An Added Benefit of Dusting ~

Many of the household chores are shared by the members of my family, but the dusting-gig usually falls on my watch.  Dusting is a tedious chore, but someone has to do it, right?

Years ago, when Oldest and Youngest were much younger or too naive, they would graciously offer to help with the dusting and vacuuming.  Have you ever had those moments as a parent where you know that it is extremely important to allow your child to develop their sense of responsibility, but you want the job to be done once, and once-and-for-all.  You may not have the time to go back and re-do what was missed, so you say, “No, I’ll get it this time.”

When this hurried thought would take over, I felt compelled to stop and reflect on how my mother had instructed me on numerous tasks.  She never barked orders at me, or told me how it had to be done, or ever implied that I was messing up.  Instead, she would say, “I find that when I …“, or “I have found that…“, all-the-while trusting that in due time, I’d figure it out.  In teaching the simplest of chores, Mom always referred back to herself, as if she had made the mistake and learned from it, and therefore was passing on her viewpoint, as opposed to pointing out my error.  Looking back, I see that she knew exactly what she was doing, and it had nothing to do with dusting, but much to do with teaching the proper way to guide those little ones in your life.

Well, oddly enough or luckily for me, Oldest and Youngest still offer to help out with the Cinderella chores, especially when they sense that there’s a time crunch that I’m up against.  Maybe they sense it from the crazed look on my face, along with the muffled muttering, or possibly they are just stepping up; I like to believe the latter to be true.

With Oldest off at college and Youngest loaded down with homework and athletics, the offering is a little less frequent, but it is still there at times, nonetheless.   Their help is not demanded; it doesn’t have to be.  They have a sense of responsibility, and for the most part they take ownership.

Now as I stated earlier, the dusting usually falls onto me; I’m not a huge fan, but several days ago this chore led me to a treasure that I have frequently overlooked.  This treasure is filled with many words of wisdom for parents of all ages.  The book was given to me when Oldest was born, and several days ago I realized that its message still pertains to life ~ today!

Back when she was born, I did indeed read this book, but no doubt it was read in a very hurried manner; there’s not a lot of free time when you have an infant.  Come to think of it, at just what stage in a child’s life does a parent have an abundance of free time?

Having stumbled upon this book while dusting, or the fact that its title caught my eye, I decided to set aside my housekeeping for a few minutes; it was time to do a bit of perusing.  Just what did the “Littlest” have to say?

This book is a collection of poems, of both advice and questions, from a toddler to his parent.  I absolutely love the way its message is completely from the child’s perspective, or is it?  If you are a parent, guardian, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or work with little ones, this is a book that you should read and reflect upon.  It not only guides you while they are toddlers, but it helps to remind you of these important issues, while they are still growing up under your guidance.  Basically, Listening to the Littlest by Ruth Reardon is a very prophetic reminder about life, for all of us grown-ups.

Years ago, I read this book in a hurry, because back then that’s how I had to read ~ in a hurry!  Now I can take my time and reflect on these lessons from the littlest, and recently I reflected on one such lesson that was much needed in my life.  I would feel safe to say that so many others could also benefit from this poem, due to the extremely hurried world that we all live in.  Enjoy, while you read and reflect upon the pace of your life ~

“Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, Hurry,

Where are we hurrying to?

Is this the way to life?

Is this the way to love?

Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry,

       back and forth,

              forth and back.

Where are we hurrying to?

Is this the way to grow?

Is this the way to learn?

What is the hurrying for?

Missing so much –

Not stopping to touch.

Where are we hurrying to?

Will we know when we get there?

Or will we keep on

       hurrying,

              hurrying,

                                                                              hurrying…”

 From: Listening to the Littlest by: Ruth Reardon


Isn’t it ironic how something that you don’t look favorably upon can lead to an important reminder?  Dusting is not so bad after all, especially when it uncovers a message that reminds me to slow down.  Not all of life needs to feel like a 100 yard dash; it’s alright to slow down and hop off the track, now and again!

Life doesn’t always have to be a 100-yard dash ~

I, too, need to be reminded to Pause and Smile ~   How are you reminded to slow down and enjoy your life?

About Carol H. Rives

Wife, mother of two, friend to many. Enjoys reading and writing about education, family, friendship and life, in general. Loves spending quality time with family and friends; making new memories and cherishing the ones of the past. Some favorite interests include: volunteering, exercising, hiking, writing, knitting, baking/cooking, gardening and collecting thought-provoking quotes. Try to live my life in a "pause and smile" kind of way!!
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10 Responses to An Added Benefit of Dusting ~

  1. Tim says:

    Carol,
    This was a perfect time for me to read this. I am guilty of go go go. As you know I like going to the lake and sometimes I like to sit on the dock and do nothing but to take everything in. Sometimes it is great just to close your your eyes and just listen. It helps to recharge and reload. Great blog as always. Just think I had to stop long enough to read and enjoy and smile! (but no dusting)
    Tim

    • So glad that you were able to stop long enough to read, enjoy and smile. Also, happy that you were able to forego the dusting; however, I hear those menacing little dust bunnies calling my name ! 😦

  2. pswanson19 says:

    I’ve been reading for enjoyment more – and I am enjoying it 🙂
    That “All or Nothing” kind of thinking/doing is what I have to think about.

    I love how you describe how you learned from you Mother how to guide the “little ones”. You would be/are a great teacher! heck, I keep learning from you 🙂

    • “You would be/are a great teacher!” Well that is one of the kindest compliments that I have ever received. You have no idea just how much I admire so many of the folks in the field of education. Personally, I wouldn’t have the patience and/or stamina to tackle that on a daily basis, but I have volunteered in the classroom at various levels, and I am always amazed at how much goes into the daily planning… let alone the instructing, itself!

      You should be very proud of yourself for being part of such an honorable profession. 🙂 Your students, no doubt, will always fondly remember Ms. Swanson.

  3. pswanson19 says:

    Carol, That is wonderful!
    For me it’s the All or Nothing thiinking that gets me

    I love the way you describe having learned from your mother how to guide the little ones. So touching/ gentle. Reminds me of your mother’s gentle spirit that lives on in you 🙂
    You would be/are a wonderful teacher- heck, I’m always learning from you!

    • Thanks Trish! I, too, get caught up in the “all or nothing” aspect of life, but I’m definitely learning that “all” isn’t everything. You would love this book ~ it would be great for you to have with all those teens around… the perspective definitely applies to them as well. Be well!

  4. Thanks for the reminder. At this time of year, when school is winding down, I find myself more harried and hurried. I’m pledging this morning to slow down and enjoy the ride!

    • You’re right, Lisha…. this time of the year can take off like a rocket-ride. Just this afternoon I talked to my college girl and in one month she will have finished her first year; seems like we dropped her off two weeks ago. I guess the time hurries by, whether we hurry or not.

      Enjoy your ride… and thanks for reading, Pause and Smile!

  5. I hadn’t heard of this book, but I can tell just by your choice of poem that it’s a good one. Where IS it that we’re all hurrying to?? Better to ‘stop and smell the roses’, and appreciate the journey. Thanks Carol

    • I’ll let you know if I stumble upon another ditty of inspiration the next time I dust; may be awhile!

      Were you ever able to retrieve the blogpost that was lost? Hoping to read it ~ Thanks for reading, Linda!

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