Good morning, Five Minute Families. Thank you for joining us this morning. For the past three weeks we have discussed roles in the family – leadership, management, and child roles. Leadership is often discussed in terms of servant leadership. Managers that pitch-in and help out are often praised, considered more likeable and approachable. Kids of certain ages often ask to help with any new task, and some parents are great to encourage their kids to help them. But, in all this helpfulness, are you REALLY helping? Or, are simply feeling better about yourself because you participated in some part of another person’s task? Let us explain with an example.
I despise cooking. I truly do not find any joy in it whatsoever, but my husband does not even view it as a chore. He listens to our likes and dislikes and caters to our desires while giving us nutritious, delicious food. Early in our marriage, Jim and I divided kitchen duties on his days off with his doing the planning, prepping, and cooking, and my doing all the cleaning. For twenty-five and a half years, with some flexible variations, that has worked. Until recently. One of our children has to have some major dietary changes that require me to plan, prep, cook, and clean at least three meals a day from scratch just for him. Some parts of each meal can cross over to the rest of us, but for many meals over the last five weeks, I have been making up to four different mains or side dishes to meet the needs of the different family members. I kept getting more and more frustrated on the days Jim would cook. He did not clean up. One Sunday morning I had to take 20 minutes cleaning before I could prepare the food safely for our kiddo.
I never needed to worry about ending the task of cooking because Kim enjoyed cleaning, and we both willingly divided that task into its parts instead. Every task has something that ends it, that closes it out … and that is usually cleaning up. Doing homework on the dining table? Clean up the pencils, papers, and books. Mowing the lawn? Clean the sidewalks, gather the leaves in the compost after cleaning the bottom of the mower and putting it away. Cooking a meal? Clear the table, wash the dishes, and clean the countertops. How many times, five-minute parents, have we called a child back to end the task they had been on before they move on to another?
The thing is… I was becoming overwhelmed with the amount of cleaning that our son’s type of cooking involves. I am the one who needs a change from what has worked for us for more than 25 years. I didn’t know how to explain it; I didn’t realize why I was frustrated or angry at times. But, God is so good. A facebook reel popped up on my feed about mental load and the need for one person to “end the task” so that that task does not add to the load of another family member.
Since we can have faith in God completing his tasks – Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – we must also have good faith in completing the tasks set before us. As 1 Corinthians 14:40 reminds us, we should do everything decent and in order. And, Proverbs 18:9 cautions us that “whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” As the managing of our home, if I call, for example, an electrician, he or she will not be called again if they leave a mess at my home. If, however, they clean up after themselves, I am very likely not only to call them again myself but to also recommend them to my friends. We all need to learn to complete the tasks we take on, or we are not being helpful to our family members.
So, to truly be helpful:
- Discuss division of chores and tasks.
- End the tasks you have on your responsibility’s list.
- If someone is overwhelmed, listen fully to the other person’s needs.
- If take on someone else’s task, end the task. If you don’t know what that means for this new-to-you task, ask.
- If you cannot complete the total task, communicate clearly what part of a task you can do.
The concept of ending the task is not a new one, but the idea that doing just part of a task in hopes of being a rescuer and helper may be new to some of us. You know, Jim, so much of what we encourage five-minute families to do is communicate.
Yep. Communicate, friends! We enjoy sharing the Five Minute Family devotional with you each week. Please consider reaching out to us on our website clearviewretreat.org to let us know what you think. And, now is the time to book your Family Camp or Marriage Retreat for 2023! We hope to meet you soon. Be blessed!
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