Of all the advice from all the gurus of the world...

I just read the really interesting autobiography of Blase Bonpane, a peace activist who has worked on Central American human rights issues. He used to be a Maryknoll (Catholic) priest, but was part of that great upheaval of the late 1960s in which many priests and nuns left their vocations in the church and began enriching the world as laypeople. 

Shortly after leaving the priesthood, Bonpane met and married a woman who had just left religious life herself, as a Maryknoll sister (nun). He and Theresa Kileen Bonpane went on to have two children.

Bonpane's book is really about his life as an organizer, not his family life. In fact, a blurb from Noam Chomsky states that he tells young people who ask, "What can I do to make this sad world a better place?" to start by reading Blase Bonpane's autobiography. 

But in the midst of reading about his political and social ideas, I was heartened by Bonpane's assertion that having kids can develop your abilities to make a difference in the world. 

Children will teach you, challenge you, make you grow daily, as nothing else. 

Of all the advice from all the gurus of the world and all of the ways of perfection, I would suggest one which I consider the highest: raise children....

Once our own infants come along and we realize they will be with us twenty-four hours a day, we must make a choice. Are we going to follow our selfish ways or are we going to respond to their needs? In our case, we were further challenged by the need to balance our political work and the children...  
— Blase Bonpane

Bonpane goes on to share insights from his experience raising a family while being an activist. His observation that, "every child in the world has had either too much parenting or not enough" resonates with me. He notes that, "the younger they are, the more attention they need." Between the lines, it's clear that he and his wife were excellent parents, bringing as much care and intentionality to raising children as they did to their political work. 

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When it seems impossible to keep your house clean, start here

Recently, I was at my friend's house and noticed how clean her kitchen was. She has two kids and a very busy life. When I complimented her on the overall tidiness, she told me her secret... 

She read How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana White (the "Slob Comes Clean" blogger). 

My friend walked me through the basic technique, which is designed for people who love to dive into specific projects but have a hard time keeping up on day-to-day chores. 

This TOTALLY describes me and the book has been a breath of fresh air. 

If you start your every weekend with a pile of dirty dishes and a messy living room to clean before you can even start having fun, try the approach taught in How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

It's working beautifully so far in our home... here's the cheat sheet (and if it sounds like what you need, I encourage you to read the book!)

1) Wash all your dishes every night before going to bed. 

2) Put away dry dishes when you get up in the morning. 

3) Sweep the kitchen floor every day (because as a result, you won't be able to have clutter underfoot any more). 

4) Spend 5 minutes every night putting random things away (the impact of this is very cumulative). 

If the list above sounds incredibly basic and wouldn't solve your problems, then the "Slob Comes Clean" world is not one that you need to visit. You are not a slob, and there are many other cleaning techniques for advanced people like you! 

But if taking these steps would represent a real shift in how you live at home, then by all means, walk this way! I am so grateful for my friend for being a fellow slob and telling me about How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

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