Is Doing DIshes a Chore?
I was in a leadership seminar, and the speaker was talking about the importance of personal development. The seminar was very motivational, until………………
She mixed “principle” with “advice.”
“Eliminate unnecessary things from your life,” she said, “so that you have more time to focus on what is really important.”
Agreed - I can see that there would be truth in that statement.
Then she went on to give an example. That is where I began to disagree with her.
One day she realized that every night after dinner, she would be the one washing dishes. She had children that were old enough to wash dishes, and she realized that if her children washed the dishes, she’d have more time to work on other projects.
I can still agree with her there. That’s an “if” realization, and those are very important. It’s at that point that we begin to wonder how we can find things that will work for us.
Then she said, “There’s no reason for me to be the one who has to wash dishes. I shouldn’t have to do all the work.”
That is not principle-based. It’s a conclusion, based on how she views the task of washing dishes.
Our conclusions lead to paradigms (the way we see things).
So she made the choice (and it’s very important to realize that it’s a choice, drawn from the paradigm she is now holding about dishes) to have her children do the dishes “job.”
There is nothing wrong with having children do the dishes. So why would it bother me so much?
Paradigms are not principles.
It bothers me because her conclusion was based on her paradigm. It wasn’t a wrong conclusion - for her. However, the speaker had spoken about this as if it were a principle. It wasn’t.
The presenter’s solution to “self development” focused on how important it was to have her children “support her” and “do the dishes” so that the mother didn’t “have to.”
That’s not a principle.
That was plain, straight, unadulterated advice. It was not principle-based.
Here are what I see as principles:
Here’s what I see as being “advice.”
Remember, ADVICE is not the same thing as a PRINCIPLE.
As we know the “why,” we will find ways to do things that help us reach that goal.
I grew up in a home where my mother was usually in the kitchen. I always knew where to find her, and the kitchen is the first place I would go when I came home from school or activities. I would come into the kitchen, and actually sit on the counter, and talk to my mother for hours. She’d be busy the whole time, and I”d be “lounging” the whole time.
But I’d be talking to my mother about everything. And she would be listening.
Yes, I had my “dishes night”, and “cooking night.” Looking back, though, I realize that I didn’t very often do those things alone -- and honestly, now I see that I didn’t even often do the majority of the work. (Of course - at the time - I would have said that I did “all the work.”) I usually cooked with my mother in the kitchen, helping me. I remember having her ask me, “What would you like me to do next,” and I’d look at the recipe and tell her. My father would usually come into the kitchen after dinner and wipe the dishes for me, as I washed them.
I’m grateful that I grew up in the home that I did.
My mother never “achieved” fame, fortune, or recognition for creating something. She did, however, win a blue ribbon in the State Fair for sewing -- and the project was a dress that she had made for me.
My mother always had a list of “things she would like to do when she had the time,” but I never once felt that she resented having children, or doing tasks around the home. I honestly believed that she enjoyed those things.
I thought my dad wanted to help me with the dishes. (I was right! He did want to help me. That did not mean he liked doing dishes, but dishes were the “product” of being with me.)
Perhaps, partly as a result of that, I also enjoy doing dishes and household chores today. I am almost always in my kitchen, too. It’s by conscious choice. I have had many meaningful conversations with my children as I am working in the kitchen.
The point is not that we should always be in the kitchen,
or that it is wrong to do other things.
The point is that we should be very careful that we distinguish what self development really means to us. Do not let other people tell you what self development has to look like, nor how you have to achieve the goal.
My mother did not choose to work in the kitchen because the kitchen was “filling her need” for personal growth. She chose to work in the kitchen because she wanted to have the result of what working in the kitchen produced. This is the principle. Choose our actions based on "cause and effect." It produced children who would come talk to her, and gave her the time to connect with them. So to her - being in the kitchen was a “strategy” that contributed to what she really wanted to focus on. In all actuality - that was one of her strategies for self-development.
Be very sure we base our “doings” on principles.
It’s important to develop our own strengths and talents.
It just doesn’t always have to look like “having someone else do the dishes.” If we think we have to do it that way, we will be missing the point.