My four-year-old son was the only child that did not let out an exaggerated sigh when I announced that it was time for the kiddos to begin their chores. His older brother and sister reluctantly went to their assigned rooms to get their chores started. Little four-year-old skipped over to the pantry to grab the broom and dustpan.
My little Luke was happy to have a chore that mirrored his bigger siblings' because for so long he was treated as a baby who was unable to do chores. He was so excited that he had the privilege of having to do chores with his bigger siblings. The thrill was obviously long gone for my oldest two; however, this did not deter Luke.
As little Luke was sweeping, I noticed he was more concerned with all-too-distracting dust bunnies than actually getting the job done. Through the air, two-day-old crumbs and dust balls went sailing in the air, followed by a child’s gleeful sounds. I tried to gently redirect him so he would just get the chore done. ‘Done’ was my goal for him. He was just so happy to be trusted enough to do a chore, his little spirit was literally dancing and just happily oozing out of his little body!
I returned to the kitchen sink and finished up the dishes. Once again, I see him playing with the broom and twirling around as if he was waltzing with a dance partner. Now I am getting frustrated, we had things to do that day. The chores were just the beginning! I asked him to get the kitchen floor swept, as he was still not doing what was asked of him.
Running out of patience, I finally let out a serious “Luke… start sweeping, already! That is not how you are supposed to do it…come on…put the broom down, hold the dust pan… move the chairs away from the table… you know how to do this.”
He was unfazed. He smiled and danced his way towards the table to start again, in a different part of the kitchen. He did not see sweeping the floor as a boring chore, which was the gateway to our next action item. He saw it as an opportunity to have a little fun. He also saw it as a huge privilege. A-ha!
What if I changed my perspective a bit today? What if I viewed my have-to’s into opportunities? What if my to-do’s were privileges? What if, in doing so, I was able to enjoy the present moment a bit more and concentrate less on all of my have-to’s?
The more I thought about it, the more examples I found in my own experiences. For example, when we were displaced due to a house fire last year, we lived in a hotel for weeks--that did not have a kitchen floor to sweep (among many others things we did not have then). When I look at our kitchen floor that needed to be swept as a privilege instead of a chore that must be done quickly, my entire outlook changes.
What if we saw the January ‘de-Christmasing’ of our home into an opportunity to appreciate our Christian faith, specifically praying for those Christians are unable to outwardly practice their faith without fear?
What if we viewed laundry as the privilege of having healthy family members whose active bodies fill those clothes comfortably?
What if we viewed returning to work after some time off as an opportunity to utilize our God-given skillset, appreciate employment, financial stability, days off or even benefits like health insurance?
The holidays are over and life trickles back to normal and our to-do lists become a daily guide. Instead, let’s all try to change our perspective from have-to to privilege and see how our attitudes and stress levels change.
What are two have-to's that you can convert into privileges this week?
Copyright 2016 Meg Bucaro
Photos: Copyright 2016 Meg Bucaro. All rights reserved.
About the Author
As a college instructor, wife to “the Hubs”, Mom of three energetic children and a highly skilled PB&J sandwich maker, Meg shares the ups and downs of Motherhood in her candidly humorous writings and speaking programs. To learn more about how Moms can maintain a life with less stress and more peace by leaning on their Catholic faith, visit www.megbucaro.com.