Monday, April 14, 2014


Note to reader:  this might be a boring post, but I had fun "journaling"about this family growth subject.

I have high expectations.  OK, maybe that's a bit of an understatement.  Let me rephrase:  I have HIGH expectations ... for myself, as well as the rest of my family.  I've always thought that if you set high expectations, children will rise to meet them.  This can be good (or bad -- as my husband is prone to inform me, calling me a "Nazi", control freak, and other mean and cruel names due to my extreme standards).  But let's focus on it's positive attributes. :-)  After all ...  it's my blog.

Let's face it:  I like a clean home.  Rephrase:  I NEED a clean home in order to survive and function properly on a daily basis.  Yes, I like order.  A place for everything and everything in its place.  I don't mind working to achieve such a state and I think others around me should strive to maintain this order in the home.  Orderly living is sooooo restful. Ahhhhhhhhh..... I think I just drifted away somewhere clean ... like a magazine.

Back to reality:  Disorder is STRESSFUL!

We have boys ... lots of amazing, wonderful, loud, busy, adventurous, hyper, noisy, messy, destructive, creative, and wild BOYS!!!  Always at work, always busy playing or creating or making a mess somewhere.  Boys!  Children! The epitome of energy and potential explosions ... alive and at work in my home... from 7am to 10pm (sometimes later).

Did my high expectations just plummet???  Certainly not!  Boys AND order?? Is this even feasible?????   But, of course!  I'm not into the typical excuses that boys are just slobs and can't be taught to be more orderly.  Unless they are a "neat freak" from birth, is there hope?

Yes indeed.  Take the military, for example.  They are a perfect example of men who can be trained to be neat, tidy, and disciplined (meticulous even) ... no matter what their age or personal disposition or prior training.  While we're not exactly running a boot camp here, we can still apply the general principle, that boys CAN learn to pick up after themselves.

And I submit that boys SHOULD learn these wonderful attributes.  After all, who wouldn't like to be around or hire neat, orderly, disciplined, responsible, and considerate gentleman?  Their future bosses, friends, and wives will thank me. :-)  I must persevere. :-)

Step 1:  Lower my expectations. :-)  Ha Ha!  OK, so maybe expecting on day 1 for beds to be made, room cleaned, teeth brushed and chores done immediately upon rising was a bit overboard.  My husband's laid back approach to life has affected me ... a little.  So, the 2-year-old is off the hook ... but everyone else:  "toe the line."

Step 2:  Training. I must not forget to train these things into habit.  I cannot simply say "do these things each morning" and expect for miracles to take place.  However, I can remind, teach, instruct, demonstrate, and inspect.  This will train good habits -- which is actually the goal.  Each child must develop good habits.

Training Day 1 - what are my reasonable expectations? I lay it out:  1) get dressed, 2) make bed, 3) pick up dirty clothes, 4) brush teeth.  That's reasonable.  We walk through it.  We learn how to make a bed properly.  We find dirty clothes all over. "Where are my dirty clothes???  Oh, you mean those things all over the floor?"  We go over brushing teeth.  It takes all morning, but I feel confident that they have been thoroughly instructed and can achieve excellence.

Step 3:  Initiative.  Learning to do this every morning before coming downstairs.  I either go up myself to "inspire" obedience.  Or, as I see them emerging from above, I ask how things are going.

Step 4:  Inspection!!!  Every morning after breakfast, we go upstairs for inspection and to have a little Bible time.  If they have not completed their assignments, they get dropped (have to do push-ups).  Then, while the others look on, they have to complete their task.  All jobs must be done.

Results: I have been so amazed at how quickly they have caught on.   Burnell has typically been the 1st and most consistent.  However, Chance caught on and started bounding out of bed early to wipe out his list of duties quickly.  Seeing he was being outdone, Burnell even started setting his alarm in order to "beat" Chance.  Can this be true?  My mother's heart wants to explode with joy!  I wake up to busy little men, establishing order and routine in their lives.  It is SUCH a blessing.

Bonus:  An additional bonus has been that this 'initiative" has overflowed into other areas.  They are excited to accomplish.  Excited to be productive and they just can't help but want to HELP in other areas.  Burnell frequently makes breakfast.  Orin often helps the little ones with their chores. We are all reaping the rewards.

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