Resisting Tidy Creates the Mighty

Over the weekend, I decided that my picnic table desperately needed a paint job . I invited Katherine ( my 7-year-old granddaughter) to help me give the table its “face lift”. We needed to take extra precautions and allow more time (all day) for the estimated completion but the value of this project , as a learning experience, soon became clear.

It would have been VERY much faster, and more tidy, to do it alone. I suspect that parents have a lot on their plate these days and easy/tidy options are a big temptation but, please consider, this list of the things that Katherine learned that day… Things that only doing can teach.

  • Supplying a project can be costly and must be planned.
  • Setting up is time-consuming but makes the job easier and better.
  • Our hardware store happens to have a candy counter!
  • Primer is a spray-on paint that makes the final paint last.
  • Dipping your brush in too far makes lots of drips.
  • Spreading the paint, too thinly, makes it start to dry and get sticky.
  • Waiting between coats, makes for a better cover.
  • Painting against the wood grain does not work, as well as, following it.
  • Painting is very tiring for your arms.
  • Always watch the edges for drips.
  • Work from the center outward or you’ll be leaning in wet paint.

People rarely are born with skills. They learn them.
Parents please resist that “tidy reflex”, as often as, possible. Include your kids in everyday tasks and you’ll take part in building mighty skilled people.

BTW-We both were scraping yellow from our ears, hair and arms for days after.


Grandma and Katherine's project completed.
Grandma and Katherine’s project completed.


Fluid are my thoughts.

Writers are constant thinkers. By now, all of you must have realized that your best material pops to mind whenever you are busy and are unable to jot them down. Even if you dash for a pencil and pad, somehow those perfect phrases drift away as you search.

My favorite thought-provoking activities are:

Mowing the lawn

Taking a shower

Driving the car (not while riding as much)

Waking up in the dark

…and as I am caring for my day care kids.

Nothing disturbs a thought more than a stinky diaper or a messy face!

Even now, I have been interrupted twice away from this post.

Can you imagine the intuitive, brilliant things I might have said? 🙂

Have a great weekend! I’ll be mowing my lawn.