insights from a daughter of the King, teacher, farmer's wife, and Mommy


cleaning house

have you ever asked a kid, yours or someone else's, to do something and the answer is "why do i have to do it?"

it is at this point that we make a decision
a) slap them
b) reply with "because i said so"
c) calmly explain to them the significance of being a citizen and their obligation to life in general

i have thought many times about choice a but never followed through
i am guilty of b but try hard not to say those words
i am working on instilling c so that explanation is not required

some of us have joined together in reading a book that addresses this giant entitlement issue that we have in our culture.  Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement  is Kay Wyma's documentary of teaching her children month by month the important things in life and that hard work isn't fun, but we all have to do it.

"I love you.  I believe in you.  I know what you're capable of.  So I'm going to make you work." Cleaning House

these are not common words in the home or society in general

work? what is that?

Month 1:

Wyma's sets to have her children, all five, clean their rooms daily.  Meanwhile, she finds herself reflecting, how did I get here?  Adopting the "it's easier to do it myself" mentality.
Aren't we all guilty.  Teaching, mentoring, guiding children it's hard on the emotional well being of a person.   It requires patience I can only find through the Lord himself.  When you are 15 minutes into a battle of stubbornness, it takes all the strength you can muster up to hold your own, but next time it will only take a 10 minute battle.  I often say it is much easier to be a bad parent than it is to be a good parent.  

Month 2:

Cooking.  Wyma's children each take a day of the week and must plan, shop, prepare, and serve their family dinner.  How would your children fair?  I think the biggest eye opener for myself here was that children have no concept of money and the cost of food.  As a teacher, this is an area where I can assist in the entitlement.   Do you take your children shopping with you?  Do they know where food comes from (the agriculture activist in me comes out)?

Month 3:

This chapter is my favorite.  I live on farm, I grew up on a farm, we play in dirt.  The conversations in this chapter regarding weeds and yard work are great.  The children paint and plant flowers and find happiness in their work.  Are you giving your children things to be proud of, even if they aren't as perfect as you would like?  

"Each day the culture drops seeds in the minds and hearts of our kids - seeds of insecurity and inadequacy, of greed and consumerism, of selfishness and cynicism.  As with the acorns, our efforts at combating these invaders will be more effective if we act before they take root.  We can have the conversations, present strategies, be honest, and work together to help our kids build up their defenses." page 71

 how is this book affecting my life?
  • i fight the battle till i win
  • i let mistakes happen
  • owen is cooking weekly and grocery shopping
  • addie has to clean up her mess
  • yes, they pull weeds
  • do not worry about what others think of your parenting, your house, your children
  • they are planting their own garden
  • stick by your words

questions i'm asking?
  • how do we stop them from thinking they need "things"?
  • how do we help them recognize their significance to society as whole?
  • how do we stop playing the "safety" card?  we can't let them do that, they might get hurt.

how are you battling entitlement in your house?

Other's writing about Cleaning House:


  1. Definitely going to pin this resource for when I need it!

    1. it will definitely make you think!

  2. Karrie,
    You make me giggle, and you make me think.

    1. I guess I stop my kids from thinking about "things" so much by not showing them things all the time. Example: I know moms who hang out at the mall with their girls. The mall makes me realize all of the things I don't have, and it does the same to my daughter. It's like they are pumping something in the air at the mall. We walk around thinking...we want, we need, we must have. Our solution: We don't go. Sure, sure, there's special occasions or when there is a specific need, but I think playing down "things" helps keep things in their place.

    2.You know for awhile our family has worked on service as a way for our kids to show their impact on society, but I think I'm liking this work thing. There is such a satisfaction that comes from working. I loved what Kay said about giving kids the opportunity to "bask in the beauty of their accomplishment". I'm working on expecting more.

    3. Ugh, the safety card. I don't know how to solve this. We need to stop living in fear. Our kids are going to get hurt. Hurt their bones, hurt their feelings, hurt hearts, but I think there's growth in that. It's hard to remember to let go though when we are bombarded with the latest news tragedy.

