i make my children clean

Before our trip to Ethiopia, my boys really didn't have any chores.  Seeing boys their age herding cattle totally changed my perspective.  And having mulitple children in our family made it a necessity.  The children would be a part of the team to care for themselves and their home.  Their chore list in the summertime is longer because they have more time and also because they are home more which equals more of a mess.  Cleaning is not something I am naturally gifted at and certainly not being neat and organized.  Exhibit A:

This is typically how my room looked in college - chaos.  And those who knew me then can attest to that reality.  I have worked hard over the years to learn how to be more aware of my surroundings because it does make our home a more peaceful place.  I want my children to leave our home one day knowing how to be organized and how to care for themselves and the environment they live in.  And they really are capable of doing so much already!

Being part of a team and working together provides opportunities to teach spiritual truths.  The other day Kody was complaining about cleaning toliets.  I began my lecture by reminding him of how many toliets I have cleaned and bottoms I have wiped in the past 8 years.  I passionately explained about being part of a team and showing respect.  How we should be thankful we don't have to go outside to use the bathroom or drink the water that we urinate into.  All of this seemed to be just passing in and out of his ears and his attitude was not changing.  He was going to do the job, but his heart was not joyful about it.  Then I said something that grabbed his attention.

Me:  You know God says in the Bible that whatever we do we should do it with all our hearts as working for Him.  We serve Him by the attitude we have while doing our work and praising Him for our blessings.
Kody:  Even cleaning toliets?  God cares about how I clean toliets?
Me:  Yep

Total heart change after that.  Makes me wonder why I spend so much time and energy lecturing with my own wisdom.... actual Scripture is what always grabs their hearts.

Beyond cleaning I am also teaching them how to feed themselves.  The boys are totally responsible for making their own lunches and most mornings make their breakfast as well.  I have had them involved in the cooking since they were toddlers.  It is fun to now see them making meals for themselves.

Small steps toward independence and being a blessing to those who live with them in the future.

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