We don't really watch TV in our house. We have Netflix movies come, and we own a ton of movies. But, we can go days without turning anything on. We aren't anti-television, per se. I would never say that TV is horrible. But, I will tell you that kids who don't have a lot of "sit down and veg out in front of the TV" (or video games) time will find a lot of opportunities to be creative. This Tee-pee built just prior to Thanksgiving? The result of no TV. That, and we have tons of scrap building materials laying around.
This creativity is great! It's awesome! It builds team work most of the time! But let me tell you what- it also builds a huge mess, all the time. That tee-pee? Before they could dismantle it, a huge wind storm with 50 mph gusts cam through and the tee-pee is no more. It is spread all over tarnation. The kids' bedrooms? DISASTROUS. A complete mine field of Legos, dirty underwear (really?!?), and socks. Clean clothes and dirty clothes mixed together. It's like the last days! It is an unnatural and unholy mess of kid debris.
To be honest, I tolerate a small amount of mess daily. It doesn't have to be perfect. But this morning I went in to each bedroom because amazingly, no one had any clean clothes to wear, and one couldn't find her shoes. I took a good look around and made an executive decision right there: throw everything into the middle of the room. EVERYTHING. Oh, do they have some organizing to do when they get home today.
While we were in the car waiting for their "bus" (thanks Mrs. Gibson!), I told them it was time for family prayer. (We do ours in the car. Sue me.) I had just got done laying into them about helping around the house, mom doesn't get time to "play" and so forth. I told them they would be spending today, tomorrow, and Saturday cleaning up their mess on the inside and outside of the house. No Duck Dynasty episodes (we just started watching season one- so behind, I know), no movies... nothing. They were all silent. I ask Ed to say the prayer. It went like this.
"Ed, will you say the prayer?"
"I can't." He is sniffling. He had tears in his eyes. This surprised me, because while I was chewing them out, I wasn't mad or mean about it. Just very stern and serious, and they knew I meant business.
"Why can't you pray?" I ask.
"Because of what you said."
I am running my lecture through my head looking for something totally offensive or contentious that I said. I'm coming up empty. So I ask him, "What did I say?"
He sniffs again, and says, "About the cleaning! I can't clean for that long! That's just too much."
Oh my goodness, I cracked up. Belly laughing. I am going to convince myself that those were tears of empathy. Because I can't clean that long either!
I love my kids. Mess and all. (They will still have to clean up though. Messiness makes me stressed out, man.)