    I like how you are having Addie clean up her own mess. Sometimes I excuse our youngest from too much because she is the baby, and I preceive she can't do it. Boy, she knows how to work it, huh? Not any more.

    Thanks for adding to the coversation, Karrie!

    1. i like what you're saying about the mall, amy. i stopped wanting "things" so much when i quit "window" shopping - hanging out in stores, looking at catalogs, clicking through online stores just to's important to teach our kids that practical step in avoiding materialism.

    2. playing down "things"....working on this....for myself and my kids

    3. It's funny. Online stores don't get me. I think it's because I like that instant gratification, and I know I can't instantly have that great necklace.

  3. Love your thoughts here, Karrie!

    My answers:
    1. We talk regularly about "stuff" and what we really need. And, like Amy, we don't do a lot of superfluous shopping. My girls have a lot of friends who go to malls just to hang out. Or who go shopping "just because." We've never done this as a leisure activity. If we go to a store, it's with a list and a purpose. And when they do have a request for something, there is usually a discussion about "why" we need it. Now, do their hearts still want for stuff? Probably. My heart does, too, at times! We're all a work in progress. . .

    2. We converse regularly about purpose, calling, how God views them and what He wants to do in and with their lives. I think just generally referring to themselves in this manner helps them to begin seeing their "persons" in this way from early on. They see their lives as part of a bigger picture rather than having a "what can the world do for ME" perspective. It's a constant struggle, though, as the culture is opposed to this in almost every way.

    3. Safety. Yeah. Appropriate boundaries, yet combating fear. That's a tough one, and every parent will probably live it out differently. Especially when the head of the home is a policeman :-) 'Nuff said.

    One of my biggest regrets from when my kids were younger is not letting them play in the dirt more. My hubby loves flower gardening. I don't think I encouraged him enough to take the kids out and engage them in the process. He would let them help plant the flowers, but the tending. . . he would do most of that through the summer. I wish I could go back and "re-do" those times. Maybe all is not lost yet, though. That's a goal for this summer. :-)

    Have a blessed day!


    1. talking to your kids....solves lots of things
      my husband is not a policeman but his nickname is the safety police

    2. My husband doesn't worry about safety stuff like I do.

  4. I love your second question. I think we have such a responsibility to help our kids know they make a significant contribution to society! They have so much to give. Understanding that helps kids see the bigger picture of how what they do effects others!

  5. I especially liked what you learned "Fight to win," (I have to remind myself to fight at all, short-term peace is SOOO attractive some days!) and not to worry what others will think about your parenting. (I already feel like the oddball parent a lot of days!)

    For the questions:
    #! We are a single income, homeschooling family, by choice, and that has led to a lot of conversations about choosing the important things (like more years of spending the majority of our time together) versus being able to buy the latest shiny thing being marketed to kids. Most of my kids' friends have all kinds of things they don't have (ipods, ipads, American Girl dolls etc). And sometimes they long for the latest fun thing. But they would end the conversation by saying "I'd rather have mom home, and be able to homeschool, than have all that stuff." (Of course we're not perfect, but it definitely slows us down!)

    #2 This is something I am wanting to focus more on, but the process of adopting from Haiti has been a great way to expand their view of the world, and the needs beyond our borders. We have also served in a food pantry all together in the past through our church.

    #3 Hmmm, the safety card. Well, by homeschooling many people think we are WAY overplaying the safety card. But we are very aware of the need to allow our kids to test themselves before leaving home, and prayerfully consider what circumstances are appropriate for that to happen. (We have to seek them out a little harder as homeschoolers!)

  6. I'm a late-visiting book clubber! I've always taken my children with me to the grocery store, and that has NOT always been easy. Now I'm in the habit of going with the youngest only, when the oldest is in school. I'm seeing the value (now) in what will happen this summer - we will all go to the grocery store together. There are so many skills to learn there. My early reader can hold the list and help me cross items off as we get them. My little one can fetch things and count how many we need. Oh yes, there will be fussing and climbing in/out/in/out of the cart and almost always a trip to the bathroom . . . but you are helping me see the bigger picture. Thanks!

    1. yes it can be inconvenient but worth it...thanks for joining!


Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 Leave me some honey.

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