This is a challenge for me because I can tend to be a bit of a neat freak. I'm a Type A personality. In my mind, everything has a place and when things are out of place, it can cause me a sense of anxiety and disorder. Unfortunately, most children don't have the same mentality. They live in a world of "play." I think most children just leave a mess because they know at some point they will come back to the mess they abandoned and just resume their play wherever they they left off. I mean, why should they clean up something that they're just going to play with again in a few hours or even a few days, right?
In the book Have a New Kid by Friday, Dr. Kevin Leman writes this about messy children:
I'm not a high-standard guy. I'm a want-to-see-the-floor-twice-a-week kind of guy. But even I have my limits. (My wife, Sande, a firstborn, has a lot less tolerance for mess than I do, as the baby of my family.) Many teen rooms are downright toxic.Kids are mess makers, and they won't usually have the same standard you do for keeping their bedrooms picked up. And, after all, they have a lot of important stuff in there (like makeup, iPods, rocks), and they only have one room to store their precious belongings. So if you expect them to keep their bedroom as clean as you do the rest of the house, you'll be sorely disappointed.
Even though I still struggle with the neatness factor from time to time, I think I have made a lot of progress. I can now go several days with various piles of clothes, toys, and papers scattered about the house. I just ignore the piles until my daughters and I have the energy and time to tackle a house clean up project. In the end, there are more important priorities to accomplish in our limited time. It's more important to play with our kids. It's more important to spend quantity and quality time with them.
Over the last few months, I've had several reminders from my family and friends around me that I have good kids . When I'm caught up in the process of daily parenting, it's certainly easy to forget this. When you're observing the small piles around the house growing into bigger piles, you can lose sight of the wonderful character qualities of your children. Be careful not to dwell on the minor stuff with your kids.
Do I think I've arrived when it comes to parenting my children. No way! Parenting will be a journey that lasts my entire lifetime. The key, though, is to enjoy the journey, even when the journey doesn't seem to be very enjoyable at a certain stage of development. Parenting will be a constantly varying process as they pass through their different life stages from baby, infant, toddler, child, teenager, young adult, and middle-aged adult. Life moves so fast. One minute their babies and the next minute their headed off to college.
Enjoy them while you still have them around the house. Build a quality relationship with them by spending a lot of time with them. Teach them how to be godly young men and women. Outside our relationship with the Lord, our family should be our next relationship priority. Don't let a little mess spoil your blessing from the Lord.
Oh and by the way, mom and dad, I'm sorry for all the messes that I made and stuff of yours that I broke. Thanks for having patience with me when I was a messy kid.
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him (Psalm 127:3).
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
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