The other day I was cleaning and reorganizing the master bedroom, that haven that my wife and I retreat to when we need quiet, peace, sleep — our escape route, safe room, sanctuary for when the kids become too much.
We’d let it get out of hand and felt that, maybe just maybe, it was setting a bad example for the kids, whose rooms are at least, if not beyond, the typical horror movie sets lived in by most teens in America — clothes everywhere, candy and wrappers under furniture, unemptied and overflowing garbage cans, last month’s missing homework crumpled in a corner, beds unmade. I think you get the idea. Then remember we have two teen girls in one room and two teen boys in the other, so multiply it by a factor of 10. At least. I’m fairly certain George Lucas was copying the girls’ room when he envisioned the Death Star trash compactor in “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
OK, so … I got into this mindset about setting an example for the kids while I was cleaning. The more I thought about it, the more my mind and my eyes came back to my stuff. What does the stuff I choose to hold onto and display say about me? What does it tell my kids is important?
The first thing to come to mind: reading. I have tons of books. I was glad to clean and organize just so I could get my books out where I could see them better. Not just reading, either, but education. There’s a good line-up of school books there, too.
Technology. There is a lot of computer stuff in our room. I’m a computer guy — I like to fix them, play with them and try them out, so having all this around makes sense. I wonder if my kids see that or if they just see “toys,” though?
Movies. I have a shelf with about 40 movies of all sorts on it. I wonder what those movies say about me? I could try to rationalize it, but I think a few probably don’t say much good about me.
Pictures. There are pictures of the kids around the room. They’re old, out of date and seem to fit in more with my history books than with my family life. We do plan to take new photos of them all and put those up, as well, this summer, though. So there’s that …
Books. Yeah, I’ve covered this already, but there sure are a lot of them, including several Bibles. Multiple series on King Arthur. Some sci-fi. Some fantasy. Lots of “Christian Living” stuff. They see the sci-fi and fantasy there, but it’s the other stuff they typically catch me reading. They ask me why and I share my love of the material — whether it’s the idea of Arthur or the attempts at catching who he may have been, or the works of contemporary Christian thinkers helping me to understand my walk with God and enabling me to make more sense out of his Word.
I’ve made conscious choices about what to keep and display the past few years. I’ve had to let some stuff go. I can’t even trust to hiding it in a box in the garage. No, seriously. They go through EVERYTHING. So, I’ve had to grow up, let go and mature. It’s a painful process, but it shows my kids an action that goes with my words and that makes it worthwhile.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on what my room says about me. What, though, do you have in your room and what do you think it says to visitors about you?