Friday, May 15, 2015

The Right Tools

I discovered something wonderful this week. Twice over, actually.  My two most dreaded jobs around the house are cleaning the shower and mopping the floor.  I mean, how irritating is it to just scrub and scrub and scrub and it feel ineffective in making things cleaner at a reasonable speed? It's only worse the bigger my pregnant belly becomes.  And that kitchen floor? That mop drives me crazy, I can't stand to be mopping, and coming to a particularly sticky spot and mop harder to scrub it away only for the lock to give in and the pole to shorten considerably. Sigh. So what's so wonderful about that? Nothing really, except I finally realized it was less of the task I dreaded, and more the tools that made the jobs seem especially horrid.  So this week I bought a new mop and a new scrubber brush.  NEW TOOLS.  And then after tackling those two jobs this week I discovered that only are they new tools but the right tools for me! Maybe not quite pure joy, but certainly pure delight and satisfaction at a job well done.

In fact, I was so delighted by scrubbing the shower and how effective it was, that I got a little carried away and didn't check on my active toddler for a bit longer than usual. Ah yes, he got into something alright!-my sourdough starter. Ha! He sees me "feed" it each day and stir it around. He's already tried stirring it on his own, but this time he decided to eat it. And it got all over his arms, face, the step stool, the bowl, the counters, oh yes, quite the mess. Since I had not explicitly told him no at that point, I used the "you clean up the mess" tactic, and he helped me clean it up. It really was quite precious to see those brown eyes look up at me as he used the wash cloth to wipe off the step stool. 18 months old and he is just a miniature human being capable of learning to everything momma does.  Which is how he made the mess in the first place, wanting to be like momma. (: My understanding is, if he is able to be destructive without anyone teaching him (even if it is merely playing, or imitating, without the intent to destroy), he most certainly is able to learn to be productive, i.e. by cleaning up his messes. The mopping was less eventful, he ate an apple while I swept and mopped today. But it was exciting at how beautifully the mop worked!

Now I'm not sure what my least motivating task is in terms of cleaning the house. It is a satisfying feeling to keep the house clean and running. It really does feel awful to be inside a cluttered and messy home and just feel overwhelmed by the thought of "Ugh I need to clean but don't even know where to start." But with this new scrub brush and mop, I know those two things will be cleaned more frequently from now on.  There are also the times, like this morning, when I just don't feel very motivated in general to get anything done. I could blame it on the pregnancy, but it's just the creeping laziness trying to take over.  But then when I get up and start checking things off my to do list, it is a wonderfully satisfying feeling to have accomplished so much when you didn't even want to start! Having the right tools is one key, having the right attitude is another.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

When I am being faithful in the seemingly small tasks, it is to God's glory and I can't keep a bad attitude in that light. The extra bonuses are knowing that it makes our home a pleasant place for Samuel to come home to, as opposed to a disaster zone, on a regular basis. Another bonus is that I am able to teach 2nd Samuel both by example, and by having him help me, to clean up and keep things neat and orderly. I wouldn't say I'm a neat freak or OCD about anything at all, far from it. I have just learned that picking up things every day, especially through out the day, keeps the "cleaning up" task from getting overwhelming. In fact, I don't even think it is my strength, just something I have had to learn by having my own home. 

In the midst of having the right tools, one of the best tools at my disposal is child training. It would be the biggest headache in the world if I was still constantly just cleaning up behind a little boy who wreaks havoc on the whole house.  God has blessed me with a wise husband, and many other wise counselors, who have given me biblical and practical advice on training a little one. And really, he's only 18 months old, he is still very little, and yet I am so delightfully surprised by the things he retains, imitates, and is capable of.  By training him young, he is helping me even now. Not just "helping", but actually helping! In some things his "help" is merely the training ground and laying the foundation for him to do the tasks entirely on his own later, but there are ways he is helping lighten my load even now.  He is beginning to clean up and put away his books entirely on his own without my having to sit/stand with him showing him what to do, keeping him focused on the task. It is marvelous! By investing my time in training him, he is a sponge soaking it all in. His learning to behave and obey mommy (and daddy) means more joy, more laughter, and more pleasantness in the home. I'm not saying it's easy, or doesn't take a tremendous effort and consistency, just that it is worth it. Since he is my first, when I first began it just seemed to not stick, or that it wasn't doing much. But WOW I can honestly say I am blown away by what a huge blessing it is turning out to be!-and he's not even a "big" kid yet. I have so much more to learn, so much more to teach him, and so much more life to live with this little guy (and #2), that it makes it wonderful to think about, rather than the "terrible twos" or the crazy life of having an out of control miniature human. And really, everyone trains their child, by example and by omission even if they don't teach them directly. It is either good training, or bad training. 

"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

My prayer is that by the grace of God, He would use me in the teaching and training of my little one, that when he is older, he would be a faithful covenant keeping godly man who loves Christ Jesus his Lord!

As I type away, he is playing with one of his favorite "toys", the vacuum. He has successfully learned how to take all the parts off that are able, and is even getting better and better at putting it back together. (: My boy is 100% boy, he loves tractors, balls, doggies, electronics, and figuring out how things come apart and back together (vacuums being his favorite). He is quite the active little man, and he sure keeps me busy, but oh what pure joy it is to snuggle with him and read books too. There really is no way to describe how much this momma loves her son!

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,  The fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3