By Dawgelene (Dr. Dawj) Sangster
How I learned to clean my childhood employer’s home was a great learning experience for me that I applied to other areas of my life.
In honor of women’s history month, I want to chat about being self-sufficient, and instilling the mind to work in our girls from a young age.
When I was 11, I started working my first job.
I worked for an English teacher who was very meticulous, organized and somewhat of a perfectionist. I remember the commute to her house on my first day of work. I had to get up every Saturday at 6 a.m. to make it to her house by 8 a.m. I worked 8 a.m.-4 p.m. most Saturdays, and earned roughly $22- $26 for a hard day’s work. I know, it wasn’t much, but it was a lot to me back then.
I would arrive to a prepared breakfast where I had to sit upright at the table; no slouching, so chewing with my mouth open, I had to use a napkin, no elbows on the table, and I had 15 minutes to chomp down breakfast, before going over my list of things to do for the day.
The work tasks usually entailed cleaning her curio and china cabinets, and shining all glass and figurines to perfection. I dreaded cleaning the living room because she had mirrored walls, and I had to clean them EVERY Saturday. Can you imagine having to do that every Saturday?
The most dreaded place was the bathroom. She had these tiny squared tiles on her floor and I had to get down there and clean between those tiles with comet cleanser, baking soda, and a cleaner EVERY Saturday. I scrubbed the toilet bowl and hugged it like it was my friend each week. From the front to the back; from the top to the bottom, I had to scrub the bathroom. After a while, I became immune to dreading it, and actually looked forward to getting it finished each week. It was my own personal challenge to clean everything, because I wanted to see it shine.
One Saturday, I was tired and wanted to take a short cut in the bathroom. I cleaned everything, but decided to skip the top of the doors and the back of the toilet. I figured that no one could see it anyway, so it didn’t matter. I finished up and was heading out the door, she paid me my wages for the day and gently whispered in my ear before she gave me my usual big hug, “next Saturday, clean the top of the doors and behind the toilet,” and then she smiled. I was SHOCKED and scared, to say the least. I could not figure out how she knew that I didn’t clean those areas. The following Saturday, I asked her how she knew I didn’t clean those areas when no one really looks in those places anyway.
“The nooks and the crannies may not be seen by all, but I know they are there and that they need to be cleaned. If you let dust pile on them, it will create all sorts of germs and bugs, so it is best to clean them every week,” she said.
From that point forward, I cleaned everything as instructed; even the things that I didn’t think mattered to others.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself about your potential nooks and crannies:
· What secret things are hidden in the nooks and crannies of your life?
· What will you reveal, and what action will you take so you can live a life of fullness?
· Are you hanging on to deep-rooted jealousy; un-forgiveness; past lies; harsh words, or improper thoughts?
There may be some things that you need to clean up, so that you can press forward. You have to let it go so you can move freely forward toward your purpose. It can be done and I am confident that you CAN do it. My hope is that you will acknowledge what you need to do, take the appropriate action, and embrace the cleansing process.