The Goetz Family Law

  1. dropping wet towels on bedroom floor (STUFF)

  2. brushing teeth (SELF)

  3. not eating 17 cookies (SELF)

  4. doing homework (STUFF)

  5. putting away toys (STUFF)

  6. washing hands after wiping (SELF)

  7. getting a job (BOTH)

  8. taking off shoes in the middle of the kitchen and leaving them there (STUFF)

  9. going to bed  (SELF)

  10. developing friendships (SELF)

  11. putting gas in car (STUFF)

  12. etc.  etc.  etc. Believing this was the answer, we adopted a new Goetz Family Law, one that didn't take hours of preparation and doctorates for each of us to understand.  I could pretty much throw out the charts and the contracts.  Each situation was evaluated by these two simple questions:  "Are you taking care of yourself?  Are you taking care of your stuff?"  It didn't matter how old these precious children of mine were.  It didn't matter what kind of personality they had.  It didn't matter if they were a boy or a girl, an introvert or an extrovert, played the guitar or lacrosse, 15 or 3. As time marched on, many things fell under this purview.  I had great relief as I had a tool to help me.   External behavior that aids in teaching character traits like responsibility, ownership, and stewardship were more easily managed.  However, not all things landed neatly in the columns of self and stuff.  We still faced:

  13. cooperation

  14. generosity

  15. kindness

  16. respect

  17. compassion

  18. thankfulness

  19. forgiveness

  20. patience These were the deeper issues of the heart.  Thankfully, I didn't have to muster up another lightbulb moment to address these.  Someone much wiser than me had already done the job about 2,000 years ago.  In fact, He had summed up all 613 of those rules in the Jewish law with just two:  "Love God.  Love your neighbor as yourself."  No rocket science needed here.  Easier on the mind and on the heart (so glad I live on this side of history). I am coming out of the parenting years (very slowly and painstakingly...in fact, our youngest just graduated high school yesterday).  Can I put all of this away now?  My answer to myself is "no."  All of this stuff applies, not just to parenting, but to life.  And certainly to me.  I need to take care of myself and my stuff (my health, my family, my finances, my emotions, my home, etc.).   But my greater need is one where love (the love of God, self and others) is the center of my heart and all the richer and deeper things of life flow from that center.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Breathe. Just breathe. Long. Slow. Deep. Breathe. Words said to me over and over again with every single contraction I had as I labored with each of my four kids. Breathe. Just breathe. Long. Slow. De

“Relax, Mom.” My LEAST favorite phrase that graces the mouths of my kids. It usually comes when I am in a tizzy, overcome with fear about something that’s out of my control. “Mom, can I go to this par

The back door opens. It’s late. I’m awake because that’s just how it is as a mom. No sleep until every child of mine is home safe. My recent college grad walks into the family room where I lay on th