One Step Report #1
Well, it’s day #10 of the year 2010, and I’m happy to report that it’s been a great ten days.
Never before have I so completely turned the tables on my critical, perfectionist self. I haven’t made a single list of things to do all week, but instead have listed all the things that were done. So far I’ve taken 50 small steps to improve life. That’s an average of 5 per day, and I feel good about that. To celebrate, I’m sharing another photo of my toddler’s feet. This is her new life, standing on tippy toes to get into things.
It’s been very healthy to record my small victories or tasks, and I’ve also been writing which category it falls under next to every entry. This is helping me to see where I need to plan more consciously for improvement.
I want to share a couple of highlights.
So far, my three daughters (ages 7, 5, and 2) have managed (with my help and prodding) to keep their room clean for a full week. I should have taken a before picture, but if you’ve been to my home and we trust you enough to let you go upstairs, you’ve probably seen a room that was completely covered with clothing. Now it has looked like this for 9 days.
The other morning I walked past their door while they were gone at school and the simple beauty and soft light made me pause in wonder that such an unexpected pleasure was right there, in my own home, and in THAT room! I’d forgotten how much I love the old grandmother’s flower garden quilts that lay at the foot of their beds.
I had also forgotten how beautiful and peaceful my bedroom is, because I’d let it become the clean laundry pile room. I managed to stay completely caught up on laundry this week, without letting any of it pile up. Unexpected benefit: I have my bedroom back!
These things are small, indeed, but they help us all feel more relaxed in our home. And if it takes 30 days to form new habits, then I figure we’re 25% of the way there. Organization is a wonderful thing, and I’m convinced that 75% of it is self-discipline.
I think that perhaps the most important steps have been taken this week in relationships and responses to people. I’m not proud of this, but a week ago I discovered that my little girls had been breaking jewelry for no good reason. My 5 year old had asked for a treasure box full of jewels for Christmas. I put a lot of time and effort into gathering these materials, and to find them broken just for the sake of breaking them was upsetting. I’m ashamed to say it, but I yelled at my two little daughters for it. And then, after yelling, I took a good look at them and saw quivering lips and eyes welling up with tears. I thought to myself, “Here I am, seeking to have LOVE be the guiding force behind our growth, and I just broke the hearts of my sweet, innocent daughters over a broken necklace. A broken heart over a broken THING.” I was disgusted with myself. I gathered them into my arms, asked for their forgiveness, and then spent some time alone in my room praying, asking forgiveness from my Heavenly Father for treating his little ones so harshly.
That necklace has sat on my desk ever since, my reminder to myself of what really matters. It is not ok to be destructive, but I can teach that principle with love instead of anger.
Fast forward to two days ago when my son decided to move some furniture around in our family room. My coffee table that looked like this:
now looks like this:
I confess that I did ask him why that particular 1/4 inch piece of wood looked like a sturdy handle, but I didn’t yell, and I didn’t get angry. I remembered the necklace. I put my arm around him, told him I was disappointed but that my disappointment wasn’t a reflection of my love for him or my approval of him. I think it worked out. (I still need to fix the table, but at least I don’t need to fix my son’s heart.)
And so, I feel content with my One Step progress so far. I’m excited for what the next week holds!