Friday, March 9, 2012

Dealing with Chronic Illnesses, Part 5: Organization Helps


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Before y’all glare at me for suggesting more work for we who can barely manage the basics most of the time, let me assure you that being organized can help us. I promise. The end result of becoming and staying organized outweighs the effort and the time. I understand the overwhelming fatigue that comes with a chronic illness, especially if the one who’s sick is mom. However, having one or more children who have chronic illnesses is enough to sap the energy out of even the most energetic of us.

Benefits
When you feel well, take advantage of it, but try not to overdo it! When you don’t feel well, you’ve got routines, plans, and procedures in place that can just work themselves out. Obviously, the toddler is not going to feed himself breakfast, although he may try, but I’m more focused on school work and perhaps a little necessary housework.

What to organize
The question really should be, “What shouldn’t be organized?” Academics, routines, and appointments can be written down and displayed prominently for all family members to access easily. School supplies, art supplies, and toys can be in labeled containers. For those with nonreaders in the house, try using pictures instead of words, both for putting away toys and for routines.

How to keep it working
Don’t expect everything to get and stay organized with just a snap of the fingers a la Mary Poppins. Start slowly when you feel up to it. Gradually work your way towards a more organized home and a more organized routine. A little at a time, train kids to put stuff back, look at charts, and groove to routines.

Attitudes are everything
The right attitudes can go a long way towards making everyone feel more positively about homeschooling, organization, and chronic illnesses. The book of Proverbs reminds us that “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken,” and “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (15:13; 17:22 NKJV). Let’s write these encouragements out and post them on the refrigerator beside the chore charts and schedules.