Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

When Noble was about ten or eleven I asked her to pick up all the books that the two youngest boys had dragged off the shelf. She resisted saying that she hadn't made the mess. I explained that I hadn't either and I needed her help to quickly pick it up and straighten the room while I was making dinner. She put her hands on her hips and said, "When I'm the mother I'm not going to make my children work." I looked at her and asked, "So, as the mother, you're going to do all the work?" You should have seen the look on her face as she realized what she had said. As an adult she has thanked me over and over for teaching her how to clean a house.

I love this story from Anita Canfield's book A Woman for All Seasons:
When I was first married, I met a woman with several daughters. One day while I was visiting in their home one daughter appeared at the door with a shirt for her mother to iron. A few minutes later another daughter came in and asked her mom to pick up her room. She was bringing friends over later and wanted it clean. Then a third daughter later came to make a similar request.
 I mentioned to this good lady that she certainly had her work all lined up for her and she replied to me, "I don't believe in making my children do any work at all. The day will come when all they'll do is work and take care of others. These years are theirs. This is their time for fun."
I thought at the time, What a great idea! This mother really has it together! We moved away shortly after that and I forgot all about the incident. Years later we lived in the same ward (church congregation) as one of those daughters. It wasn't long before I realized she had terrible housekeeping problems. One day she confided in me with a great many tears that she hated living in a pigsty--and was embarrassed--but she didn't know how to clean a house.
In this mother's enthusiasm to give her children immediate pleasure, she failed to prepare them for a fuller joy.
Children are young for such a short time, and adults for such a long time. Shouldn't we use those precious years to teach and train them to be competent, successful adults? They will thank us forever for doing so.

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