Sunday, April 4, 2010

Have to Dos

A friend had this as their status line on Facebook yesterday:

When most of what you do is because of what you think you're supposed to do you begin to resent. Happy is the person whose "wants" and "shoulds" coincide.

It made me think of one year in first grade. That particular year we had a heck of a class. The previous year teacher filled out a card on each child to be passed on to the new teacher. These were laid out on the table to form classes. Even number of boys/girls, even race distribution, siblings not together, special needs given to the right personality of teacher, etc. This particular year over half the cards we got looked like this:

Shelby's card: Do not seat next to Evan.
Evan's card: Do not seat next to Terrence.
Terrence's card: Do not seat next to Angel.

On and on it went. Figuring out a seating chart that year was like doing one of those slider puzzles you get as carnival prizes. There are only four corners in a room people.

All I'm saying is it was a difficult year. And so "literacy centers", as we had been trained to use them....weren't happening. They broke, tore, or destroyed every single thing we made to be used in center time. Laminating didn't help. Steel bars might have.

And so the Have To Do and Want To Do system was born. When your regular work was complete, you had to do a certain number of Have To Do tasks before you could choose from the Want To Do tasks. They were kind of literacy center type tasks, but they had to be completed at their desk. One at a time. There were very few privileges given to that class. By the way, some classes are just like that. Our school shuddered all the way to 5th grade with that group. I think we heard the middle school teachers scream the next year, but none of us were willing to go investigate.

Anyway, it drives me crazy when I hear Sweetheart talk about not liking school. What? You have it so good kid! One day she told me, "All us kids in my Bible class are sad that spring break is over. We don't want to go back to school!" I know she's picking up the "school sucks" attitude from friends who go to school but I'm not sure how it applies to her.

I promise all this is going to come together in a minute.

In the morning I am facing down a house that has fallen apart a bit over the weekend. I have to find the homeschool table again. There is laundry. Grocery shopping needs to be done. I am not looking forward to it. Where did I pick up this "housework sucks" attitude?

I realized today that my have to do's better become my want to do's or I am going to be pretty miserable in life. Sweetheart too. We talked about how you don't have to like school work, but you can still like learning. I think a lot of it is just that when you wake up, the day is not yours. I have housework. She has school. Neither is what we WANT to be doing.

I think this is where having a grateful attitude comes in. Counting your blessings is truly a great way to start the day.

I am blessed with a working washer and dryer.
I am blessed with the money and car to go grocery shopping.
I am blessed to be home to clean the house.

She is blessed to have a say in what she does in school. And in what order.
She is blessed to get to learn God's word in school.
She is blessed to get lots of play breaks and be done really early in the day.

Can counting your blessings turn "have to do's" into "get to do's"? What do you think?


  1. Before I say what I think, I want to laugh about the insanity of how classes are picked at school. And I smiled when you said: I promise all this is going to come together in a minute. I know that feeling when the thoughts are coming so fast they are going in a direction not yet clear to the listener-or in this case the reader. On to the topic at hand:

    I, too, am facing a house left out of control after a busy weekend. I actually went to bed dreading it. In fact, I should be tackling it instead of commenting here. But I think I was meant to read this first. To get my attitude in check.

    So thanks.

  2. Thank you,I needed this today.


  3. I'm with Terry. I knew I had a house completely turned upside down when I went to bed last night-- but zero energy to do anything about it then. But, the blessing I am counting this morning? The fact that I get to be home, not rush off anywhere, and actually able to take care of this home and these children. My have to do is now my want to do. Thanks, Brenda. :)

  4. Wow.. number one good post and I too laughed when you said it would all come together... I wondered for a minute!

    But truly it what I tell myself and my kids ALL the time. In fact I am having this attitude in my scout troop and it frustrates me. Some requirements for a badge are great fun, but some are simply we need to plod thorugh this work to earn a badge and they dont like that part but we cannot simply alwasy do the fun part. I really dread the days when I KNOW I have to accomplish something mundain on that day because the girls will complain! Very frustrating.

    My kids too of course we deal with this attidude often. It also is simply put because we are SOOOOOOOO spoiled and we have so very very few true needs anymore that the want list becomes bigger than life I think. If our kids had more needs they might appreciate the wants more?

    How do we teach that when they have so few needs that they dont realize it. bread and water, lock the toys up, go no where pretending like you have no car? School for 8 hours with no recess or talking during lunch?

    Would those things maybe make our children feel more blessed????

  5. I totally agree with the comment line from Carrie "if our kids had more needs they might appreciate the wants more"
    I firmly think all children should participate in a missions program to see what other children have and compare their lifestyles back home with it. It's very eye opening for them and sometimes that's all that sticks in their minds.

  6. I don't know Carrie....we are rich indeed. I think some of it is not doing everything for our children. I'm hungry mom means you better come help get supper on the table b/c it's not going to magically get there! We are reading The Rag Coat this week and Minna had to stay home from school to help her mom b/c mom needed to sew for money. I don't want bad things to happen to our family....I'm not saying that. But there are many times that I have something else I could be doing that I put that off for needs. For example, I could get some sewing done, or pay bills or any number of things but I stop to fix a meal. My girls are fast approaching the age where they can be responsible for this. Helping meet needs (others and your own) instead of just always getting your own needs met goes a long way towards this. When you are working you don't have time to be dreaming up a wish list so much!?

    Also, getting rid of TV has done wonders for our girls "I want" list. It's much much smaller. They simply don't know how much stuff there is to want.

  7. I agree well as taking food to sick folks or visiting in hospitals (if able to). I think the way families are segregated into age-appropriate activities all the time and away from each other so much means kids don't get to see the needs and cares of adults very often. And sometimes they need to.

  8. Great post!!!

    I think needs can become wants when (like you mentioned here) our children are given the opportunity to serve others. Children can come up with some creative ways to do this!

    We are inundated with images of need here in SA, so I think my girls know how blessed they are. That doesn't stop them from complaining sometimes, though.

    You are so right about mom's attitude influencing the kiddos, the kiddos needing to be trained in pitching in. Lately we have been working together to clean the house, and the whole thing takes us about forty minutes. Including mopping!!

    That has helped me a lot. They are getting their training, and we ALL have more time to do the things we WANT to do. Like read together...etc. Thanks for the thoughts!

  9. Yes I agree... So really honestly whether it is a need or a want or even a true need or a little want it is ALL about the attidude regardless!

    It all boils down to attidude...


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)