Good morning, Five Minute Families. These past few weeks have definitely been different for our family. We know that God is in control, and He has a plan for us. Yet, I struggled a lot this week to think of an idea or topic for the Five Minute Family. And, then, I saw an empty toilet paper roll.
Toilet paper rolls are like family arguments… To not quote a popular but rude phrase… they happen. A Mirror UK survey showed that “of those who admitted to leaving an empty toilet paper roll in place, while 43 per cent ‘forget’, 23 per cent simply can’t be bothered while 15 per cent don’t even know where the toilet rolls are kept.”
Many of our family arguments resemble those toilet paper roll stats… sometimes we just forget, sometimes we don’t want to be bothered, and sometimes we are not properly equipped to handle a situation. In fact, 2019 statistics show that 70–80% of US adults consider their families to be dysfunctional in some way, which pretty much means we are all dysfunctional, so let’s figure out better ways to relate to one another.
Here are some lessons we can learn as a family from an empty toilet paper roll:
- Work on instilling the idea – kindly – in each member of the family that “If you see something that needs to be done, do it right then.” We cannot assume that someone else will have more time than we have.
- Someone else may truly be that unobservant. Common sense isn’t actually all that common. No, not because people are stupid, but because there are many skills and socially acceptable and expectable behaviors that are no longer being taught and thus are no longer common.
- What you see as trash, others see as potential. Now, Jim composts, so he still sees the toilet paper roll as not something to be gotten rid of; he uses it for a good purpose. If there is a teacher in your family, he or she may need the rolls for crafts at school. You get the idea.
- Make a plan (or formally verbalize a plan) for sharing the tasks that need to be done around the house. Jim will refill soap dispensers but not say anything about it to others. Talk about those things that each person likes, dislikes, or can tolerant doing. Discuss how each member of the family can be a blessing to one another even in the simple things.
- Young kids usually like to help. Encourage them and keep helping them, too. This is a great opportunity to connect with your kids and encourage a one anothering lifestyle. Ask about those things that your kids especially would like to take ownership of. Here at CVR, our youngest son goes around and checks the fire extinguisher hoses every month to make sure they are not clogged in any way.
As you contemplate ways to avoid letting needed tasks lead to family arguments remember that sometimes we find ourselves arguing about things we would otherwise let slide. If you find your family is arguing more than normal, take a pause. Pray and ask God to reveal to you what has been going on to create this added tension and then make adjustments as needed.
God reminds us in Psalm 113:7, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the trash heap.” And, He gives us a beautiful example in the book of Luke. The prodigal son found himself being treated as something akin to trash in his wanderings away from the protection of his father’s home. When he returned, his father did not see his trashed life, his father only saw the past beauty and future potential of his son. He demonstrated his unconditional love, despite his son’s complete lack of contributing in any way to the family or the family business. Do you love your children like that, mom and dad? Do you need to handle the empty toilet paper rolls differently? I know there are certainly times when I do.
James 4:1-2 states, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
Often we spend more time on our phone while on the throne than we do thinking about others throughout the rest of the day. If we as parents demonstrate and promote examining ourselves and being self-controlled in our desires, then that can carry over in our conversations with our family.
Take time today to not only talk about the tasks that need to be done around the house but also why the hearts of your loved ones are important as the doers or receivers of those tasks. Be blessed!