What a mess! The large wicker basket atop her bookcase was overflowing with papers, partially completed art projects, empty toilet paper rolls, and tiny trinkets. It’s the spot where she’s allowed to keep things that are “special” to her. Somehow, the number of special items is always larger than the space dedicated for saving them.
Calling my daughter into the room, I placed the basket on the floor and began our typical solution to the problem. “Choose ten things to go into the trash.” I told her I’d be back momentarily to help.
When I re-entered the room, I took a seat beside her on the floor. It had come to me that an explanation might be in order. You see, having her keep her basket tidy is more than just a chore that keeps the playroom looking neater. It’s training.
Someday I see her with a home of her own, a place to manage all by herself. Part of my job as her mother is to prepare her for that day, to teach her how to have things neat and orderly. Rather than allowing her counters to be stacked with junk mail or the drawers to overflow with unnecessary paraphernalia, she can possess the skills to organize and store the things that are needed and get rid of the rest. Understanding how to maintain a neat and orderly environment can be a blessing in her future.
I discussed this with my daughter as we sorted through her things and created a nice pile to discard. Does this make a lot of sense to her at seven? Maybe not. I know that while it’s in my nature to be orderly, it’s not in hers and this will be a process, not a onetime correction. Yet in the meantime, we can continue this oft-repeated process with our long term goal in mind – and a big hug by the trashcan for good measure.