With not an inch of space to walk and the stench of a locker room emanating from the boy’s room, kitchen counters sticky from lemonade making and gently asking for two weeks daily for the sugar spilled on the kitchen table to be picked up before we were visited by ants, I finally flipped out. Granted, the sugar spills were daily in a new location and the sticky countertop was wherever the lemonade had made that day, at 17 you’d think he would pick stuff up right? Wrong!
My 17 year-old said, “You act as if we are doing this TO YOU. We aren’t. We simply don’t think about it. My teacher says you should only do what you are passionate about. Nothing else. I am trying to live that.”
I said, “Yeah well your teacher lies because he can’t say everything he does he is passionate about.”
“Yes he can, he loves teaching!!”
“He may love teaching but does he love getting to work on time, having meetings, meeting deadlines, and all that goes with that? Your dad loves preaching but he hates parts of his job. He does them because they allow him to pursue his passion. With everything you do, there are parts of it that aren’t so great but you do them to get to do what you want.”
“NO! He really doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do.”
“Whatever! Do you have groceries in this house?”
“Have you had them here for the last 10 years?”
“Well, I hate grocery shopping so what if I just stop doing that? Since it isn’t my passion?”
The eyes begin to look desperately for the next argument to prove his point.
“You see, you want more responsibility but you aren’t handling what you’ve been given. Until I see that you are taking care of this stuff, I can’t give you more.”
Yes, sometimes we look more like the Roseanne Barr Show than the average family.
There’s a bigger issue here. You see, we’ve created this monster, and it’s not just in our home, it’s in your home as well, and in many other homes. It’s the American spirit that has brought us to this mess. It’s this ideal that I was created to only do what I want to do and we should all live out our lives happy and entitled. Dishes should magically clean themselves and beds should come with a remote control that pull the sheets up. Work should be an afterthought or for the idiots who haven’t figured out what they were created to do.
And just to be clear here, I am not asking for perfection. I’m fine with closing the door to the kids rooms, but when the smell starts creeping down the stairs or when the dirty stinky shirt is on the kid who needs a ride in my car, it’s then that I have an issue.
There are things we do, not because we want to, but because we are part of a community and that requires the good of the whole, not the one. We need to get back to center and it starts in our home first.