! I was getting to show the boys about character, but even more exciting than that was that they were getting to hear from God in the language He usually speaks to me! We were hearing from God together!
No greater joy… seriously. What had started out as fussing turned into a pretty neat discussion on character development, and then went straight from there into a direct word from God to us. I told the boys that I had not looked at the devotion before that moment and had no idea the topic. It was all God.
Hayden asked, “Are you going to tell your friends at PWOC about this?!?” He knows me so well! Of course I am! This was an exact situation demonstrating how I hear most clearly from God and I can’t wait to share it with them!
As I was finishing up their chore inspections I mulled over how to encourage them to pass inspection the first time. They love their iPods and listen to them at rest time and play games on them when we run errands. Suddenly, a very bright idea came to me. If they don’t pass their room inspection the first time they lose their iPod till the next day. Bailey hadn’t passed and had started the whole incident so I took his iPod. I let Carson and Hayden know that, starting now, this was the new rule.
Guess what? Today all three boys’ rooms passed on the first inspection. (I did have a little mercy with each one: Bailey had one Lego under his bed, Carson had one piece of trash in his windowsill, and Hayden had one drawer slightly open. I let them know that this was a bit of mercy they wouldn’t always be granted.)
I look forward to sharing some more of the neat things we’ve been seeing around our home that are a result of MOTH.
To read the other installments in the MOTH series see these links:
MOTH 6 – You are here.