Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life Lesson - Pick up your stuff!

Another life lesson that I had to learn in that small context of camping in a pop-up is that things need to be put away. You can't just take stuff out and leave it out because a small camper would soon be overwhelmed if everyone did that. I suppose there are some men who have the innate knowledge and habit to only take out one thing at a time and then put it away when they're finished. That is what we learned in kindergarten, but it never did get ingrained in my nature and so I tend to strew things until I frustrate myself enough with my mess that I pick it all up and make it neat again. That's the way it is with my desk and closet for example.

I have that same trouble with tools. I can't tell you how many hours I have spent looking for a certain wrench, trying to remember the last project where it was needed and then finally finding it with a screwdriver and tape measure right where that project had been completed three months ago! I'm still missing a sledge hammer and ax that were probably left leaning up against a tree somewhere years ago.

In the small confines of the camper, I learned that I need to put away what I take out. If I take off sneakers in order to put on sandals, the sneakers need to be put away otherwise someone will trip over them or a cabinet door won't be able to open. When we are finished with a meal, the dishes need to be done and put away immediately because there are other things waiting to use that space.

Now when I say I learned this lesson, it means that it is much more up front in my mind, but my nature is to leave things out. I've heard so many people say about different areas in their life, “That's just the way I am.” And this is the way I am, but it is not right. God is a God of order, structure and organization and I believe that He wants us to be the same way since we are made in His image. Therefore as I have gotten older, I have become better at putting things away as I finish using them. It's not easy for me, because it takes every ounce of energy I have to force myself to put that hammer back on the pegboard or that tape measure back in the tool box. It only takes a minute and I know that, but it goes against my nature. But I'm learning.

So, men, here's my message for you today. Pick up after yourself. Don't make your wife do it. It's not her job. I'm trying to make it so that I don't leave tracks. I try to wipe up spilled milk, sweep up sand I've tracked in, and put away books I've been reading.  When we leave things laying around we  make more work for our wife plus we make it more difficult to teach our children the importance of putting their things away. So begin today. Force yourself to think about each thing you are tempted to leave out. Did you take off your shoes so you could lie down on the couch? Then walk them to the closet and put them away. Or at the very least when you get ready to go to bed at the end of the day, pick up all of the things you've left laying around and put them where they go. Can your wife tell you got out some cookies for a snack? Are there crumbs on the counter or the open box still sitting out? Put everything away and clean up your mess.  It's pleasing to God, makes less work for you wife and provides a good example for your children.

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