A New Perspective on Messes

I’ve been doing a lot of introspection recently and these are some of the thoughts I’ve been mulling over:

If I want my kids to grow up knowing that they can always come to me for help, should I ever refuse to give them my help now? Like when they have made a mess of their toys, for instance, do I really want to respond with “I didn’t make that mess; you clean it up.  If you made the mess, you can clean it up.”  Do I want them to become unwilling to help others with their messes?  After all, kids learn by example.

And why have I become so disgusted with messes anyways?  There is absolutely nothing wrong with messes.  Messes are good.  They are a sign that living has been going on.  I learned from Rich Mullins the proverb, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes abundant harvests.” (Proverbs 14:4)  You know what that means?  Life is messy.  The stall of an ox will get pretty nasty, but without the ox how will you reap your harvest?

And something else about messes…they provide the opportunity for much learning and development to take place.  How will my kids gain the responsibility to clean up after themselves without the mess?  And the bigger the mess, the greater opportunity for patience and perseverance exists.  They will achieve a sense of accomplishment and earn the right to be proud…the blessings of work.  Side note:  Work was not a part of the curse in Genesis; we were always made to work and to produce.  The curse was working laboriously.

So I’m learning to be thankful for all the messes that occupy my day, and that a perfectly clean house is not necessarily the sign of a good mommy; but rather the opposite is true.  The house of a good mommy will have toys scattered about randomly, and a trail of crumbs stemming from the Kitchen table, and perhaps a stopped-up toilet with too much toilet paper in it…all signs that there is living and learning going on.  The soccer balls and bikes might be littering the driveway and back yard, but a good mommy knows that there can be no fun without a little mess happening!

Happy Homeschooler

I am currently reading the Joyful Home Schooler, and the author, Mary Hood, does make a good point in the area of literacy.  She emphasizes that learning to read and write is as natural of a process as learning to walk, as long as we create an environment of literacy in our homes.  In other words, our children will have a desire to learn to read and write if they see mom & dad reading and writing on a regular basis.  Of course, that being said, it does taking coaching from mom and dad.  Just like we have to show our babies to take steps, and our toddlers how to use the potty, reading and writing also requires teaching.  But it certainly does not have to be in the form of formal lessons; it can come simply by answers to “Mommy what’s that word?” and “Daddy what sound does that letter make?”  If bedtime stories are a cherished part of your daily routine, as they are ours, then your child’s own curiosity will begin the process of learning to read.

On a side note, I am enjoying home schooling my children.  We made the decision to go this way with our children’s education for so many reasons that I don’t want to go into right now…but let me just say it has been a joy to me.  I can’t quite explain how, but it just feels like it completes the picture for our family.

We first started home schooling in early spring this year.  I wanted to start Judah in Kindergarten early so that if we decided we needed to enroll him in public school we would still have plenty of time.  We took our own little “summer break” through the month of July because we had so many special activities going on with us and our extended families.  So, we’ve been back at it the past week and a half and I have to say I definitely prefer having a regular routine.  I can really relate to young children who need a consistent schedule and stability.  I need it just as much as them.  I feel myself being happier throughout the day when I know that there’s a purpose to all of our goings on.

I’ve added doing PreK with Bella now, and I’m really pleased with how things are going with her, and Judah.  I’ve tried my best to correlate both of their work so that we can all still study the same theme every week:  same letter sound, same bible lessons, same science and art projects.  And Justice jumps in on all the songs and games, and then spends the rest of the time coloring (a lot…he loves to color) and doing centers, which equates to playing with blocks or cars mostly.

We’ve also joined the FAITH home school group which gives us even more opportunities for learning and connecting with our community.  I’m really excited about this year, and I’m really happy with how everything is going.