Photo by xandert on Morgue File.
What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?
Ah, household tasks, or chores as they were once fondly known. I remember as a kid my mother got the idea to put up a chore list on the refrigerator. If I remember correctly, it had different days of the week along the top and different chores down the first column. Each day, my sister and I, were to perform certain chores and then check them off as we completed them. Again, my memory may be faulty, but I think it mainly consisted in such things as: brushing our teeth, making our beds, putting our clothes in the hamper . . . things like that.
I do not remember being required to wash dishes or help with the laundry when I was a kid. I did have to help mow the lawn and do some outside stuff.
Probably, like many people, the chore list was a bit inconsistent. It would come and go at random times. We all would get a bit lax in doing it and, before you knew it, several days or weeks (maybe even months!) went by without much attention being paid to it at all.
I know as a parent it is something of a struggle. On the one hand, you want to teach your kids responsibility and cleanliness and begin preparing them to be able to survive on their own; on the other hand, you get busy with this or that and, if you are not committed to the whole thing, before you know it, the chore list is buried behind finger paintings and crayon drawings! I think there is a third thing, but I am out of hands at this point! I think sometimes, as an adult, you just want to get the chore done and you decide it is much easier to do yourself. I mean, we do have an old adage that goes something like: if you want something done right, do it yourself!
You try to be patient and helpful as you watch your child fumble around with the dishes or haphazardly fold the clothes. You try patiently showing them a second and third and fourth time how to fold a shirt, or in which drawer the bowls go. But, after a while, you become frustrated with the whole thing, send the child to their room and just do the chore yourself!
Now, for those parents who actually stick to it . . . I applaud you!
As for me, I do not mind doing dishes so much. Though, my wife says that every time I do the dishes, I always leave one or two unwashed. While this is often the case, I have a good reason for it. Usually the ones I leave unwashed are pots and pans that have some food, or at least the remnants of food, left stuck to its surface. So, instead of risking scratching said pot or pan with steel wool or the like, I simply put soap in the pot, run hot water into it and then let it soak a few hours or days or whatever! This way, when I do get back around to it, (or more truthfully, when my wife has to finish the job!), the old food material/waste is now soft and easy to wipe away with a common, ordinary dish rag. So, you see, in a real sense what I am doing is preserving and maintaining the life of our stainless steel pots and pans!
Now, as far as the chore I dislike the most, I suppose I would have to say laundry. I mean it just seems that no matter how many loads you wash, or how many baskets you fold, it just is never enough! It’s as if the clothes just keep multiplying and multiplying and multiplying. And do not even get me started on socks going missing and not being able to match a pair of socks together. It’s like you have a basket of thirty or forty clean socks, but none of them are a matching pair! My wife, probably in exasperation, will just give up the fight and if the socks are similar then she puts them together! But, I . . . I have a higher degree of sock sensibility than that! I cannot bring myself to commit such treachery as pairing together two unmatched socks!
But, I guess this is why they are called chores, and it is why we have a saying about things we do not like doing: but it is such a chore. And, if I think long and hard on all this, I think there is probably a reason why the word chore rhymes with bore and snore . . . well, you get the idea.
Any time I think of matters such as chores and daily, mundane tasks, I am reminded of the witness and example of a man known as Brother Lawrence. He was a medieval monk who made it his life’s goal to practice the presence of God. He sought to do this in the chores and mundane tasks of his monastery; including, washing dishes. Below is a prayer attributed to him that speaks of this purpose and humility and an attitude of serving and worshiping God even in the smallest, most average of tasks:
Lord of all pots and pans and things,
since I’ve no time to be a great saint
by doing lovely things,
or watching late with Thee,
or dreaming in the dawnlight,
or storming heaven’s gates,
make me a saint by getting meals,
and washing up the plates.
Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love,
and light it with Thy peace;
forgive me all my worrying,
and make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
in room, or by the sea,
accept the service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.
The apostle Paul said it this way, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, the Father by him (Col. 3.17). And yes, I would suppose this includes laundry and dishes!