Work Harder, Want Less

Whenever I send my kids up to their room to play quietly there is a lot of whining and complaining. “I don’t want to do quiet time!” “Let me stay down here!” “But I need a snack!”.

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But when I send them up to clean their room or get dressed, and I go to check on their progress, they are playing quietly without complaint. They are happy to be doing something that is just one level more fun that what they are supposed to be doing.

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When I have been working hard at home, dedicating my day to truly working and not just wandering around waiting for the time to pass, I am so happy when I have a break to listen to the radio and have a cup of tea.

But if I have been home all day doing nothing, just listening to the radio and drinking tea, I am bored by the afternoon. I want to go out to dinner or go shopping. Just to do something.

When I was in college and I spent my days shopping and going out to lunch, when evening rolled around, I was looking for that next level of entertainment, which meant going out to bars or parties.

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I wonder if that is the problem with so many celebrities. They already have “the next level”. They have don’t have to do any manual labor, they are constantly going out and being entertained, they have money and fame. So all that is left for them at the next level is affairs, drug use, and other addictions.

How many problems could be solved by doing hard and time consuming work. Not because it keeps you busy and makes you tired (although that is good too!), but because the “next level” that you are searching for is simply to relax and read, or occasionally go out to eat. I, along with the children, tend to be very whiny and complainy on days I have sat around doing nothing, even though doing nothing should theoretically make me happy.

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So I am making the effort to put the children to work.  Not because I need the help or because it is good for them, even though it is. But because making them work more makes them happy to just be reading, or playing quietly with puzzles and dolls, or sent outside to dig in the dirt. Doing everything myself and letting them just do what they want means they follow me around, bored, asking for tv shows and being pesky.  Making up activities for them occupies them for a few minutes and then they are on to wanting to do something else.  Enough.

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And I am trying to see the value in my work as a form of entertainment. There is more than just clean and folded laundry and a clean and organized mudroom at the end of every Monday. (Okay maybe not every Monday.) There is a day spent in productivity that helps to keep my greed for ever-more entertainment in check. This reminds me of my parents telling me to go outside in the cold when I complained about it being cold in the house. All of the sudden it will seem very warm inside!

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(Back Before the History, a beautiful and original song.)

Getting what you want will never make you happy.  It will never make me happy at least, because then I am on to wanting the next thing.  So I am just trying to find a way to keep wanting what I have.  Which is more than enough.

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Happy Easter!

2 thoughts on “Work Harder, Want Less

  1. Cool post. I just worked a twelve hour day (Tuesday) and it was first time in a while I just sat down at night to watch a movie. It felt good.
    My 13 year old daughter, who is not one of those eager to jump in and do ‘work’ or chores has had a change of heart lately with a website called “chore monster”. I don’t think it would have worked if she was much younger than that.

    Like

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