Sometimes the biggest messes we make create the best opportunity to clean up.
We do it every day; we make a mess of something. Maybe it’s a conversation we messed up, or maybe we spilled our salad dressing all over the counter. Sometimes it’s deliberate (our messes) and sometimes they are quite innocent. Whatever the case, it’s a mess. What we do with the mess? Well, now that is the true test.
Let’s say our mess was an accident. You were at Starbucks at the sugar/cream station, and your ripped yellow packet missed the garbage and the cream you poured dripped all over the counter. Did you just walk away? You just created an opportunity to clean up. Clean up not only your mess, but clean up your intentions. Are you thinking about the fact that you are late or the next person who will be using the cream/sugar station?
Was your mess intentional? Tatum’s mess yesterday was intentional, but she did not realize the ramifications of her intentional actions. When I walked in from her nap, there it was. Two whole books torn to bits all over the floor. It was a sea of pages surrounding her crib. As usual, I had given her about 6 books for her to read while in her crib for nap time.
She loves to sing and talk with her books during that time. However, she decided to tear out each page of two of her books. This was not out of anger but for enjoyment, yet when I walked in with my face filled with sadness, she knew the fun was over. This makes me think she knew it was wrong.
Now what? How do I handle it? How should she handle it? This was an opportunity to clean up not only her floor but her character. After I silently picked up each page one by one as she watched my somber face, I placed them in a plastic bag. I was as silent as a mouse, and she knew I was very sad. As I did this, I tried to think of what to do!? I capitalize on the mess. So, she wants to tear up stuff? Great. Let’s get a box with paper and designate it the tear-up paper box! Have at it!! But books, “NEVER, Tatum…NEVER HURT YOUR BOOKS because it is mean and not nice to the books or to me.”
Mess Happens. Mess gets cleaned up with the right attitude and a plan to make the best of the mess.
Make every mess a learning opportunity.