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September 17, 2015

TBT: Ignore the Gloom of the Room

Hal photo outside Feb2012Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.” (Robert J. Sawyer)

(I wrote this one about 5 years ago, at the beginning of my daughter’s attempts to set world high jump records just to clear the mess and get into bed. I still stand by this advice, but admit my wife and I had such conflict about it, we had to write a marriage book together to figure out how to disagree without being disagreeable.)

This is a tricky quote and a delicate concept. By no means should we ignore our children and/or the things they do that need to be addressed. But we could benefit, in my opinion, from learning to ignore some aspects of their behavior that simply aren’t worth our attention. Like their room, for instance.

Every seminar I give, every town I visit, this question arises. “What do I do about my child’s messy room?” And at every seminar and in every town, my answer is the same. You close the door and ignore it. It is their room, after all. About once a month, insist that it be cleaned of all bio hazardous material, but other than that – ignore the piles of clothes and the wads of paper. It just isn’t worth it.

You can teach them self-respect in a number of other ways. You can teach them cleanliness and order when they clean the common areas of the house. But you’ll save yourself a lot of stress if you can just shut the door and learn to ignore (at least some of) the mess that comes along with having kids.

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