Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Why your role in the home will always be important...
Here's an interesting quote from Kathy Peel, who wrote an excellent book entitled, "The Family Manager":
"If you suddenly won the lottery or inherited a large sum of money and were able to hire a full-time cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, gardener, handyman, social director, accountant and secretary, there's still one department you'd still have to personally oversee -- family members and friends. No one else can be a wife to your husband, a mother to your children, a daughter to your parents, a daughter-in-law to your in-laws, a sister to your siblings, or a friend to your friends."
There's no doubt that managing the physical aspects of homemaking is important. But, why? Because of relationships. Out of gratitude, we want to be good stewards of all that God has given us. Because we love our families, we want to provide them with spiritual training, clean and pleasant homes, good and nourishing food, suitable clothing, health care, education, etc. Because we have been loved, we are urgent to share love with others.
Some of us will be able to hire others to take care of certain aspects of homemaking. After all, the worthy woman had servants. However, the woman who can pay others to do some physical work must not assume that, simply by doing so, she has fulfilled all that she is called to be in her home. She is still needed to be a loving, guiding presence in the family.
Perhaps, one reason why people undervalue the importance of a woman's role as wife and mother is because they fail to understand the heart of it. Maybe, when we, ourselves, find our enthusiasm flagging -- as we all do at times -- it's because we temporarily forget why we do what we do.
We get into trouble when we reduce the larger mission of making a home to the purely mechanical performance of household tasks. Of course, there are many domestic jobs that the keeper at home must attend to, either by doing them herself or by delegating them. After all, as the quote goes, "Love is in the details", and there are a myriad details that make up the physical care of a household. However, of even greater importance is the heart of a woman. This sets the tone of her home, whether the woman can afford outside help or not.
Here's an example of what I mean: Two women can each scrub a toilet. One can grumble as she does it, feeling picked on because this chore has fallen to her, feeling demeaned by having to do what in her eyes is a menial act, and regretting that it will only need to be performed again soon. Another will think of how delightful and healthful it will be for her family members and for her guests (and for herself) to have clean facilities to use, how grateful she is to live in modern times with indoor plumbing, of how thankful she is to have the physical strength to serve, and of how she wants to show love even in this small act.
Love -- it makes all the difference.