Monday, 7 January 2013

Honey Don't!

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Source for this image here.

"Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever". (Deuteronomy 4: 39 - 40).

Do you know what a "honey-do" list is?

I didn't, until a few years ago, when I read about how some women like to leave their husbands lists of chores or tasks that they think need doing, and that these are affectionately known as "honey-do" lists.  According to Wikipedia, this is a play on the word "honeydew" (which I think is a sort of melon?), though I am not sure how the connection between fruit and lists is made!  I think it's rather a sweet term - but I have never used them.
In truth, although the term is very cute, I'm not keen on the idea of giving my husband a list of chores to do.  For one thing, it's not really my place, as his helpmeet, to be telling him what I want him to do.  He's the head of our home, and in that sense, he's the one who decides how the home should be run - and that includes who is responsible for which chores.  The chores that he's responsible for (such as DIY, repairs, car maintenance and suchlike), he takes care of, and the ones that I'm responsible for (such as the housework, meal preparation and childcare) I take care of.  That way he doesn't have to worry about whether the work I am responsible for is getting done - that's up to me!  Giving a husband a list of chores to do is really only a pretty way of nagging him - it's a little less direct than actually asking him, but nevertheless, that is what I would be doing, if I gave Papa Bear a list of things I thought needed doing around the home.

Of course, there are always things that need doing around most homes!  Papa Bear is very practical (it's second nature to him, because of his profession) and is one of those husbands that actually enjoys fixing things, general maintenance and DIY (lucky me!).  But that doesn't mean he does all that kind of thing at home!  There are quite a few DIY tasks that I've learned to do myself - so that I don't have to ask Papa Bear!  I can unblock a sink, plumb a washing machine, replace a light fitting, mend a broken door handle, assemble flat-pack furniture (with the help of the cubs) and redecorate a room.  That's not to say I do always do these things - but Papa Bear knows that if necessary, I can!  Sometimes I may not be able to do them quite as well as he can - so I've learned to check with him before I get started!

How then do we keep our home running smoothly, without me feeling I need to ask Papa Bear to do chores?  Well, we have a very simple solution.  It's called the dining table!  Yes, our dining table is not only where we share all our meals - it is also our organisational hub!    It's where we sort out all the business of the day, and decide together what needs doing, how and when. Usually we do this when we eat breakfast, as this is the meal we are most likely, these days, to eat all together as a family.  We share our family devotions, and discuss the day ahead, and anything that has happened since the morning before.   Aside from the regular chores that I have allocated in my "daily treasures box", I will also have one-off chores that may only need doing once in a while - and it's at breakfast that we will identify these, and decide who best to undertake them.  Papa Bear and the cubs also have different chores that they do, and together we discuss and share about the priorities and ways in which our different duties will be carried out.  We don't only talk chores, of course - but it is good to have these all organised, and of course everyone is in happy agreement about what was going to be done, when and by whom, when we have talked our day through together in this way.  Papa Bear tends to do the allocating, and then we talk together in detail about what needs to be done.

It's so much nicer to sit together as a family and discuss the things that need doing in the next few days and weeks, and to share together how best we would achieve our goals.  One of the best things about approaching the running of the home in this way is that we are all accountable to each other then - and it is also a great way to model to the cubs what they will need to consider, when they become responsible for their own homes and chores.  It's a lovely way to ensure that the bonds that tie our family together remain intact, and the shared sense of responsibility, with Papa Bear at the head of the home, having the final say in what happens and how, is very reassuring for all of us.  Our roles as members of our small family are all different, but together we make up a whole - and we are all so very glad to be part of this unique unit, that God has blessed in so many ways.  

Of course, I do leave Papa Bear notes sometimes - but they are never "to-do" lists.  They might be a "you're great" list, though!

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord".  (Ephesians 6: 1 - 4).

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