Broken Window Syndrome

Dear Friends,

It is time that we stopped expecting our husbands and children to read our minds.

How many times DO we pout, when we do not get what we want? The worst part is we never told them what we wanted to start with. Some how they were expected to just know what we are thinking.

It is also time that we stopped fussing about a job that isn’t getting done by your family. Do you want to know why they are not much help? Well you better sit down for this one!

They are not lazy, no good, mean, or even disrespectful. They are living in a house with a broken Window. I can hear you now. We don’t have broken windows. Yes you do.

My Sweet Darling gave me this analogy. Your family has the broken window syndrome. In some cities, if a window is broken on a abandoned home in the neighborhood, it is fixed immediately! If you don’t repair the damage as soon as it happens, before you know it the community will begin to fall into disrepair, crime will invade the area and all the other houses will look awful too.

This is what happens in your home. The place is a disaster. Tables are piled high, clothes are on the floor, and dishes are in the sink and on the counters. No one seems to notice, it has always been like this. At least to them and their short memories. What does it matter if you add one more pair of socks to the pile or the newspaper on top of everything else on the table. No one can tell that you just dumped something else on the floor or didn’t put away the dish you had ice cream in. It was already a mess and this isn’t going to change! It looks much. Messy is still messy.

Now all of a sudden you have found this FlyLady person and she is telling you to clean up this mess. The trouble is you don’t think you made the mess and therefore it is not your responsibility to clean it up. You begin to spout out orders and the family is looking at you like you are crazy. Why is Mom being such a pain??? She has never acted like she cared before. Why Now?

Well I am here to tell you; that it IS your responsibility to set a good example, even if you have to clean it up by yourself for now. Your next responsibility is to sit them down around a table and have a meeting and tell them about your plan for the Family’s newly organized home. Ask them questions about if they would like to have friends over more and do more things as a family. Explain that this FlyLady wants you all to have peace and it will come if you all work together. Ask for their help and make a promise to do better.

Show them your routines and how you are going to start with just a few items and you are asking them to do the same thing: Lay their clothes out, keep them put in the proper place when they undress and get their things ready for school the night before. Make it 3 things at night and 3 things in the morning: Make their bed, put away P.Js, clean up after themselves in the bathroom. Your routine will be very close to theirs. Post them on their mirror or on their door. Put yours on the refrigerator.

Tell them that there are a lot people who doing this and your home is not the only one that is going through changes. You all can do this. Have this meeting weekly until they get the hang of this. Apologize for your lack of consistency and this will get their attention.

Now for your DH. He needs to be a part of this meeting too. I can hear him now. “Who is this FlyLady anyway? You have tried this organizational stuff before and it has never worked.” “Why does she think it is going to work now?” He thinks that since he goes to work that he is not required to help with the house work. I am not saying that he is right, just that let him think that for a while. Because once the house gets clean, he will notice. At this point he will train himself to put things away when he has finished with them. I know you don’t think this will ever happen, but it will, I promise.

It all boils down to the broken window syndrome. When the house is clean, one thing out of place shows up. But when it is trashed, WHO CARES ANYWAY? No one! including you.

Now set the example by shutting your mouth. This means no more fussing! In the time that it takes to bless someone out for not doing the job, you could have it done. At that point you can say, “Johnny this is your hat, put it in the closet!” There will only be one hat on the table. Not 15 other items.

Your change in attitude is enough to show them that you are doing something different this time.

You can do this. It is easier than you think. Attitude is everything. When this attitude adjustment occurs then you can bless your home with everything you do. Not curse it. Love your family and show them, before long it will all come back to you in more blessings than you can count.

FLYing is so easy for the whole family when you set the example in love!


I want you to get out that Control Journal you ordered from me and start filling in the blanks. It is just an instruction manual for your home. Having it open to your routines; lets your family know what you have to do. Check things off as you go!

This week we are focusing on our bedrooms, Zone 4. You can’t tell your children to clean their rooms when yours is a disaster area! Set the example! You just might be surprised!

If you have noticed more help from your family because of this change in attitude, please share it with us. Send your testimonial to with I WAS SURPRISED in the subject line.

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