Being able to take care of a home has many applications beyond chores for our children. We become better houseguests. Who doesn’t love a relative or friend who spontaneously takes out the trash after dinner? In the current economic climate we may find ourselves moving back home with our parents or welcoming relatives who have fallen on tough times. Don’t we all appreciate the ‘housebroken’ adult who makes his bed, does his own laundry and leaves the bathroom in pristine condition?
What about the college freshman faced with life in a dorm? I’d rather be the mom of the kid who teaches his friends how to do laundry than the one who drives home most weekends so I can do it for him. And of course there are first apartments, marriages and travel. The merging scenarios are virtually endless each full of twists and turns in the ancient story of harmoniously bringing together divergent styles, possessions and life habits. I’ve got lots more tips in my new e-book called The Urge to Merge. Let me know how you like it and how it helped your family.
Living with other human beings is tough even when we love them! What can we do to make life easier when we've been thrust into a situation with folks whose styles are very different from our own? Here are three things I think work a bit of magic.
Children Will Listen
Stephen Sondheim was right: children will listen, watch and absorb lessons we never intended to teach. The three C's will on the other hand give children useful life tools. And you don't have to lecture. You just have to set the example by using them effectively. The three C's are tools that can be taken to school, used in friendship and dating and ultimately used in the boardroom as easily as they are used in the home. Think about that when Uncle Harry has put the butter on the 'incorrect' shelf in the refrigerator or Cousin Susie has cut bizarre patterns into the grass.
At the heart of this discord is very often a fear: we don't necessarily believe we have invented the perfect way to do things; you're convinced you were taught the perfect way by mom. The problem of course is that our mom wasn't capable of nurturing the world so a lot of moms and assumptions are behind most arguments. I think that blind allegiance to anyone or anything doesn't work as well as a willingness to create fresh new solutions. After all there is every hope that's exactly what mom would encourage us to do!
I've got a new e-book that deals exclusively with all the ups and downs of merging households. It's called The Urge to Merge because throughout our lives we're doing just that ~ from your baby brother taking over your room to the kids coming home from college there's a whole lot a mergin' going on out there. Why not do it with grace, intelligence and wisdom?