Neglecting The Basics

We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience are inheriting the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12

5 11 17 with word overlayKnock on wood, my kids are rarely sick. I chalk it up to good genetics on my mother’s side, and a very basic two step combination.

The first step involves Market Basket’s generic mint mouth wash. Each morning I make my kids rinse with it. The stuff is like lighter fluid: no germs can survive the burn of that high alcohol content.

The second step is hand washing. I’m not one of those moms who makes her kids constantly wash their hands. In fact, the only time I require it is when they get home. We all know that school is the #1 way our kids get exposed to illnesses. So, immediately after emptying their backpacks, I make my kids head straight to the bathroom sink.

Despite my two-step fight against germs, Zack has gotten sick more this year than all the other years combined. I started wondering if maybe the school was one of those sick buildings with mold in the ceiling tiles or something. Then I remembered that this is his second year in middle school. He never got sick last year; so it couldn’t be the building.

I put on my detective hat to get to the root of the problem.

I discovered that after Zack left the bathroom, the sink and towel were perfectly dry. The little bugger was telling me he was washing his hand when he wasn’t. When I confronted him, he admitted he’d been neglecting it for a while. How pathetic is that?

Zack is a little bit like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Typically, once he’s on board with something, it becomes part of his routine. Like Sheldon has to do that compulsive triple knock thing, once something is in Zack’s routine, it gets locked in and is not quickly undone. Between that, and his age, I really didn’t think I had to question him about hand washing.

I also thought Zack understood the logic behind it: wash your hands and stay healthy, or don’t, and get sick routinely. It’s pretty basic. Why he chose not to be logical is basic too: laziness.

We’re all guilty of it. We know the basic parenting concept of having clear expectations and rules for our kids. That’s what helps them behave and learn self-control. But it takes effort to constantly tow that line, especially when we have to enforce those rules.

Sometimes we just want to relax and not have to police our kids. Sometimes we only  want to be the fun and loving mom. So we let our boundaries relax; we tolerate more bad behavior than we should. Before we know it, our laziness leads to total chaos in our family, or us having to play a real bad cop to get things back in order.

We also know the basic principal that the more we turn to God, the closer we feel to Him. In that close relationship, we feel more at peace, and can handle life’s ups and downs more calmly. Yet, maintaining that relationship takes effort too. Whether it’s putting time aside each day to pray, or weaving God and prayer into all that we do, we have to put forth a concerted effort to do so.

Sometimes, we just want to coast. Rather than praying, we use that time to feed our own vices instead: zoning out on reality TV, surfing the internet, etc. Before we know it, our laziness leads us to feeling miles away from God, floundering when things don’t go right, and having no idea how to find that place of peace and calm.

Needless to say, I’m now having to monitor Zack’s hand washing every day, whether he likes it or not. It’s worth the effort to keep him healthy. Eventually he’ll get back into the rhythm, and it will become like second nature again.

Likewise, we have to monitor our prayer lives when we backslide, even when we don’t feel like it. It’s worth it to keep our relationship with God healthy. Eventually, we too will get back into a rhythm, and talking with Him will become like second nature again too.

Questions For Reflection:

     * Are there some basic things that I’m letting slip in my household?

     * Are the ramifications inspiring me to step it back up again?

     * Have I been avoiding communication with God?

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