Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Higher Standard

A number of years ago, items bearing the initials WWJD started showing up. Of course, this stands for "What Would Jesus Do?" and is meant to be a tool for deciding the right thing to do in a situation. Generally, it's a helpful question although I'm not sure Jesus had to struggle with driving the speed limit or looking at naughty pages on the Internet, so it has its limits.

Speaking of standards, I've discovered the highest standard of all - W.W. I.M.M.T.D. It doesn't really roll off the tongue like WWJD but when it comes to our household chores, this is the highest standard possible. It stands for "What Would I Make My Teenager Do?". The power of this phrase hit me one evening like a soaking wet sponge.

As in many households, we have an agreement that the person who doesn't cook does the dishes. I do a lot of dishes. And I must say that cleaning the kitchen is not my favorite activity but I like eating so I have to do dishes. But this is a very onerous task to me and I cut corners whenever possible. So, this other evening following dinner, I was just about to assess how little I could get away with when, like a voice from heaven, this thought came to me - "What would I make my teenager do if she was cleaning the kitchen?" Well, if I was making my teenage daughter clean the kitchen, not only would every dish be spotless, dried, and in the cupboard, but every surface would be bright and shiny, the floor swept, the trash emptied, and a lovely bouquet of hand-picked flowers from our garden would grace our dining room table! In other words, if she does a chore, I expect perfection. When I do a chore, well, you have to understand that I work hard and I'm tired at the end of the day, and I do a lot of other things around the house, and I'm the Dad, usually a position of respect and privilege in many cultures, and, well, I just don't like doing all those fiddly extra things that jobs often require! But that night, I chided myself, "Why am I so tough when I'm the 'Big Bad Disciplining Dad' and yet so easy on myself?!?" OK! I had to admit it. I was a hypocrite! I was cut to the core and I pledged that night that I would always attain to the higher standard.

So, now, as the last dish is in the rack, I look around the kitchen and I ask, "What would I make my teenager do?", and I do it myself. Now, of course, the kitchen sparkles. I'm sure it's what Jesus would do.


Fredrica said...

What about the flowers?

Fredrica said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Austin Explorer said...

My favorite new acronym is WWJB--Who Would Jesus Bomb? In light of the recent neo-conservative panic to "get them before they get us" (the pre-emptive war doctrine), it's a pretty valid question to ask. Of course, Jesus was a big fan of turning the other cheek, so the answer to WWJB is "no one".