Who knew the abundance of lessons hanging around the kitchen and its associated chores?!

Last night, one of the kids stepped up bemoaningly to put away the clean dishes and load the dirty ones. The standard, “I did that yesterday” whine, or “Why MEEEEEEE?!” protest, or “It never ends!!”  (ok, so that last one might have slipped from my lips) often fill the air. As is normally the case, the complaints fall on deaf ears. I’m an excellent ignorer.

Go-To-Girl steps into job of unloading the dishwasher with more of a surrender than can-do attitude… and her work showed it.

dishesLook good?

Maybe on the surface. The dishes are, in fact, in the cupboard. So she did the job. But did she do it well? No. Not so much.

How hard would it have been to put the plates in their spot. The little blue salad plates long to be with their friends on the upper shelf. Can’t you see it?! And, why put a bowl on plates when clearly his mates are next to the little blue plates? Plus they enjoy viewing the kitchen from the upper deck.

Her job was done, but not done well.

She shrugs me a cute little sheepish smile when I point out the lazy, half-done effort. Then she has to go back and do it over… do it right.

A year ago, I might have been so thrilled that she even unloaded the dishwasher, I would have smiled with pride and laughed off the unorganized effort. I look at it now for what it really is… half-cooked. She needs to learn how to do it right the first time. She needs to realize that if she doesn’t do it right, someone else will be required to come behind her and fix it. She needs to understand that in the same amount of time it took to put the dishes in the cabinet unorganized, she could have put them in the right spots. Now she has to spend extra time to go back and do the job well. Which she did.

I see it countless times throughout my day. Clothes picked up off the floor, but clumped on a bed rather than neatly put away in a drawer. Then comes the inevitable, “Where are my gym shorts?!” And really, how am I supposed to know where the shorts are hiding? And why do they ask me? If the kid had put his/her clothes away neatly… the shorts would be in their spot and easily found.

Then the old, “Where is the information for out taxes?” … Followed by the standard “I don’t know. Maybe in that big pile on my desk.” response. Yes. That’s me. Because the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. For anyone new to the MOAT, you will quickly see that perfection is far from the goal around here. I’m a recovering enabler, controller, manipu-finagler and procrastinator. That last one gets me all the time. The ever-optimistic, I’ll do it later approach. Like the kids I catch myself justifying half-effort wondering why it matters. They’re just dishes, clothes, documents. What difference does it make? But, “well done” needs to be the mantra for them as well as me. Because it does make a difference.

It might take some extra time, but boy will it be worth it – teaching our kids (remembering myself) to do it right and do it well the first time. Talk about a step up in life. Think of the freedom that gives your mind and your schedule.

All from a set of dishes. What other lessons just might be looming around the dishwasher? I’m sure many.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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