Little Brother and his friend Adventure Boy are busily playing with Legos and having a snack of popcorn.
Of course, two five-year-olds generally spill at least as much popcorn as they eat. Between the popcorn and the Legos, I could barely tell what color carpet they were sitting on.
Neither of them was too keen on the idea of picking up that spilled popcorn, until I suggested that they put it into a bowl and then take it outside and dump it out under the bird feeder so the squirrels could have a snack too.
Suddenly the two boys were quiet as could be, picking up every tiny speck of popcorn off the floor so they could feed the squirrels. They proudly went outside to dump the bowl.
What an instant change in attitude! Cleaning up for the sake of cleaning up is not fun at all, and I often resist doing it just as the two boys did. But if cleaning up means that someone else benefits, it becomes less of a chore. Sometimes it even becomes a pleasure.
I’ve noticed this myself as I do a morning sweep through the house. “I love you,” I think to myself as I pick up someone’s dirty socks that are hiding under a chair. Remembering that I sweep the floors, wash the socks, and scrub the sink because I love my family can help me get past the “I don’t want to” attitude that can easily overtake me.
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31: 10-31)
This is a tall order, for sure. (And I’m certainly guilty of “eating the bread of idleness” more than I should!) But I think that part of the secret of this “excellent wife” is that she is doing her work out of love for her husband and family. The hard work of running a household goes a little easier when you focus on blessing the people you love.