The pile was growing. A collection of cups, forks, plates and leftover food. My hand itched to pick it up. It would take no more than five minutes, and the eye sore would be gone. But what would that do for my son? He would learn that if left long enough dish piles would magically clean themselves up. “Don’t pick it up,” I reminded myself. This is a teaching moment that I would have to practice self control to drive in.
Later that day I invited my son to take a walk to the pile. I smiled and raised my eyebrows. He looked and said, “I guess I should take them to the kitchen.” I nodded and left him to take care of his pile.
Later that day I passed by his room, his pile was gone. I was proud of mom and son who had managed to seize a learning moment. Dishes need to be put away, we are each accountable to the processes of the whole, Pick up after yourself.
Two days later, a new pile began. I took a moment to reflect – this lesson might take more than once to get through. And maybe on this one I was partially to blame – I had been picking up the dish pile until recently. Sometimes we have to think of the molding of the person and not just the execution of clean.
“Don’t pick it up.” I reminded myself as I forced my feet to move past the door. Accountability and personal care these were the lessons at stake and a little longer dirty was an ok price to pay.