Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Learning to Do Laundry

Addie has been very attached to her room during playtime lately, so we just hang out in there with her. Since today was laundry day, I brought my basket into her room so she could keep playing, and I could get the laundry folded. And this is where God taught me my lesson for the day.

Instead of playing with her toys, Addie came over and got very excited about the clothes in the laundry basket. She began pulling them out and putting them on the floor behind her (she had a method and system). My first instinct was to say, "No, Mama. Mommy needs to fold these."

However, three things immediately came to mind almost at the same time. A very short paraphrase of Titus 2:3-5 came to mind. Now, please bear with me, as this verse says more than "Let your daughters help with laundry." The passage says, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored." (NAS)

The paraphrase that came to my mind was "Let the older women teach the younger women." By letting Addie play with the laundry, sort through the socks, and carefully put the clothes in and out of the basket, I was teaching her more than about laundry. I was teaching her that our duties here in the home are not only useful and necessary, but they can also be fun and a time of bonding. As she gets older, these times together over the laundry basket will become times of learning to fold, but they can also become times of good conversations, times of laughter, times of teaching from God's Word about everyday things that come up. Because she wasn't shooed away from the laundry basket this time, she will keep coming back, and it will become another place where our hearts can connect, another place where I will be able to teach her about the Lord and His love and provision for her.

Another thing that came to mind was something that my friend, Sherri, had told me once. She told me to let Addie "help" me even if it would be faster for me to do the job myself. It would help her learn how to be a helper, and when she gets older, helping Mommy will just be something she is used to.

My own mother came to mind, also. How many times as a little girl had I made the job harder by "helping" without any complaints from her? She used every opportunity to teach us the "hows" and "whys" of homemaking so that one day we could run a home of our own. Emptying the dishwasher, washing dishes, setting the table, folding laundry, ironing, making beds, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, and keeping our rooms clean became age-appropriate lessons that we were taught in home care. And because my mother took the time to teach me, even when it made the job take longer, I now know how to take the time to teach my daughter.

Yes, one day Addie will learn to fold the washcloths and t-shirts and socks the right way. But for now, I will be happy to let her hand me a pile of clothes because she thinks that is what I want her to do. (When she saw me take an item out of the basket she somehow thought I wanted her to hand me everything. I couldn't fold fast enough to keep up with her. Thankfully, she wanted the pile of unfolded clothes back, and we began the process all over again.) I will be happy when she starts going through the laundry basket as if she is somehow helping me get the job done faster, because I know all too soon she will be a big girl who can help, and I will miss these days right now.

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