The Dishes Dilemma

    “The Dishes Dilemma,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, 62

    The Dishes Dilemma

    After a recent activity, I made a quick phone call to a girl from my Beehive class to tell her that she had been missed. On the other end of the line was a tearful, angry girl. It had been her night to do the dishes, and as a result, she had missed the activity.

    We need to teach our children the value of work, the responsibility of belonging to a family, the joy of service, but what was taught in this instance? Responsibility or resentment? Service or servitude?

    As a child, the concept of having a turn at dish duty was foreign to me. No, we didn’t have a maid. But dishes were never just one person’s chore in our home, dishes were everyone’s responsibility. After dinner, we all “jumped up from the table,” as Mom used to say, and did them together. Everyone got busy—Dad in the dishpan; Mom putting food away; kids clearing the table, drying, and putting away the dishes. Even without a dishwasher, it never took more than fifteen minutes from start to shiny-clean finish. Few excuses were ever accepted for nonparticipation—not big brother heading for the bathroom or sister having to do homework. After all, it only took a few minutes; anything could wait that long.

    What did we learn in our kitchen? Cooperation, sharing, service, and love. Oh, we learned a lot of corny songs from our father, too. He would sing “You Are My Sunshine” and we’d all join in. At seventy he still “jumps up from the table” and heads for the dishpan.

    At my home, I wouldn’t do dishes any other way. A lot of sharing goes on in a kitchen when everyone is helping. It’s a warm, loving place to be; and I’m thankful that my parents found this solution to the dishes dilemma. Karen C. Anderson, Renton, Washington