A Life Lesson: Clean Your Room!
by Elizabeth Beck
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and the young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV
I was reading Jim Watkins article “You might be a Parent IF”. This article had me rolling on the floor, clearly seeing myself in almost all 30 quotes! One, however, stood out above all the others. It was “Clean up your room!” It reminded me of one particular afternoon of non-stop persuading my three year old to clean her room. Now I know we as parents are constantly saying this to our children. We say it so often that sometimes I don‘t believe we know we are saying it. I remember one particular day when I said this phrase to my three year old daughter over and over again. “Go, Clean up your ROOM!”
How many times must I repeat myself? I was getting exasperated. I tried everything from telling her which toy to pick up first, to physically handing her the toy to place in the toy box. She refused to touch any item I held before her. I was thinking this is outright rebellion! She was testing me. Was I failing the test? I believe I was. I resulted to screaming, then to punishing, and finally to threatening; all to no avail. This went on for three hours. Yes! Three hours of tears on both ends. She was holding her ground, and I was standing firmly on mine.
Questions invaded my mind. Who was going to win this one? What kind of parent would I be if I let a three year old live in a messy room and let her get her way with not cleaning up? What message am I sending to my child? How can I handle this differently and still get the results I want? After three hours of begging, pleading, and yes, screaming, I was tired, my three year old was tired, and I still had a messy room. Exasperated, I called my neighbor and told her the hard time I was having. Crying, I asked her what was I doing wrong? Why won’t my daughter just comply with my simple request? She asked if I wanted her to come over and I readily agreed. I needed a breather and so did my daughter.
My dear friend came over and talked with my crying daughter calming her down with little effort on her part. I couldn’t hear what she said through the door. I would have to ask her later. Five minutes passed by and she opened up the bedroom door. A smile in my daughter’s eyes replaced the tears. Before my friend left she asked her if she wanted to pray and ask Jesus to help her clean up her room. She bobbed her head up and down eagerly. There in the hallway right outside of the room they prayed a simple prayer asking Jesus for help cleaning her room.
Why didn’t I do that? Why in my troubles did I not turn to God for strength to help me like my daughter was now doing? I pondered this as I walked my friend to her car with gratitude in my heart. I told her about all my efforts that hopelessly failed. She reminded me when times get tough, you need strength and that strength can only come from God.
After seeing her off, I turned around only to find my daughter sitting on the front porch steps. I could feel the exasperation I felt before. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Why aren’t you cleaning your room?” “I thought you prayed a prayer asking Jesus to come help you!” “Why are you sitting here?” I could hear my voice beginning to get higher pitched. She looked into my eyes and said as sweetly as she could, “I am sitting here waiting for Jesus to come help me clean my room mommy!” I took a deep breath, asked God for strength, and said “ Lets have a snack before we head back into your room.” Then I picked her up, gave her a hug and walked inside.
Written by Elizabeth Beck
Elizabeth Beck is the wife of John Beck She is a Home Manager and mother of three ages 4, 2, and 7 months. She resides in Rock Hill, SC. You can send comments about this article to:
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