Format: Trade Paperback
Family & Relationships - Parenting
My husband has peeked over my shoulder in curiosity this week as I have been engrossed in Kay Wills Wyma's book Cleaning House. Written as a narrative during a "twelve-month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement," the book is extremely readable. Each month for a year, Kay has chosen an area in which her children are put to work, with guidance and teaching from their mother. From keeping bedrooms tidy to preparing entire meals to doing laundry and learning etiquette, Kay provides a multitude of well-researched ideas, encouragement, and inspiration for moms eager to battle the "serve me" attitude we often enable in our children. Kay views the project through a God-lens, and is honest when she sees herself butting up against her own weaknesses. I cheered for Kay and her children at their successes, and was heartened by her honest assessments of things that didn't go so well. I admire the great deal of parental oversight and patience that Kay put into the project, as she overcame the very common dual parenting mistakes of "I can do it faster and better" and "You aren't capable of doing it." Kay's humor is captivating and self-effacing. Cleaning house left me with much food for thought, as well as ideas for immediate implementation in our own family life.
1) start young. Teenage push-back is a huge challenge 2) potential loss of money is a greater incentive than earning money. We are implementing the jar policy immediately. 3) your children can surprise you with their ingenuity, creativity, responsibility, and productivity.
I noticed that it seems like the more affluent the family, the greater the need for this type of intentional teaching. I am guilty of having the "just let me do it" perspective, due to time constraints or my own lack of patience, but many other responsibilities in our family have been shared by the children quite naturally -- helping in the kitchen, changing over the laundry, trimming shrubbery, and putting down grass seed -- because we don't choose to use our limited funds to have others do this for us. As I read, I had a difficult time relating on occasion because, despite evidence that money isn't exactly free-flowing in her household, I often felt that it is more free-flowing than it is in many households. For instance, when Kay's eldest got a volunteer job, she and her husband covered the "pay." Also, Kay mentions how her good friend comes by two days a week to help with her youngest child, but also does other things, like cycling through the laundry. And while this woman is a friend, she also sounds kind of like a part-time housekeeper. In another place, Kay refers to another family's need to eliminate two-day-a-week house cleaning as cutting expenses "to the nub."
Overall, this is a very useful book to have on one's shelves, as it gives a blueprint for getting children prepared for life's tasks, and prepares them for the world. Kay relates some chilling anecdotal and studies-based information on the difficulty today's young people have bridging the world of a praise-filled childhood and the cold world of work. Humans were designed to work, and I have seen in my own children that pride of accomplishment that comes from succeeding at doing something really challenging. Kay Wills Wyma's Cleaning House has further encouraged me to raise the bar. I have become convicted that I must take the time to show my children how to do things, and then give them patience as they master the task. It is a joy to watch them bask in the glow of their own accomplishment.
This review is part of the Blogging for Books program through Waterbrook Press, and they kindly sent a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest opinion.
Juvenile Fiction - Religious - Christian - Fantasy
Fiction - Christian - General