Happy Monday, Everyone and welcome to the porch! Some days, I don’t know what I’m going to talk about on the porch until five minutes before I get here. So, five minutes ago, I went looking for my new iPad Mini. As the search turned out to be both an adventure and an opportunity for reflection, I thought I’d share the little story with you.
The iPad Mini was a treat I purchased for myself so I could use it while giving book talks. No more papers to shuffle, no more notes to manage. I would be so uber-cool… So techy and “with it.”
In other words, the iPad mini was my little treat to me. We already had an old-fashioned, large iPad. The guys gave it to me for Mother’s Day several years ago. I haven’t seen it since, but the guys like it. They use it for web browsing and various other things. The old iPad is too bulky for carrying around at book talks, anyway, but the new iPad Mini is perfect for me. I love it. It’s a wonderful tool. If you’re interested in using an iPad mini for your speaking engagements, I can recommend be Podium Pro app. It’s great.
But, I digress.
Now that I’m back home, my trusty iPad mini is supposed to be docked on my desk. Yet, every time I go looking for it, it is not there. Which brings me to what I really want to talk to you about today — men, and man-children, and one small piece of advice that is incredibly simple, yet powerful in terms of family harmony.
To illustrate, let me take you along on my search for my iPad Mini. Is it in the office? No. Is it in the kitchen? No. Is it in the sun room? No. After that, the search reads a little like Green Eggs and Ham. I cannot find it here and there. I cannot find it anywhere.
Sometime during my search, I end up in this room:
So, I’m not an insane neatnik by any means, but I do often remind the man and the man children that this is the bathroom other people see — please keep it clean.
Indulge me while I share with you their idea of clean.
That, my friends, is aggravating. It’s just the kind of thing that has occasionally caused the firing of shots across the family battlefield. It’s a recipe for feeling put-upon, ignored, disregarded, and (when someone has the nerve abandon your new iPad in the bathroom) just plain grossed-out. It’s a perfect catalyst for some serious nagging. Trust me, I’ve done my share. Clearly, it’s hopeless.
Which brings me to the title of this post. Not so long ago after a funeral, I was talking with one of my neighbors — a sweet, little lady who’s navigating her first year as a widow. She offered a little piece of marital advice to the “youngsters” in the group, and the longer I practice it, the more I see that it’s a simple, yet beautiful recipe for peace in any relationship.
“We had a rocky first few years of marriage,” she admitted, her eyes twinkling behind bottle-thick glasses. “Then, my auntie told me to look for one nice thing I could for my husband every day, and just see what happened. I didn’t think it would work, because to tell you the truth, my husband was a slob. His mama had spoiled him rotten, but I figured it was worth a try, so I did. Lots of times, it was just a little thing I’d do. Perhaps when he left his shoes in the hall, I’d carry them to the bedroom and put them away and not say anything about it, or when he deposited his laundry on the floor, I’d take it to the hamper. Do you know what happened after a while?“
By this time, of course, the rest of us were spellbound. We theorized that eventually the husband perceived the change in her behavior, and began to change his own, becoming more considerate.
The woman shook her head, a slow, sweet smile loosening the folds around her mouth. “He didn’t change all that much, but after a while, I did. When I’d see something mussed up or out of place, instead of thinking about how aggravated I was, I’d think, Well, there’s my chance to do one nice thing for today, and I’d feel good about it instead of being angry. Sometimes, I’d get a half-dozen chances in a day, but you know what? It feels good to do a half-dozen nice things in a day. And when you feel good, you’re happy.”
And that, my friends, is the kind of logic that applies in all situations… even situations involving cruddy bathrooms, toilet paper roll-change avoidance syndrome, and most importantly, stolen iPads Minis.
The Prayer Box — Selected as One of Booklist’s Top Ten of 2013!
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