My family, though, often doesn't. I do a lot of reminding and asking for children to come put their things away. Every trip from the car to the house involves bringing something back. I realize that somewhere along the way, I learned to do this. I'm not sure exactly when. As I stood near some moms during VBS this summer, one mom was talking with another about her son never remembers to put anything away. So, I knew it wasn't just my kids with this struggle.
In her new book, Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day, Glynnis Whitwer talks about this struggle to take 3 more steps to put something away. She goes into detail about talking one thing at a time. For her, it started with her bathrobe. She goes on to explain how that applies to us and how to tackle the things we don't have the energy for. I liked Ms. Whitwer's tone in her book. It wasn't critical or harsh like one book I read about organization a few years ago.
There are many things that I agree with in this new book from Bethany House Publishing. For example, on pg. 69, she says, "A wise and loving parent trains children to do things they don't feel like doing, such as get along with siblings, clean up after themselves, and do their homework. Very few children are born with the motivation to act in selfless ways...By teaching them responsibility, we raise children to be mature adults. We train them to do the right thing, and hopefully the benefits are positive enough to reinforce the behavior. Perhaps we need to return to this model of training for ourselves in order to do what's right in spite of how we feel." It's hard to choose to do what we don't want to do in a culture that constantly tells us that we should always be able to do what we want to do.
This quote brings to mind the Life is Good shirts in my drawer. I like the clothing of this company because of the optimistic and fun sayings on the shirts, but I've always twisted the company's slogan in my mind. The slogan is: "Do what you love. Love what you do." Instead of focusing on the idea that we should all do what we love to do and then you'll love what you do, I've always taken this to remind me of Ecclesiastes 3:13: "also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man." To enjoy our work and food is a gift from God. I think it isn't so much about getting to do what we want to do--but enjoying what God gives us to do.
Ms. Whitwer's book is for someone who really wants to dig in and focus in on getting their to do lists done, but is struggling to get them done. Her book is very matter of fact, yet not condemning or critical. She speaks from her own experience (which I think is always important in this type of book). If you're looking for a book on this subject, this might be one that would encourage you.