This week we dropped the solar from solar system and talked about systems in general… I had ulterior motives.
Remember Mouse Trap? The game that took forever to set up and then way too long to get to the fun stuff? I remember skipping the game part and spending all my time setting up the system and then trying to get it to work the way it was supposed to. 25 years later and I’m still experiencing the same conundrum, only this time its with a house – not a mouse.
I talked with my kids about each piece of a system doing its part and that the system doesn’t function well without each piece. I showed them some simple domino tricks building on the importance of each domino in the flow.
I brought out our job charts and a set of plastic dominoes. Each child wrote their name on the domino with a dry-erase marker and we talked about what their home responsibilities were for the day. We lined them up in a small formation and then watched it flow without a hitch.
I asked for a number between one and five. They chose three. I counted in three dominoes and shifted that piece to the side of the line. They tipped the first domino and sent two down but didn’t complete the flow because each piece was needed for the system to work.
I showed them some pictures I’d taken in the morning of system malfunctions. A tie that’s been hanging in the bathroom for who knows how long along with a swimming suit and a bunched up towel, the closet so stuffed it can’t close and the laundry room floor sprawling with possible ancient life forms. (I took more pictures that I select not to show here- a girl has some pride!)
We declared it a life skills day and spent the lesson times of two days catching up. Whatever they didn’t finish was homework. I showed them segments of this amazing domino competition and reiterated that by small and simple things great things are accomplished. Small and Simple things
We talked about how becoming really great at simple things improves the possibilities and opportunities in all aspects of our lives. We talked about the scripture in Mathew where the Lord says: Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.Mathew 25:21,23
I think that my kids did need a lesson on systems and doing their part but the lesson that I needed came doing gospel study with Jack. “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved” (President Monson).
It may end up that our house-keeping systems work about as consistently as my Mouse Trap game worked but if I remember what’s important, it will be with good relationships. It may be that starting tomorrow, care is taken in every responsibility. Either way my kids are learning their part and I am remembering mine. While it may be good, if it becomes more important than a person to be loved, system shmystem.