Yesterday, my oldest daughter had to choose one object from home that best represents her to share with her class. The teacher wrote: "Find one thing that best describes who you are."
She said she'd choose one of three things: her Bible, her journal, or a photo of her cats. She values God, her writing, and her family members (OK, they are cats, but still).
I'm cleaning my bedroom and I pass over various things I've collected over the years: jewelry, clothing, books, candles. Was there anything precious in the whole lot? Was there anything I could say best represented me--the way my daughter could find the essential core of her identity in 3 objects?
Cleaning day suddenly becomes so much easier. I don't need so many things. I can pare down to essentials--the things that represent me and what our family values. If it doesn't fit into that essential core, I can recycle it or give it away.
I'm seeing toys and trinkets differently. I start to visualize what it means to give my children objects that can begin to represent their core identity. God, creativity, relationships. Can it be that simple? Suddenly, cleaning never felt so pure, so right. Suddenly the toy aisle and clothing section of stores don't have the same pull. Sure, I can buy things as diversions to fill up the days (as I often want to do for myself), but when it comes right down to it, what lasts (and what we want to keep) we can't even hold in our hands.
Parenting--and living with flair-- might be broken down into these three things: God, creativity, and relationships. Does every room I'm cleaning help foster these three things? If not, I'm rearranging the space and purging the objects within it to make room for flair.