Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #40–Attention to Cleaning Detail

child-cleaning-roomAs you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 40 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

I know you’ve already noticed it’s a lot easier to do the vacuuming yourself than to take the time to be sure your  child does it correctly. You’ve probably had a curtain sucked into the vacuum cleaner, a breakable destroyed while a child dusted the desk, and multiple streaks have always remained all over the curio cabinet glass or the deck door.  Little helpers are rarely ever really that. It’s important, though, to remember that keeping a pristine house is a distant second priority to keeping clean little hearts devoted to service and submission.
So let them clean. But don’t overwhelm them. A big job like “Go clean your room” may be just too big for a four-year-old, while “Let’s clean off this shelf” may be a lot more reasonable. Thus, a cleaning rotation for little ones sometimes works better. Once you’ve picked out a doable job, then show your child, in detail, giving step-by-step directions and checking each step before proceeding to the next step.
For instance, actually cleaning a shelf might involve these steps.
1. “Carefully lay everything that is on this shelf on the floor and come get me when you’re done with that.”
2. Brag on the completion of number one. Then say, “Go through all of this stuff on the floor and pick out what you think we need to throw away.” Then show me that pile.
3. Make sure that pile has been reasonably assessed and then instruct him to get a bag, put the stuff to discard in it, and take it to the trash.
4. Give your child a dusting glove or rag and instruct him to wipe every spot on that empty shelf. “When you are done, come get me.”
5. Then instruct him to dust each item that’s going back on the shelf. Check each one of these steps behind the child.
6. Then have him make piles of like items before placing them back on the shelf. For instance, a pile each of books, action figures and money.
7. Give the child appropriate containers in which to place the action figures and the money.
8. Give the child praise each time you check his work.
9. Ask him to line up the books on the shelf. Then check those and help him, finally, to arrange the containers on the shelf.
10. Talk about how good it feels to finish a job.
I know that this post seems very elementary and that I have insulted your parental intelligence. But, because I have recently been involved in talking with a good family whose house has a very hard time functioning due to an extreme lack of organization and common sense about cleaning, I wanted to put these suggestions out there for servant development. I was one of those unwise moms who would ask my very young children to go and clean their rooms.  (Translate that “rearrange                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           the clutter, the dust and the random old snack foods.”) Because I learned the hard way, I want to be sure to say that servanthood best grows in an arena of self-confidence. Thus, assigning tiny phases of bigger jobs and paying attention to the details of their completion helps kids learn to organize tasks, categorize belongings,  and assess progress (all of which, as a bonus, by the way, are preparing them to use the scientific method in doing research later on.)
Again, I know you’re exhausted by the time you get that one shelf cleaned off. But you are preparing your child to serve others in the very most selfless and thorough way possible. You are teaching him or her the concept of Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men…”  You’re also teaching a big chunk of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31. And, one day, when they are teens, this laborious kind of teaching will pay off. They will actually know how to help you keep your house ready for service and hospitality.

Sister to Sister: THIS (seminar) & THAT (visit).

Unknown-12I’m looking forward to some excruciatingly busy, but unbelievably blessed times. This weekend, Glenn and I will be at the Macland Road church in Marietta, Georgia ( to talk about marriage and the family. It’s called the “You’re Singing My Song” seminar and we always love doing these. I think it’s one of the most tangibly rewarding things God lets us do. We get to actually see the results of doing marriage God’s way and we hear over and over, through emails and Facebook and even phone texts from attendees that a big decision to do family Biblically makes all the difference in the temperament of home. In fact, it makes the word “home” sweeter and the concept of family the haven that God intended it to be.

Then, the following weekend, my daughter, Hannah and I will be speaking a bunch of times at a women’s retreat near Trion, Ga. I love the topic of “Renewal” that they have chosen. I love, even more, the scriptures that will form the basis of our discussions. From Psalm 51, we will be discussing the creation of a clean heart and the renewal of a right spirit. From Romans 12:1,2 we will address the renewal of the mind: refusing to conform to the world and mind transformation. So excited about these six lessons. I think we are doing a question and answer session, as well. God has the answers if we really want them for daily instruction and practice. Let me know if you want info about this retreat. I am not sure how full the accommodations are, but I can put you in touch with the one who knows.

Yesterday I had the blessed opportunity to go and visit with one of our elderly, but young in spirit, women, Mrs. Nancy Cantrell. There has never been a moment since I have known Mrs. Nancy, when I have not deeply admired her. She and her faithful husband lived together many years in his service, doing mission work and just taking the precious gospel to all who would listen. Truly, she is one of the most evangelistic sisters I have ever known. For several years now, she has been living alone and spending every day in the anticipation of being reunited with her dear husband around the throne. She has faithful adult children and grandchildren. She IS the Titus 2 older woman, for sure.

It’s rare that I get to be the younger woman of Titus 2 these days, so I wanted to take advantage of Mrs. Nancy’s offer to help me with my embroidery software for my Bernina sewing machine. She’s taken the time to monogram many, many gifts, including graduation and wedding towels for Hannah, Christmas dish towels for me, and a beautiful handmade Bible cover that I treasure.  Can I just tell you that I basked in the pleasure of getting to go to her house and have fresh brewed coffee while she showed me a thing or two I needed to know about my embroidery program. I cannot think of anything that could have put me in Titus 2 more directly than my visit with Mrs. Nancy. She exudes every quality of this verse:

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things…

And, she spent her precious morning teaching me some improvements I could make in one aspect of being a “keeper at home”….Titus 2 still works today just the same as it did in the first century. I love the timeless quality of practical New Testament teachings.

I’m telling you, younger women…if you have somebody in your life who fills this bill, you’d better take advantage of her friendship and counsel. The days are coming quickly when, in our feministic world and, sadly our culture-influenced church, women with the Titus 2 qualities will be few and far between. Even if I hadn’t learned a thing about my software, my visit would have been worth it simply for the Titus 2 osmosis from which God knew we would benefit when he gave the instruction that links younger women up with older women in Christ.

That’s the way it is. God’s best is reserved for His children. Thankful for His best this week.