The concept or “orderliness” can be a vague one often times when we think about it more in depth. Most of us know how to put something into order, like our shoes or our bed; however many people do not know why that’s valuable, how to go about it, and how it very practically and importantly impacts a person’s and a family’s life. When our children first became old enough to be taught about doing things in an orderly way they naturally began also asking about (or complaining, as human nature goes) why we should put out the energy to be orderly. And I came across an amazing curriculum to teach not only orderilness but all 49 character traits to children, and actually to myself! *chuckle*
Family Living on Purpose is focused on encouraging parents in the direction of orderliness in their homes, with their time, and with money.  This post is not so much to show parents how to teach orderliness to their children (although I do cover this in my post Character Training For Children – A Core Aspect of Discipleship).  Rather, it is to highlight for parents what orderliness is, why orderliness is valuable, and how to practice it themselves to bless their families and their make their homes a more enjoyable place for anyone who gets to be there.
  • The definition of Orderliness, with flexibility
  • The concept of Orderliness
  • The role of leadership
  • Gaining more time
  • Orderliness and productivity
  • Orderliness and ideas
  • Application of Orderliness
  • What does God say about Orderliness?

All of this material today is taken directly from the Character First (CF) “Orderliness” character trait booklet – as the Character Training Institute has taught Orderliness more thoroughly yet clearly than I ever could. I hope that this will be one of those times when you can read a message like this and put away all your thoughts about how much your husband, teen, or friend could really use this. *wink* This post is for you: Wife, Mom, Homemaker, Daughter, Friend.  *smile*

 

The definition of Orderliness,

“Orderliness:  Arranging myself and my surroundings to achieve the greatest efficiency.”

 

With an admonition: Be flexible

“It is possible for a person to be so organized for every minute of every day that he or she reacts to an authority who gives a new or adjusted schedule. Flexibility is ‘not setting one’s hopes or affections on plans or ideas which can be changed by others.’

“Orderliness is critical to accomplish any task in an efficient manner, especially when the task may change. It is easier to adjust an organized plan than to attempt to redirect aimless wandering.”

 

The concept of Orderliness

“Orderliness is not a natural tendency or event. The second law of thermodynamics states that without direct intervention, matter goes from order to disorder. This law applies to people, too. We always tend to ward disorder. Not only is time lost by disorganization, but disorderliness also causes people to grow frustrated – leading to dissatisfaction and lower productivity.  However, there is a special sense of fulfillment when disorder is conquered and an area of responsibility is efficiently arranged.

“The key to orderliness is making it a habit. It is a big task to clean and organize a home that has been a disaster for weeks or months. On the other hand, if everything remains in its proper place, maintaining an orderly home is an easy task.

 

The Roll of Leadership

“When a person advances in leadership, it becomes easy to overlook the simple disciplines of orderliness and assume that someone else will take care of them.  Do not neglect the simple and most obvious needs for orderliness.  The very purpose of leadership is to provide order.  That is why a leader’s instructions are called ‘orders.’

“Here is a practical illustration:  The chief executive officer of an organization was walking with his assistants and giving them directions.  Suddenly, the assistants realized their boss was no longer with them.  Looking around, they realized that he had stopped to pick up a small piece of trash.  Sheepishly they all began looking for trash as they proceeded to their meeting.

“Teachers should lead not only to words, but also by example.  When the ‘little things’ are overlooked, remember the example of the CEO and take action.  This will hep you remember the importance of orderliness.”

 

Gaining More time

“If you want to enjoy one of the greatest luxuries in life, the luxury of having enough time – time to rest, time to think things through, time to get things done and know you have done them to the best of your ability – remember that the secret to having enough time is being orderly.”

“‘Take enough time to think and plan things in the order of their importance.  Your life will take on a new zest.  You will add years to your life, and more life to your years.  Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.‘”  -Benjamin Franklin

 

Orderliness and Productivity

“Remember that orderliness is not a goal in and of itself.  It is a means of achieving greater productivity.  One old saying reads, ‘Where no oxen are the crib is clean, but much increase is by the strength of the ox.’  In other words, keeping work areas orderly for the sake of orderliness doesn’t increase productivity.  It actually gets in the way of it.”

 

Orderliness and Ideas

“Order and ideas always go hand in hand.  To organize an idea one must understand the relationships between the parts, the plans, the processes, and the purposes.  Understanding these relationships helps a student or worker see how everything fits together.  In turn, seeing how things fit together helps a person to be more orderly.”

 

 

Application:

“Efficiency is one key to the success of any business or organization.  The five ‘I Will’s’ give practical ways to achieve efficiency through orderliness.  Use the resources in this bulletin to make real-life applications for the children at home, school, work, or play.  These statements are the basis for the stories, songs, and activities on [the following pages].”

Here are the 5 “I Will’s” to be learned by parents and children alike:

  1. I will pick up after myself.
  2. I will keep my work and play areas clean and neat.
  3. I will put things back where they belong.
  4. I will use things only for their intended purposes.
  5. I will return lost things to their rightful owners.

