Get nasty work done quickly


Many hands make light work. That adage is especially true when you’re doing work that, at its core, is distasteful to the people doing it.

When our children were young, we would spend part of our Saturdays cleaning the house. A week of hard living and busy schedules combined with two young children always meant the house was in a shambles by the time Saturday morning rolled around.

So that was a good time to reset. Picking up the house was never my favorite thing to do and my children came by those same genes honestly.

I always figured it wasn’t fair for me to have to pick up the mess by myself because, after all, the girls made most of the mess.

I also knew that if I made them clean up the mess by themselves, it would take every second between Saturday morning and Monday morning and that, even then, there was no guarantee they would get it done.

So we tackled the work together and we made a game of it. I let them choose which room we wanted to clean first. Then I would give us a deadline for cleaning up the room. Cleaning up Anna Kate’s bedroom was a three-minute job. Picking up the living room was a four-minute job, and so on, depending on how much of a mess there was.

I “kept” the time in my head and would occasionally shout out how much time was left in our self-imposed deadline. That would spur a flurry of activity on the girls’ part and they would edge closer to cleaning up the room.

Both my kids were goal-oriented, so hitting those deadlines was something of a challenge. They liked challenges and we actually all had fun trying to meet our goal. Usually, within 30 or 45 minutes, the house was picked up and we were done with our dastardly chore.

In the community where I lived before we moved to Roxboro, our church youth group adopted a section of roadway near the church for litter pick up. Twice a year, a small bus load of teenagers would climb off the bus at our designated starting point, don the bright green vests, gloves and some trash bags and start picking up all manner of nasty mess off the side of the road.

For some, the effort was an adventure. They looked high and low for something that might be unique or noteworthy. For others in the group, the roadside clean up was a chance to socialize with friends for a while without having mom and dad hanging around.

Regardless, the 20 or so teenagers and the four or five adult chaperones made our way through the half-mile or so stretch in about an hour and no one in the group ever really felt like they had just completed a nasty job, which, of course, we had.

All that brings me to this. There’s a litter sweep coming up April 13-27 in Person County. The N.C. Department of Transportation is organizing it and they need volunteers. As much as we all love Person County, I have to admit, our roadsides are nasty. It’s distasteful work to clean up someone else’s mess. But many hands make light work.

If you’re interested in making Person County look better, call Kim Wheeless at 919-707-2974 and add your hands to the work.


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