Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review: Cleaning House

If you have kids then you have probably experienced the issue of "youth entitlement." Maybe you've experienced it but didn't know it actually had a name. Basically youth entitlement (which runs rampant among America's youth) is the belief of youth (children to teens to young adults) that they are owed whatever they want and should not have to work hard to gain it. In other words, their parents, as well as the world in general, owes them something.

Bingo. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? And you've probably seen in it your children's attitudes and behaviors as much as you don't want to admit it. I know I have. And it's ugly, and I don't like it one bit. In fact, it makes me cringe.

And even though we do try hard in our home to prevent entitlement from happening, it still manages to happen anyway. So I jumped at the chance to review this book. Finally, a mother who is brave enough to expose her family's struggles with it and air their dirty laundry in an effort to help families conquer this sense of entitlement in their youth.

Kay Wills Wyma, a mother of five from suburban Dallas, conducted a 12-month experiment of sorts after observing this self-absorbed, "mom should do it for me", "I should be able to have what I want, when I want it" attitude in her children. And then she sat down and recorded it in her new book, Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement She set out each month to tackle a different area that she felt her children as well as children as a whole in our country needed improvement in. To the dismay of her children, each month brought about a new challenge for her family and her children. And she admits that the experiment was not without struggles, grumbling, and complaining.

Here are the topics/issues for each month:
1. Operation Clutter Control (Starting simple: Beds and Clutter)
2. Kitchen Patrol (Discovering the Joys of Cooking - Along with Menu Planning, Shopping, and   Washing Dishes)
3. Grounding Time (Planting, Weeding, and Getting Acquainted with the Great Outdoors)
4. Working for a Living (The Search for Gainful Employment)
5. Domestic Dirty Jobs (Introducing Lysol, Tilex, Soft Scrub and the Dread Toilet Bowl Brush)
6. Roll Tide (Diving into Our Family's Dirty Laundry)
7. The Handyman Can (Do-It-Yourself Home Repair and Maintenance)
8. The Entertainers (Party Planning and Hospitality)
9. Team Players (The Benefits of Working Together)
10. Runner's World (Equipping Kids for Life's Little Errands)
11. It's About Others (Service with a Smile)
12. Ladies and Gentlemen (Minding Our Manners)

This book was a great encourager and motivator to get started in whipping the tail of entitlement in our children. Because what parent can truly feel down deep inside that giving their child everything they want and desire is really good for the child? Is it teaching them to work hard? No. Is it teaching them to value the things they own? No. Why work hard when I can get what I want just by asking my parents? Why value the things I own when they can be easily replaced without me having to lift a finger to replace it?

It's teaching them that they are owed something (many things, in fact) by their parents and their world as a whole. Imagine this child with this mentality in their first real job. Can you imagine?

I really liked this book, and my husband and I are implementing some of Wyma's suggestions. And it certainly confirmed in my mind the importance of teaching our children to work hard and serve others. I want to equip my children for the world by making them work. I don't want to handicap them by giving them everything they want and doing everything for them. I want them to know how to keep a house clean and organized, how to plan and cook meals, how to make purchases, how to put others first, etc.

Highly recommended.

*I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest opinion.*

1 comment:

In Wonder said...

i like this book also :).