Sunday, November 22, 2009
*See the Preface to the “Saul’s Laws” page at the WordFeeder.
Let’s not forget Mom. She had her laws, too. This is one of them. Saul’s law #12 is really Minnie’s law of housekeeping: Straighten up as you go.
When I was a little kid, while my father was at work and my sister in school, I would follow my mother around the house while she did the cleaning. She was always talking to me, about everything, explaining in often meticulous detail precisely what she was doing. And she would give me little things to do to help her. Get this, put away that. No, she wasn’t training me to be the family housekeeper or cook. My mother just thought that you should learn as much as you could, every chance you got, that the more you learned, the better you’d be, not just at what you were learning, but at everything you did.
She was very efficient. Following her around our house – a single story ranch with a full basement – I would find myself hustling to keep up, almost running sometimes until a grew into a longer, more fluid stride. That’s how I learned her secret. From room to room, whenever she passed something that she could straighten up “on the fly,” so to speak, she did. Little things, here and there, and, before you knew it, the whole house was clean. In fact, it was this technique of hers that prevented the place from getting all that messing in the first place.
Mom taught me that big messes are much harder to clean up. Turns out, it’s a concept that applies to life, as well as housekeeping.
Most people thought my father was the smarter of my two parents. Thinking back to what I learned growing up, and which one of them taught me what have turned out to be the most valuable lessons… Thinking back, I’m not so sure. Pretty much of a tossup, if you ask me.
(My mother also taught me how to pick out fruit, and other things maybe I’ll write about later.)