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!