Saturday, May 20, 2006

An open (gripe) letter to all Ward Slackers

For some time now the church has had limited janitorial services and expect the members of the wards to regularly attend to the cleaning of the building. In our area, each ward is assigned certain times and within the ward each auxiliary is designated a particular day. This seems like an easy idea; until you consider the following. Some folks don't respond to the call to clean, and others feel that whatever they leave wherever they leave it will magically disappear or "someone" will pick it up for them.

Three other folks, and myself, are tired of being your "someone".

Thor is a High Priest, he is also Young Men's President, and I am a sister in the Relief Society which means when it is our turn to clean the building, Thor and I are expected to be there bright and early three out of four Saturdays in a month. Fine, I have no problem doing my share. However I do have a problem with cleaning pink lipstick kissy lips off of the windows, gum wrappers off the floors, putting books back onto shelves or bench holders, and other seemingly needless chores that should have no need to be done in the first place.

I am a bit fed up with you folks who allow your family's food, toys, and papers to remain on the pews. You just drop the hymnals on the floor and leave them there to press open the pages and dog ear the corners. Hello! The holder is at your kneecap, use it!

Today I unwound the cords of two different mics from around the piano leg. WHY? There is no need for that. The same for having to empty small classroom trash cans filled to overflowing when a large 32 gallon trash can is available down the hall in another room. Did you somehow miss seeing that the can was spilling over to the carpet or do you just like to see how high you can balance trash?

It makes me nuts to see the windows and the doors, filled with not just tiny fingerprints, but those of large people who should know better than to push on the glass instead of the handles, or play on the windows and just walk away. And those kissy lips? Egads! Can't you see how filthy that outside window is, I mean really...there was bird poop right next to your lipstain. You make me gag. And BTW, your nose print is pretty gross as well, if you can't see as far out to the parking lot as you wish, GO OUT SIDE, it's lovely weather out there.

What about erasing a board after class? How hard is that? Or vacuuming up after that whatever you did in the cultural hall last night? Do you think your mom is coming in today to wash those dishes on the counter or wipe off the stove? How about taking home that stuff you left in the fridge, I mean really, no one is here to eat your leftovers.

Hey mom, ever wonder why the Mother's Room smells the way it does? 'Could have something to do with a pail full of poopy diapers left to ferment over 7 days in the desert heat. Now let's think, just for a minute, how one might solve that issue...

If the four of us who do show up to clean the building for you are willing to scrub the toilet, mop the floors, wash all the doors, foyer windows, and mirrors, vacuum the entire building, dust each room, empty the large trash cans, replace all the paper goods, and ready the place for Sunday worship... the least you can do is take home the dang trash you leave in the pew each week. C'mon, that program is not that heavy, and don't you need that book at home? And while we're at it, how long do you go between snacks at home, and who pick the crackers and candy wrappers up for you there?

Take this as my personal invitation to come help once in a while, the four of us would like to go some place on Saturday morning too. Contrary to popluar belief, you are not that special and yes, this is your job too. You know, maybe if it takes 4 of us 3 hours to clean each week, if you came, maybe we could get done in 1 hour?

In your honour I offer the following song to get you motivated:

Ere you left the church this morning,
Did you think to clean?
Place the book back in its' holder?,
Pick up all your books and folders,
As you left the scene?

No, your mother does not live there!
She will not clean up for you.
If you make a mess while you're there,
Clean it, get a clue.

Classroom trash can filled with garbage,
Did you empty it?
Did you take the program with you?
Leave no wrappers on the church pew,
Where you family sits?

Did you leave the sacrament cups,
Cheerios or tiny toys?
Did you make sure it was spotless?
What did you teach your girls and boys?

Did you use the glass or handles,
to enter through the doors?
Print on windows full of sorrow,
Spray of Windex did you borrow
How clean were the floors?

No, your Mother does not live there.
Janitors have gone away.
It your job now, please do your share,
Before you leave today!

We get to clean -AGAIN- next Saturday. Do us a favor and clean up after yourself today so if you don't show up, at least all we have to do is clean what is actually on the list of chores and not all the extra work you leave behind.


(Original Text: Mary A. Pepper Kidder, 1820–1905
Music: William O. Perkins, 1831–1902)

add to sk*rt


tmg_founder said...

