The 2014 graduation message at the University of Texas went viral. The topic that pushed it’s high visibility status was Admiral McRaven’s commentary on having a bed making discipline. Highlighting a rudimentary chore seems funny to some; but honestly, his emphasis on that task was music to my ears. As an Enneagram 1 (soul-based personality), details and order are very important to me. I simply cannot start the day without having my bed made (been that way since grade school!). It is also one of my teens daily chores which her allowance covers. In fact, if her bed is not made in the morning before school, she gets a dollar deduct on her allowance.
Of course, not everyone is wired to find this type of routine discipline pleasurable. And, that seems in part why the speech was such an epiphany to some. As a fast-paced culture, many have simply abandoned basic routine chores which used to be commonplace. What’s happened? Have our resources or highly educated minds now given us the freedom to not be as rigid about chores? Or, do we simply just fill our lives too full to care about the former basics? Well, maybe it’s a little of both. After all, life has become way more transient with our traveling to and from daily routines and activities than it was a generation ago.
We Americans have experienced great lifestyle cultural shifts in the past few decades. Some shifts have produced life-giving results. Many individuals no longer feel tied to legalistic routines that were forced upon them. But, like everything, part of the shifting is not good, especially for children in their formative years. Children need basic chores with positive reinforcement to channel good lifestyle building engrams, pattern brain channels of learning. Well, that’s how my psychotherapist neighbor described it in a conversation about my teen. I had mentioned my daughters chores promoting responsibility, care of personal belongings and some semblance of order in her teen-messy room. My neighbor was powerfully affirming of this discipline, detailing how these types of routines create the engrams for learned behaviors. I felt brilliantly affirmed. That’s why I add a Thank You Admiral… when my teen gives me a bed making rebuttal, I can now youtube his commencement address for both her and me!