Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Easier Said Than Done...

You should not expect or require anything of others, which you do not require of yourself. The same idea is purported by the saying:  practice what you preach.  I think this assertion can be applied to what we expect of our children - if we constantly harp on them to stop yelling, and yet have a "yelling problem" ourselves; or if we expect them to keep a tidy, uncluttered room and yet insist on piling mounds of bills and letters on our dresser and desk and any other flat space in our room, then who are we kidding?  It is extremely difficult to take advice to heart from someone who shows no success in the area of which they "preach".  Having said that, I am going to continue in the path of simplifying and work to reduce some of the stresses in my own life that are created by clutter, things left undone and time-wasting activities.

I'm reminded of a passage in the Gospels, where Jesus talks about how it is not uncommon to pick at the small problems at other people's lives, while ignoring the major issues in your own life.  Matthew 7:3 says: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"  As comical and ridiculous as that may seem, it is an honest cut to the heart of humanity.  We're so good at seeing faults in others, and comparing ourselves to others, that we minimalize our own issues!

All of this is easier said than done, and easier done to someone else than applied to myself!  My intent with today's blog, however, was not to become ultra-serious and look at deep spiritual issues.  To be honest, what I'm thinking about is on a far more physical, practical level.  Basically, I have been noticing the benefits of the recent purging in my children's rooms and have realized that it is fully worth the effort.  Already, the house seems cleaner, the children are playing more nicely and no one has said that they really miss their toys.  In fact, we had a large family over for the day yesterday (6 kids, 5 of whom were boys) and after they left, the house hardly seemed messed up at all.  We looked around, a little bit astonished at the outcome, only to realize that much of the mess we had come to expect would have been created by toys!

After making such a tremendous effort to cause a change in my children's lives and simplify things for them, I'm challenged to be more serious about de-cluttering my room (and my life!).  Since the New Year, I was feeling the call or summons to reduce the amount of self-inflicted craziness in my life and as the months have passed, I've made slight changes to our schedules to reduce commitments.  Things have slowed down regarding life outside of our home, and I feel like we're onto Stage 2, whereby we will calm things inside our home by cleaning up, organizing and reducing clutter.

My worst area right now is that I need to catch up on filing.  I used to be quite organized, always putting bills away in their appropriate files immediately after opening them and making note of the payment required.  It's has been nearly 1 1/2 years since we moved, and I have not done any substantial filing since we packed up the old house.  So I'm buried in a mountain of paperwork with important papers filling boxes, strewn across our computer desk,  and piled up somewhat systematically on our dressers... and it sucks!  Granted, I should be given an award for my miraculous ability to quickly find missing papers - like when we needed our codes for Netfile, to do our taxes.  However, admittedly, there are the dozens of other times where I wished I could find a receipt or previous bill and have lacked the information I've needed at a crucial time.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I've raised the standard for my kids, and to be fair, I must also rise to that standard.  I can't expect them to be neat-freaks when they can walk into my room and see mountains of blankets on my unmade bed; mountains of clean laundry on the floor, waiting to be put away; and mountains of papers scattered on nearly every flat surface!

Sigh... I don't feel quite as exuberant about the work that is to come, but I know I'll feel so much better once it is accomplished. 

1 comment:

Mom 2 Many said...

so with you on that one, my desk is buried under paperwork right now, too . . . it's on my "hitlist" for today!