Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lessons from the Ant

My children love to listen to Jungle Jam stories. One of their favorites is the story of the day the members of the ant colony took a lesson from Gruffy Bear and decided to "be their own bear". The queen ant was away, so they stopped working and did whatever they felt like doing. When she returned and wondered where her worker ants were, someone told her that they were off "being their own bear". Her reply? "Oh, not again! Last year they were being their own sloth." Apparently this wasn't a new problem!

Proverbs 6 talks about the ant:
Go to the ant, thou suggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

The ants from the Jungle Jam story were indeed a work of fiction, because the Bible tells us that ants do their job--day in and day out, rain or shine--without anyone to tell them what to do. In the world, despite the anti-authority sentiment that is so popular today, everyone has to answer to someone. In high school, it is somewhat easy to be organized and get to class on time because there are consequences in the form of a bad report card or a disciplinary procedure from the teacher, if one does not do what he is supposed to do. In a place of employment, there is always someone higher to which to be accountable. Even if one is the president of the company, he must answer to a board of directors or something similar.

Being a housewife, stay-at-home mom, working mother or whatever other term you use to define yourself as the keeper of your home is very different. You have a job description, but it is not very clearly defined or spelled out for you. You don't have anyone stopping by to inspect your toilets to see if they are up to code (thank goodness!). You don't have an annual report to submit to an employer on the amount of laundry detergent used or the number of meals prepared. You don't even have an employer at all. You are totally on your own. The freedom this affords can seem to be a good thing, but if this attitude is taken too far it can only lead to laziness and frustration.

We hear a lot about "time management" these days. In trying to take seriously my job, which has "no guide, overseer or ruler", I have learned by sheer necessity that some structure has to be placed upon my days or I will accomplish nothing of value. Therein lies the key...what am I trying to accomplish? We'll talk more about that later this week.

What are some ways that you structure yourself and your home without an "overseer"?


  1. I am looking forward to your posts this week. This is one of my favorite subjects! I am very drawn to managing the home well but honestly it does evade me a lot of the time. I do end up frustrated when things slip and the schedule gets lax. I thrive on staying busy and keeping order with joy of course. I am no drill sergeant. :)

    My conscience is my supervisor and knowing my husband is faithfully working hard to support us is what makes me view what I do as a job. He is not overbearing or demanding so I am my only accountability. I have high standards for my home and how I manage my time but right now, entering my 9th month of pregnancy, I find myself so limited in what I can do. I do look forward to when things kind of smooth out again and I have my body back so I am strong enough to carry out my day as I think it should be.

    Thanks for bringing up this topic. It is a great one!

  2. >>>My conscience is my supervisor and knowing my husband is faithfully working hard to support us is what makes me view what I do as a job.<<<

    I like this attitude! Feel free to share throughout the week. This is an area I am always working on.