Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Can't help someone who doesn't want it.

I keep forgetting that.  

One of the big things I've tried to teach my kids is to fix a problem, rather than just whining about it.  It's...a work in progress, but they're 10 and 12.  They start whining, I thank them for articulating the problem, and ask them how they want to fix it.  

It works, for now.  For their age.  For their maturity levels.  

I'm hopeful it'll keep working.  

I've heard people whining that they can't afford this, that, or the other...while they fiddle with their iThing (phone, pad, whatever).  Or that their car payments are eating their life.

Well.  I wonder.  

I've pointed out Dave Ramsey.  I've offered to loan books.  I've laid out, step by step what they need to do to get their ass out of the crack.  

"It's too hard!"  

No, it actually isn't.  It just takes some self-discipline, a little bit of the ability to delay gratification, and a willingness to have it happen slowly over time--they didn't get in massive debt overnight (I hope), and they won't get out of debt overnight.  And they won't stay out of debt without building new habits and dropping old ones.  

I've applied the same ideas to keeping my house in reasonable shape.  The FlyLady is to house cleaning and clutter control what Dave Ramsey is to financial housecleaning and debt control.  It doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen.  

Assuming, y'know, someone's actually willing to start.  All it takes is 15 minutes.  A willingness to do something however imperfectly.  And a willingness to let go of crap you've kept because "it might come in useful someday."  

Here's a hint: it doesn't.  

"But I don't know where to start!"  

Anywhere.  Just fifteen minutes.  FlyLady starts with "take the dishes out of your sink--wash them, put them in the dishwasher, stack them on the counter--and shine your sink.  Clean it and shine it."  If your sink's empty and clean, that stack of dirty dishes looks pretty awful.  Take fifteen minutes and wash a sink full.  Then go do something else.  Come back and do fifteen minutes more.  

"It's not my kitchen.  All I have is my attic that I live in."  

Okay.  Cool.  That makes it even easier.  Make your bed.  Look around your bed--tackle the pile to the left of your bed.  Fifteen minutes.  Three piles: keep/give away/throw away.  Put "keep" in a box, for the moment, since you claim to have no idea where any of it is supposed to go, and bag up the "give away" and the "throw away."  Throw away goes into the dumpster--do not stop at the kitchen trash, do not let anyone look in.  Give away goes in the car trunk.  Do not stop to let elderly relatives look through it.  It goes.  Or it's going to wind up back in your possession.  

"I don't know where to get started." 

I just...


Fifteen minutes.  Set a timer.  Work steadily.  Don't rush--focus on one thing.  Then when the timer goes off, look at the dent in whatever task you'd set for yourself.  

It may not be a huge dent, but it's there.  

Thing is, people don't want to change.  "The Good Lord will save me."  But they don't want to work to save themselves with the tools God has already given them.   

I'm done.  No more trying to help.