In Revamping Systems, Part Two I mentioned that I have changed my attitude regarding my responsibilities, my children's responsibilities, and what I can expect of them. This has been the single most effective change I've made in our home maybe ever, because the change was in my attitude, not in any system, training technique, or other similar means.
My best friend Lisa was reading to her children the last book Bob Schultz wrote before his recent death, a book called Practical Happiness: A Young Man's Guide to a Contented Life. She called me one day and said, "Listen to this!" She went on to tell me about a chapter in which Mr. Schultz describes his disgruntled attitude upon arriving home each night, seeing the messes and what was unfinished and greeting his family with a scowl. God convicted him of his attitude, and of that Mr. Schultz wrote:
"As I thought about my failure, He showed me how to get over it: accept every task in the house and on the grounds as mine... Someone may say this perspective is unrealistic. No one could be expected to do every job. But it's done so much good for our family and for me. I wish I had seen it earlier. I rarely wash dishes. That makes me all the more pleased with my useful daughters. I can't remember cooking a dinner. How I appreciate my wife's help! When she's doing my job, I can accept a meal that's a half hour "late". When would it have been on the table if I had made it?"
Fabulous, isn't it? Yes, this house, these grounds, these children- all of these are my responsibilities and when I get some help, I am thankful! Like Mr Schultz, it is a rare occasion when I have to empty the dishwasher and now instead of grumbling when I do have that job to squeeze in, I am thankful that my seven-year-old does the dishwasher emptying on a regular basis. Boy, I wish I'd learned this one earlier.
We still expect our children to pick up after themselves. We are still training them to create less work for others, not more. We are still teaching them life skills that they can take with them when they leave our home. But my attitude has changed from disappointment in the child-like results of their work to thankfulness that all these young people are pitching in to help lighten my load.
Can I get an amen?