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Our House of Order

Who's turn is it to load the dishwasher?
"Okay, guys, it's time to clean up. Come on!" I call.

"No! Why? Why do we have to clean up every day? Why? WHY?" I hear the cry of the small people.

Every day, I feel like wailing the same thing. I don't want to clean it up, and I most certainly don't want to be the one directing traffic with four small boys who compete with one another to be the least helpful, and to out-complain one another.

And yet, I persist. When Dad makes it home in time for the great-clean-up, he pitches in too. It's awful. I cringe every time I have to declare it clean-up time. A glutton for punishment I am not, but I will be not be deterred.

"Okay, Spencer, your assignment is action figures. Henry, you do legos, Oliver, you're on stuff animals and dress-up clothes. Ezra, get the shoes into the cubbies! Come on, let's go go go!" I say, feigning enthusiasm.

My children, naturally, would prefer a home full of chaos, mess and disorder, if it means they are required to do nothing in terms of cleaning or organizing. I continue, regardless of their dissenting voices.

There are moments of grace among the pain of cleaning: a bigger brother who helps a younger one, an unusually obedient four-year-old, a day when it goes much faster... these moments push me onward.

I determined that my kids will learn how to do these menial tasks.

I have even been heard to say, "Your wife will thank me someday! She will call me and say 'Thank you so so much for teaching your son to clean! You are the best mother-in-law in the world!"

My small sons look at me as though I am insane. They just don't want to clean up their toys. Who are these wives I speak of?

I feel strongly that a house of order is a team effort. My father always said, "We all work together 'til the work's all done!" which drove me nuts as a kid.

Now? I repeat it ad nauseum to grumpy littles who would prefer I leave them alone 'til the work's all done.

They will learn to work. They will learn to contribute to our little Heaven on earth if it kills me.


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Morgan and her little family live on a hill in rural New Hampshire. When they aren't chasing chickens or goats, they are seeing bears traipsing through their yard. Morgan is a writer in her spare moments and is writing a book about perfection in the gospel with her husband. 

Photo source: Morgan

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