Friday, September 23, 2011

5 Ways to Get Your Parents Off Your Back

#2 Clean Up Your Mess!

Photo by Erin Willis
So one of our favorite sayings as expert justifiers (convincing ourselves and others that the wrong things we do are really okay) is this: “No one’s perfect.” It’s a fantastic statement mostly because it’s true. I mean who can argue with that? There is no one past, present, or future who’s perfect. So you think: How can my parents give me such a hard time for one mistake? I mean really, I know for a fact they did the same thing when they were my age…Grandma told me. So why does it matter so much that I didn’t clean my room, or that I bombed one test, or that I was ONLY ten minutes late getting home? What’s the big deal?
      Let me fill you in on a well-known but much despised fact. The way you handle small situations is an indication of how you’ll handle big ones. No, failing to clean your room isn’t the end of the world. But how about a room that is in a constant state of disaster? What does that tell your parents? I can speak to this one from personal experience. I believe there may still be a lingering odor in my room at my parents’ house from the Easter eggs I forgot were in the bottom of my closet when I was about ten. Not to mention the peanut butter sandwiches, clothing, sweaty volleyball shoes, and books scattered everywhere. It wasn’t pretty. And to this day, my parents take great satisfaction in reminding me of how messy I was. And I still struggle with organization and cleanliness…just take a peek into my car.
       It’s easy for me to say, “No one’s perfect.” I have other areas of my life where I excel, and this is just the way God made me. I am organizationally challenged. I’m messy.  
       But think about what you’re really communicating to your parents. You’re telling them that you’re messy, that you’re still a kid, and that you don’t take yourself seriously. Now, maybe you’ve got it together in other areas of your life. I was a very good student, good athlete, had a job, and I stayed out of trouble. So having a messy room didn’t affect things too much when I was a teenager. (It certainly does now, but that’s a whole other article)
       The question is, what’s your “messy room?” In what area of your life are you unorganized and sloppy? What could you do to send a message to your parents that you’re growing up, you take your responsibilities seriously, and you can be trusted in larger things? Maybe it’s your grades. Maybe it’s your attitude when they tell you to do something you don’t want to do. Maybe you’ve been dishonest about your social life.
       Think about it. If you can put forth the effort to be more responsible in a small area of your life, you have something to show them, something that says you can be responsible. You can be trusted. And once you can be trusted, you’ll hear the beautiful sound of the word “Yes!” Of course you’re not perfect. Your parents know that, and don’t expect you to be. Just show them you can clean up your messes.
       So what "mess" can you start with in your life? 

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