Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Lessons From Mom

Today's lesson from Mom is "Keep your home neat and clean."

As early as I can remember, my mother had always taught us about keeping house. Whether it was folding our clothes, dusting, washing dishes, helping with the laundry, cooking, etc., she always taught us to do everything "nice and neatly."

She was famous for that phrase in our home.

"Put this away nice and neatly."

"Fold these nice and neatly."

"Put this in your drawers nice and neatly."

Everything was to be done nice and neatly.

In fact, there were times when Mom would go into our rooms without warning and check the state of our drawers. If they were not up to her standards, she would just dump the contents into the middle of the floor. When we came back from playing or school (I was home-schooled after fifth grade), we would see our little pile in the middle of the floor and knew what we needed to do. Mom didn't even have to tell us. We would just start folding and putting our things back into the drawers "nice and neatly".

When we were moving once, someone had my mom's drawers and was carrying them to the moving van. The person commented to my father that he had never seen someone's drawers so neat and orderly.

My mother practiced what she preached.

If you were to open my drawers right now, you would find that I learned my lesson well. All of my clothes are folded or hung, and everything has been placed in its spot "nice and neatly".

Our rooms were also our responsibility to keep clean. When we were little, Mom would help us make our beds, but as we got older, the job became ours. As with the drawers, if Mom saw that we didn't make our beds to the ability that we were capable of given our ages (my mother was no drill sergeant, but she did expect us to do what we were capable of), she would undo the bed and we would have to start over.

Today, if you were to look at our bed, you would see that I learned my lesson well. The bed is made first thing in the morning, pillows arranged just so, and the bedspread smoothed out "nice and neatly".

You see, my mother was preparing us for the real world- real life.

Her house was always very much lived in (we had no problem walking in and plopping down on the couch or hanging out in the kitchen if that was where she was), but everything was in such order that we could have unexpected guests and no one would be made to feel uncomfortable.

My mother's home was always so comfortable (to us and others) that people used to come over and leave late in the evening. Why? They felt comfortable in her home, and she felt comfortable having them (and, boy, did she know how to feed and serve her guests!). She didn't have to worry about the state of her house, the condition of the bedrooms, or what her bathrooms looked like.

She wanted us to know that feeling when we had homes of our own.

She used to call our bedrooms our "little house". We needed to take care of our little house, because one day, God would bless us with our own houses and we needed to know how to take care of them.

Today, you would see that I learned my lesson well. Anyone could walk up to my front door, ring the bell, and I would be ready to receive them because (almost) everything in my house has been put away "nice and neatly".

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