Friday, May 31, 2013

The List

My oldest son is a Boy Scout.  He's working toward his Eagle Award, the highest award in Boy Scouting.  One of the Eagle requirements is to earn the Emergency Preparedness merit badge.  The other day, AKD asked me to help him work through a home safety checklist, which is one of the things he needs to do to earn the Emergency Preparedness badge.

You can read the whole checklist here (pages 11 & 12), but let me just give you a sampling of items from the list:


  • Stairs/halls are kept free from boxes, toys, brooms, tools, etc.
  • No.  Just...no.  However much I beg, plead, wheedle, and cajole the children to put their toys away, it just doesn't happen consistently.


  • Disinfectants & cleaning products are out of reach of children.
  • Um...and how are they supposed to use them if they're out of reach?  What happened to all those merit badges and pins where the boys were supposed to do chores around the house?


  • Spilled grease, water, or bits of food are wiped up immediately.
  • Well, sometimes.  But the truth is, most of the spills in our household are child-initiated.  They don't even report their spills most of the time, let alone clean them up.  See: Stealth Vomit.


  • Before bedtime, furniture placement is checked for orderliness.
  • Alright, sometimes, I will make sure that there is a path from the bed to the door through the debris, or from the door to the bathroom.  Does that count?


  • Wax on floors is thoroughly buffed.
  • Come on, people.  You really think we have time to wax?


  • Housework clothing has no drooping sleeves, sashes, or frills.
  • Shoes worn for housework have low heels.
  • Um...I'm supposed to have special housework clothing and shoes?  How could I have gotten this far in life not knowing this?


  • Everything has a place and is in its place.

  • And therein lies the problem, my friends.  Everything is most certainly not in its place at any given moment.  How could it be?  We live here.  And while I do have that handy-dandy mess-seeing power, there are four of them and only one of me.  My putting-away-ing is not able to keep pace with the pulling-out-losing-interest-and-leaving-it-where-it-lies-ing (which I have to admit, I do a fair amount of, myself).

    I can laugh about it now, but as AKD was reading down the list, with each one of the questions that had to be answered to the negative, my self-esteem took a blow.  By the time we were done I was feeling completely inadequate and emotionally drained: like I could do nothing right.  These are basic safety requirements.  That I am not meeting.  Ergo, I am failing my family.  It's a wonder we're not all in the emergency room right now.

    This happens every time I try to measure up against some outside standard.  Every time.  I look around and everyone is so much better at just about everything than I am.  And they have nicer stuff, too.

    And that's the problem, friends.  I shouldn't be looking around, I should be looking up.  Up to the One who made me, just the way I am, imperfect on purpose.  Up to the One who loves me and redeems me.  Up to the One who deems me righteous.  God's standard is the only standard by which you or I can be judged.  And God has judged me...and you...worthy.

    For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin,
    so that in [Christ Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God.
    2 Corinthians 5:21

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