Unfortunately sister (in law)... I think that this is very symbolic of the care and honor that most members hold their testimony. Think the Church is in trouble? You can see where people are at by the way they dress, talk and behave. If they hold these truths sacred, then they will behave in same order. Where there is kindness, there is Christ. Where there is love, there is the Saviour. Where there is hope, there He is. The opposite is true. To often in the social milieu of the Church, my experince has been that of competition, pride, condescension, etc.. My fear is that we do not speak up enough. Leading by example is important and so is long suffering. But the Spirit tells me that we need to stand on our tower in the garden or on the wall of the city and yell out the Lord's complaint. The time is close. I think this post is timely and speaks to more than just your ward.
gary d. goodwin

chronicler said...

In our ward we make specific assignments. Each week for our quarter certain families are assigned their duty to show up and clean. It is amazing how much cleaner the building stays when the assignments are made. I have never witnessed some of the things you describe. However, we did take a certain seminary teacher to task for allowing his students to be slobs. After that incident the building has satyed relatively clean. I am really glad we don't meet in the stake center!

s'mee said...

TMG, I agree, there *is* a reflection of our inner commitment in more ways than coming to church and testifying that we "know", it is what we also *do*, and sometimes that *doing* is scrubbing a toilet or simply picking up after ourselves. Simple, but true. THANKS! and Welcome, I am a bit flattered to see you here even if you are the b-i-l! : >

Chronicler, we also did family assignments; and for two years the building was a complete mess. Every excuse was used. There were about 4-5 families who would find the time to clean either Saturday morning or LATE Friday night after the socials etc. But it is always the same families. If not their assignment or time, the building stays filthy, so they went to the auxillary assigments...not working too well either.

My real gripe isn't with the assignment or even having to do the chore, its with those who assume someone else will just pick up their program or chair, etc. As TMG above stated, it shows that "Adult Apathy" I complained about in the previous post. (man I am complaining a lot lately!)

ugh. Thanks to both TMG and Chronicler for your support and insights.

Yolanda said...

Looks like there needs to be a little reminder of what is meant by the phrase, "The Lord's house..." This isn't just the temple, either! (Can you imagine gum or mooshed cheerios in the temple?!)

s'mee said...

You said it Yolanda! Seriously, it's exactly the same.

chronicler said...

I have to say I am surprised by the lack of comments. I would have thought this would garner at least as many comments of other posts recently.

s'mee said...

Perhaps I am just being too cranky.

Kim Carney said...

This sounds like a famaliar story to me. My example being the same parents EVERY year who volunteer for events, cleaning, baseball, auctions. Is it just that a certain group of people, or a certain personalities are more caring and more responsible and actually SEE what needs to be done. And is it that the others are just too busy and selfish in their own daily doings that they can not see what needs to be done, or do they truly, honestly NOT see it. I have ponders these questions many times. I say, make a list, put peoples name on THAT LIST, and tell them when and where they are needed. ;)

Lisa M. said...

Oh Smee!

Big hugs first of all. Because this old world needs about fifteen million more Smee's.

Sis, you're FAR from cranky. Goodness.

I have had those exact same feelings, and don't currently only because I don't have to clean up at the moment.

I am forever EVER EVER irritated by those who don't look after themselves. And I am afraid at sometime or other, one of those selves, might have been me. (Sadly enough)

Okay Gary Goodwin..*grin*.. here here. I second what he said! (Only less elequently)

I love.. love.. love.. that you care with love and that you teach by example. Your light is such a strong one. I am so grateful to know you. I wish I were lucky enough to be in your ward.

Thanks again-for the great reminder.

Tigersue said...

You are so right. I am always amazed that it is the same people that show up to clean when ever it is our wards turn. I would love to see others step up and take part in the effort.

s'mee said...

Kim, Lisa and TigerSue,

Thanks for the suggestions and the support! I don't want to come off as if I have never let anyone down, because I am sure that I have. And I know there are valid excuses for folks avoiding the work. I am just frustrated at those who seem to *add* to the work and seem to be very talented at avoiding *any* work.

We have a gal who comes to almost every meeting, social or work assignment. The only times she misses are when she is going through her KEMO! On the other hand we have a leadership family who have the means to hire, the able bodies to work, and the influence to motivate; and yet they are the first to arrive, the first to leave and the first to add their name to the service project list so that the youth can gain that experience. The rediculous nature of this drives me nuts.

That and what has been said before; the apathy towards the Lord's house and everyone's responsibility at tending and caring for it.

Suzie Petunia said...

I am sorry from the bottom of my heart for being one of those thoughtless people! I will try harder from now on! I promise!

Jamie J said...

I totally agree. It shows such a lack of respect the way some members treat the buildings. A few weeks ago our Stake Presidency read a letter to all the wards about the care and respect we need to give the church buildings. I think it was quite a wake up call to a lot of members.