Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chaos versus Order

This segment will be a weekly occurrence spaced out between my daily ramblings about my life, problems, issues and whatever else. These viewpoints will be the actual highlight of this blog, as the title of it does actually say something about "commentaries". As I come up with certain things that I feel are important enough to bring up as either topics of conversation or just things that need further examination, I will place them here. Without further ado....

Destroyer Divine's Commentary on "Chaos versus Order".

I bring this one up because this morning, my son and I had a major dispute over the fact that I have instituted a highly organized means of doing things and he feels that it's "unjust" because he likes his things where he can get them at a moment's notice. Case in point, the simple matter of laying out one's clothing for the next day, the night before, or the simple task of keeping a room clean and straight, is the problem for him.
Mik'el Jr., being a very vocal 7 year old, and as many young boys are, has his own way of doing things, which seems to run counter to how I want things to be.

Destroyer Divine Jr. loves chaos. Destroyer Divine Sr. loves order. So, the daily battle of wills is a very continual issue in our household.

Mik'el Jr. is a slacker!

He says that I'm anal retentive, knows what it means and knows how to spell it!

Yet, his embracing of chaos and disorganization is from my view a means of "rebellion". Now, of course, my children are very respectful and do say the mandatory, "Yes Sir!" or "Yes Ma'am!" but do have minds of their own, so my son's actions really don't constitute rebellion or disrespect in the least, as he's just expressing his version of things. Seriously though, he really is a good boy and does work hard, it's just this one issue where we don't see eye to eye and it's really getting to me.

On the flip side of all of this is my oldest child, Jihan. *Angelic Music playing in the background*

Jihan, my beautiful and so very helpful daughter, is quickly entering the ranks of the highly organized, as she has the maturity to understand that if she does things to keep things organized, it not only frees up valuable play time, but makes her father very happy.
From her point of view, she feels that I will be more likely to be willing to give her what she wants, if she gets her chores and tasks done. She is so very smart and sweet, but very manipulative to the extreme.
Jihan is a negotiator through actions, though and I must keep in mind that she is actually doing this to make me happy because she's a "Daddy's Girl" and loves to please me, but she's also carrying an ulterior motive on just about everything she's doing. She'll do all of the necessary things to keep approval, and then will hit you up with a copious selection of her wants, such as the school dance on Friday night, (where she can see the boy she likes, but doesn't think I know about), a whopping $20.00 for afore mentioned dance to "buy drinks and to get into the dance", or her friend's sleep over on Saturday night, which by the way will have every popular girl in her grade attending, and she HAS to go or risk being seen as a "LOSER". Oh, the agony of it all!

Or, she'll offer her assistance on a chore that I am currently doing to basically hold it as political capital for something that she wants in the future, or can use to bargain her way out of a failure of a past chore (ie. "Oooops I forgot to do the dishes last night, but remember that I helped you with the vacuuming, dusting and laundry all this week? And you didn't even have to ask me. Did you?!?!").
Can you say, Republican Party hopeful in the not so distant future?

Mik'el Jr. does bring me great joy, don't get me wrong, but it's just that he is so very much like his mother that the disagreements that his mother and I had over general household cleanliness, neatness of dresser drawers, or just simple home maintenance are still very much alive and well. It's like he's taken up her cause of sheer laziness and the pursuit of a trashed room just because he knows that those are the things that I despise the most, to either get more attention, or just because he doesn't feel like doing what he's supposed to. It's like he's standing on a prominent hill or mountain, waving a torn, grimy, smudged up, white banner with the words "DIRTY PEOPLE OF THE WORLD UNITE!!!!" written in bold grungy black-brown, scrawled letters.

Or is it that he just doesn't have my genetic disposition for neatness? Is that part of the mental make up that Marie's (my ex-wife's) side of him that tends to dominate, as I would like to believe or just the simple doings of a little boy? I don't know, nor do I really care, as we're all adaptable, and can adjust to almost anything.

Besides, I'm the "head honcho" and it's MY way or else!

So, I'll entertain this little "fracas" over housework and organization for a while and work to make it a learning experience for my son, as in the end, once he's an adult, I want him to say about me, the exact same things I say about MY father. Oh yeah, this is definitely one of those "I told you so" moments for my father, as we had the same battles when I was younger.

Yeah, I was once a slob in major fashion, but my transition to the ranks of the organized occurred rather abruptly once I found out that if you aspire to be truly lazy, organization is actually your best friend as it frees up loads of time and energy which, could be spent doing the things you want to do rather than what your parents want. Why is it that Mik'el Jr. can't grasp this concept, as he is absolutely brilliant? I think it's because he has his mother's laissez faire attitude towards housework and even life itself. He's a free spirit and just can't see the application of order in his life, and how it relates to other areas. He's the youngest in his class and at the top of it, so, I know he's a hard worker. There was talk of moving him up a grade last year, but Marie and I decided to veto that one as he didn't have the maturity of his classmates. This latest incident does kind of validate that decision, but I always hope that my children will prove me wrong in situations such as this, but so far, I'm batting a thousand.

While I may be somewhat of a neat freak, I am not so overboard that if I see a misplaced item that I'm going to lose sleep over it just because it isn't in the place it's supposed to be. Now, I've dated women who were like that and even enjoyed it for a while because there was that common tie, but that can be something that may be a serious mental condition, if it gets to scrubbing the cement on the garage floor daily. Yet, to want to live in an environment of complete and utter disregard for keeping things straight, isn't going to happen in my household, and the sooner my son realizes that this is the law, he'll be better for it.
Nor, will I be swayed by a 7 year old who says, "Daddy, but in a messy room, I can find everything because it's all over the floor." because right now, I'm the one paying the mortgage and I have him beat with 33 years more of lifetime experiences.

So, some of the things I have done to ease his transition from complete "slackerdom" to "maximum efficient organization" are listed below:

  1. Write down in a concise list of orders that HAVE to be completed by a deadline time.

  2. Post them where my son can see the list.

  3. Post with each item a reward, and a punishment for compliance or non-compliance.

  4. Encourage and enforce a clean and tidy room, at least once an hour while we're at home together.

  5. Continual stress on "Setting yourself up for success" (ie. laying out school clothes the night before, packing the book bag the night before, bathing the night before, cleaning room before going to bed, ect. ect.)
  6. Tying all of the "demands" to one big family oriented reward which will be redeemable at least once every two weeks.

With these things I've recently instituted in my household as of last night after some serious discussion with my children, I hope will bring positive results.

Right now, the dishes are done, the living room is perfect, Jihan's room is very nice and comfortable, and Mik'el Jr.'s room is neat with the exception of his school uniform from the day before where he walked out of it, balled up on the lower bunk of his bed.

That much, I can tolerate, so, I'll definitely keep you all informed about how these things are working.

Let's just call it our little experiment in organization.

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