Have you ever asked your child to do something only to discover you didn’t give clear directions? What I wanted from my teen son was deep cleaning, what he displayed was surface cleaning.
I may not have discovered my son’s cleaning habits if it had not been for the fact that he was rushing through the job. And the reason he rushed…because he had procrastinated until the stakes were high. There was something he wanted to do and the requirement was that his chores had to be completed first.
My son had the opportunity to earn money working with my brother. I wanted him to work with my brother for the experience and so he could buy the expensive gadgets he wanted without me having to pay for them. The night before my son was scheduled to work with my brother, he began a rush job on cleaning the bathroom.
When I looked in on my son during his cleaning, I witnessed him pulling one Lysol wipe after another from the plastic container. He was cleaning the sink and counter top with the wipes, using only his fingertips as he swirled the cloth across the counter.
When he was done, the empty container remained tilted on its side displaced in the bathroom. The bathroom mirror remained uncleaned and the floor had trash swept into a pile, but not picked up. I didn’t think I needed to spell out every cleaning detail.
This Is my diehard football player, who is committed to a regular workout regime, who refuses to miss a practice or workout session. He will get down and dirty on the football field, but does not want to touch a wet cleaning cloth. Perhaps if I used football terms my son’s cleaning task would go a little more smoothly.
Next time I will tell my son, “You need to tackle the bathroom. Once you’ve cleaned the sink and the tub you are near the end zone. And if you want to score a touchdown, get everything done without me asking twice.”
I’ve come to realize that sometimes you have to learn to speak the language of a teen.
Has your child ever taken a cleaning shortcut?