Monday, April 5, 2010


Isn't it amazing how helpless a newborn baby is. At first they can only eat, sleep, wiggle, and a few other not so pleasant things. Next they learn to use their limbs to reach for things, and they begin to smile and cry in order to communicate with us. Before long they are sitting up, crawling, then taking those first coveted steps - WooHoo!

Just last week I was remembering when my clan were all young babies, so helpless and innocent. Now my children are maturing and certainly more self sufficient. So why was there a gum wrapper on the steps for 4 days?!?

From a physical perspective, they are capable of picking up the trash that they drop, right? Then why is it so challenging to instill in them the same sense of "ownership" that I possess over our house? My husband and I have pondered this question for some time now - with no real resolve.

I've talked with them numerous times about being responsible and taking care of our house as if it were really theirs. Then it hit me... It's not their house in as much as they don't have to pay for it. They also didn't have a "say" in picking it out. In reality, the house belongs to my husband and myself. We are the owners and caretakers of the house. We are also mature enough to understand the importance of keeping it clean and picked up. They haven't reached that maturity level yet.

So for now, I will probably pick up most gum wrappers that are dropped here and there. BUT, I will also continue to lovingly teach them about responsibility and ownership. A better expectation might be to have them become solely responsible for the upkeep of their own bedrooms (and a few household chores).

Now when I see trash on the floor, if I'm home alone I simply pick it up. If the kids are home, I assign one of them to pick it up. I'm a lot less angry about these issues, and armed with the right expectation, a great deal more patient.

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put chldish ways behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)



Katie said...

One way I plan on encouraging at least bed room ownership is letting my kiddoes decorate it themselves.

Then again, I could institute a rule for tidiness regarding toys or clothes is that if mamma picks it up, it desapears for ever. My daughter is a baby though, so it remains to be seen if I'm actually strong enough to apply that.LOL :)

Edie said...

A change in perspective can bring about amazing results! Love this Sonya!

Warren Baldwin said...

A constant struggle, even when they get older! I guess every family has discussed that one.

Don't know if this was the right way to handle it, but it worked (at least for awhile). One of my daughters would not clean up her room. So, one day I took all her clothes that were on the floor and dumped them on the shrubbery in the front of the house. When she came home from school she was mortified.

What she didn't know was, I waited until I knew she was about home and did it. No one else saw the clothes there. But, she got the point and for a long time after, without having to be asked, picked up her clothes.

Yeah, that was a dad approach. But, she is 22 now and has no apparent resentments for me!

Good post.

Kelly Combs said...

Expectations (or wrong expectations) cause problems in all relationships. Great post!