May 30

Son, Keep Your Domain in Order

2006 at 10:35 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Motherhood | Parenting Teenagers

I enjoy cleaning and putting things in order. (I know, there’s something wrong with me!) Chad, on the other hand, strongly dislikes these tasks. (Did I mention that my son is 13?) Now given our differing preferences, I would much rather be the one to clean up after Chad and maintain the order of his bedroom and bathroom. Chad would prefer that too. But all I have to do is think about Chad’s future wife and future employers—what his messy habits would mean for them (and what they would think of me!)—and I make him clean his room.

Actually, it’s not only Chad’s future relationships that motivate me to insist that Chad “keep his domain in order.” As Randy Stinson put it in his “Show Yourself a Man” article, “a life that is characterized by disorder is evidence of passivity.” Chad’s domain “should bear the mark of [his] masculinity as [he] subdues it and keeps it in order.”

Because I want Chad to honor his future wife and serve his future employers; because I want Chad to resist passivity and cultivate masculinity:

  • I have Chad clean his room and bathroom at the start of each day.
  • I make Chad hang up his towel on the rack, return clean clothing back to drawers or hangers and put dirty clothing into the hamper. (I recently discovered that everything—dirty and clean—was being put into the hamper, thus the need for specificity.)
  • I require Chad to stop whatever he is doing to put something back in its proper place, if he got it out, but neglected to put it back.
  • I enforce the “no trash rule”—if something is consumed out of a disposable wrapper or container, the wrapper or container must be put into the trashcan!

Lest my rules seem petty to a certain young man, I Corinthians 14:33 backs me up: For God is not a God of disorder. (NIV) Above all, I want Chad to honor God by reflecting His character. Thus, I will persevere in challenging my son to keep his domain in order.