Family Tip: Make Your Bed!
Apr 10, 2017 / Written by: M. Taylor
"Order assigns each thing its place. If you keep order, it will keep you. If you disturb order, it will disturb you. If you destroy order, it will destroy you. All that disturbs order disturbs peace." —St. Francis de Sales
Today’s family tip has to do with the underestimated but essential virtue of order. I also like to refer to it as “the sense of order.” One way to instill orderliness in children, is to teach them to make their bed, properly and promptly. As we all know, it is important to start the day out right, for as the great Saint Francis de Sales teaches us, “The beginning of everything is very important.”
Msgr. Romano Guadini writes in his excellent book, Learning the Virtues That Lead You to God: “There’s more to goodness than keeping the Commandments: you’ve got to cultivate virtue too, so that you please God in what you do—and not merely in what you don’t do.”
And the first of the virtues he tackles in his book is the Virtue of Orderliness.
He explains, “[Orderliness]…underlines a sense of rule, a sense for what is necessary, so that a certain condition or an arrangement may endure.”
Indeed, one who acquires the virtue of orderliness is thus able to order, organize and prioritize their lives which, in turn, bestows the capacity and self- discipline to meet the obligations, priorities and commitments that we all have. Once this is achieved, the result is: PAX–peace.
Making that bed
At home, Mom was a stickler for orderliness–though she was patient. She knew neatness and a sense of orderliness is not something normally included in the Stork’s satchel. For this reason she taught us the importance of neatness and orderliness throughout our childhood years.
Mom believed that each day was determined by its start! An early rising, with a positive, snappy, cheerful and disciplined beginning helped to energize our sluggish wills, flex our spiritual muscles, and set the tone for the day.
In our home that something positive, snappy and disciplined was making our bed.
Once in a while Mom would remind us that in monasteries, convents, the military etc..., making your bed is paramount as it helps to build strength of will, depth of character and promote order in our lives and in our surroundings.
I still remember the story she would tell us about how to test a “well made” bed, with sheets pulled tight.
This was done by tossing a coin on the coverlet. If the coin bounced, you passed.
We listened wide-eyed, impressed and envisioning a “drum” for a bed. We got the idea. In this way, she taught us how to make our beds properly.
Although I don’t remember any coin tossing, I do remember my Mother's vigilant and patient gaze until we formed this habit.
Her patience in this regard, was especially beneficial as it impressed upon each of us how much she actually understood us as individuals. She knew the formation of a virtuous habit varies with each child.
Through the years, in the natural flux of home life, she enforced but also flexed the rules; virtue for her was a “living” thing and not just a “rigid” rule.
So there was many a time when I ran out the door, late for something and came back to an unmade bed at the end of the day. But the important thing was that, at the sight of my messy covers, there was that feeling of “let down” as I renewed the resolution, I will make my bed tomorrow. It bothered me to walk into an un-neat room.
And right there, Mom and Orderliness had won.
I can say for sure, that the simple habit of making my bed every morning along with all the other good habits Mom instilled in us, have gone a long way not only to help me live, love and trust the Lord’s Commandments, but to live as happy and productive a life as this earth awards.
Illustration by A.F.Phillips
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