The flash of inspiration I received at the temple this year is a testimony to me that God cares about even the little details in my life. And He is willing to help.
Since my children have outnumbered my limbs, and especially since beginning homeschool, I had been struggling to involve my young family in helping with household chores. I grew up with an amazing mom who kept a super clean house while we all went off to school, so I had high expectations for home cleanliness, perhaps too high for a new homeschooler.
Several of my children are part tornado and the daily messes and chaos were piling up and driving me insane. One year, as an elaborate birthday gift, my husband hired a housekeeper who came twice a month for the whole year. I am not going to lie, that was blissful! As lovely as that was, it wasn’t preparing my little people to become the responsible and capable adults I dreamed of. So, (after our magical year was over) I was back to the drawing board figuring out a way to keep our home in order.
I wanted to heed the counsel given in the Doctrine and Covenants 88:119,
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God”.
And I knew "that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which the Lord commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7) So there had to be a way!
As I sat in the temple thinking of God’s beautiful creations, it occurred to me that the creation of the universe is a perfect pattern for parents to follow in creating a house of order. Who better to learn from than the Parent of all parents? Creating the perfect, orderly, beautiful, learning laboratory for his children, God did the following:
- God didn’t do it all in one day. He split the work into manageable chunks.
- He delegated tasks to help others learn important skills.
- He gave clear instructions as to what he wanted accomplished.
- He implemented a pattern of returning and reporting when the task was complete.
- He took time to enjoy the work that was completed.
- He sanctified the seventh day and rested from His labors.
Implementing these patterns into our family has been surprisingly fun and, miraculously enough, we’ve proven successful in creating and maintaining a house of order. Below are some pictures and descriptions of how we have applied these ideas in divvying out the big cleaning chores in our home. The ways to apply God’s pattern are as individual as your family, but I hope that sharing our family’s idea can help others create a house of order, and most importantly, a house of love.
At our house we took each day of the creation and tried to think up chores that coordinated so it would be easier to remember. The kids had fun thinking of clever connections. For Example:
1st Day, "And God divided the light from the darkness." Dividing lights and darks? Laundry Day!
2nd Day, "And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." Water up and water down? Bathroom and Kitchen.
3rd Day, "And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered unto one place and let the dry land appear." The only way to have our dry land appear is to clear the floor and vacuum. Also watering plants works well for the third day.
4th Day, "And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons." We see seasons out the windows. So 4th day is cleaning windows, doors, mirrors, and shiny surface.
5th Day, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life and fill the waters in the seas." We have a turtle in a large fish tank so we clean it on this day and also do any mopping in the house.
6th Day, "And God made the beast of the earth after his kind. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over all the earth." We take care of our dogs living spaces this day and also clean and dust our own bedrooms.
7th Day, "And God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very good." We enjoy together.
We made little notecards with the specific chores listed on them, illustrated them with magazine and paper clippings and laminated them. (I'm always looking for a good excuse to cut up magazines and laminate something!) In the morning I assign a child to each chore by putting their initial beside it in dry erase marker. As each completes the chore they check it off the list and report to me so we can "See that it is Good". We attached all the cards to a ring and hung on the refrigerator with a dry erase pen attached so we always know where to find it.