One of our sons just turned the ripe old age of 20, and do you know how he celebrated? He super-cleaned his room.
Yep, this is the guy who put his clothes on inside-out and backwards until he was 18. This is the guy who didn’t change his socks for weeks (can I say pewwwweee!?). This is the guy who thought that rolling clean clothes up and stuffing them under the bed was the same as putting them away.
But there he was, pulling everything out from under the bed, organizing and dusting all of his furniture; he even DECLUTTERED!
I have to say, the results were better than any of his younger sisters could have done (he has seven of these).
I was floored, I was flabbergasted, I was found passed-out on the floor!
In my mind I was searching for a reason for the change; was it something I said? Was it something I did? How did this happen?
I think it had to do with maturity.
Somehow, even though I have often given up hope on different children over the years, there comes a point when they really begin to “get” it. Somehow all of the lists, and the meetings, and the nagging trickle down from their minds into their hearts, and they begin to clean and keep things orderly because they want to.
The other day I paid a call on one of my grown daughters. Her home was so very inviting, with all sorts of tasteful decorations that she had spent hours compiling and placing just right. Her kitchen was spotless, delicious-smelling food was simmering on the stove, and the surfaces were clean and polished. This was the same child that left piles of clothes on the floor in her teen years, who didn’t think it was worth her time to learn how to clean and maintain a vacuum cleaner.
I know we get tired of walking through the house and picking up socks and toys, straightening pillows, wiping down surfaces, but our efforts are important. Somewhere in the recesses of our children’s minds pictures of orderliness are being stored, and when they begin to take responsibility for their own lives, they will naturally navigate towards the examples we have set before them.
So, don’t give up, Mom. Keep making chore lists and strategies and instructing and nagging. You are sowing seeds that will influence generations to come.