I have been absolutely amazed at how well our children have learned these 5 “I will’s” with each character trait we’ve studied.  The very creative but simple activities which the CF curriculum suggests that parents do with their children really firmly ingrain in everyone’s minds these 5 simple things.  And I have remembered them years later myself.  I remind the children of these things while we go about our days, they remember what I’m referring to and they delight in demonstrating how well they can follow through, and all of this helps me as the mom remember as well.

The CF curriculum offers a little expanded description of each of these “I Will’s” for parent’s information or clarification.

I Will Pick Up After Myself

“If children learn the habit of picking up after themselves, it will benefir them for the rest of their lives.  As soon as a person is finished using something, he or she should immediately put it away.  If children make a mess, they need to be responsible to clean up the mess.  It is too burdensome for others to always pick up after someone else because of his or lack of orderliness.”


I Will Keep My Work and Play Areas Clean and Neat
“An important part of orderliness is maintaining the cleanliness and neatness of an area that has already been made clean.  If children continue picking up after themselves on a regular basis, will become a habit.  Organizing school supplies helps to make a child’s desk more efficient.  If a child keep his or her toys in a designated basket of box, it will help to maintain an orderly bedroom.  Further, a person never knows when an unexpected visitor may arrive.  A person who maintains orderliness is able to welcome anyone at any time.”

I Will Put Things Back Where They Belong
“To achieve the greatest efficiency, and areas should be organized so there is a place for everything an d it is easier to put everything in its place.  Returning items to their proper places after they are used reduces piles and messes.  A child can demonstrate orderliness by putting away a toy before getting out a new one, placing clothes on a hanger or in the laundry basket, and returning food to the refrigerator or pantry.  Discipline and self-control are  essential to returning things  to their proper places in an orderly fashion.”

I Will Use Things Only for Their Intended Purposes
“Everything has a specific design and purpose and should be used accordingly.  A table knife should be used only with food; a hammer is meant to construct rather than destroy; and a pen is for writing, not poking.  Much harm can be done when things are misused.  When in doubt, a child should consult someone wise r for instructions on hwo to properly use an item.  Parents and teachers are resources for wise counsel and guidance in behavior.”

I Will Return Lost Things to Their Rightful Owners
“If children find something that does not belong to them, the right thing to do is return it to the proper owner.  To keep it, use it, and then try to return it would still be wrong.  Just as everything belongs in its place, everything belongs in the hands of its rightful owner.  A child’s natural tendency may be to hide and keep something he or she found, but the truthful and proper thing to do is return it to its owner.”

Now not all of this material for the parents is actually meant to be taught to children, however.  It is available for the parents to read to increase their own understanding, but then for the children there is a different approach.  For each of the 49 character traits the curriculum includes several things:
  • An illustrated story of how orderliness is demonstrated through an animal in nature (with a coloring page).
  • A story of how one famous historical figure demonstrated that character trait (such as Abraham Lincoln or John Washington Carver).
  • A very simple, short song to learn, with optional hand motions to aid in the children’s learning.
  • 12 activities to choose from to be done at home (with objects from around the house), one per day or week however you choose.
  • Suggestions for the parent of how to motivate a child towards that character trait using praise.
If you are a visual person like me, you may like to see an examples of some of the character traits, or how we personally implement this curriculum in our home. You can do so through my post,  Character Training For Children – A Core Aspect of Discipleship. Most of this curriculum is offered online for FREE! *cheer!* However you can also purchase the curriculum in sets of 9 character traits to a binder (per the photo of the binder above) if you would like to have it at home tangibly for reference.
I would also like to take a minute to mention that we are a people created and designed for order. It is a natural desire and need for people to be able to function at their healthiest and happiest in life. And the Bible shows us through out that this is a fact.

What does God say about Orderliness?

We can see throughout scripture that we were created by a God of order. There is order in everything: in the seasons, the stars and the universe, in the tides, the food chain, in the life cycle, in relationships – everywhere and in everything. Here are some portions from His Word,

“Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes order in the heights of heaven.” ~ Job 25:2

“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” ~ Proverbs 28:2

“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:40  

“For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit, and delight to see how orderly [disciplined] you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.” ~ Colossians 2:5

“In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, ‘This what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.'” ~ Isaiah 38:1 

“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn it’s place…” ~ Job 38:12.  – And I encourage you to read all of Job 38-42:6 if you would like a solid, lengthy exposition straight from God’s mouth to Job about being in control and holding all things in His perfect order. (Brace yourself if you’ve not read it before. *chuckle* *smile* It’s awesome.)

According to my Zondervan NIV Exhuastive Concordance, there are nearly 300 verses through out the old and new testaments referencing the words order, ordered, orderly, and orders. Is that a pretty good reason why giving attention to Orderliness is wise? *smile*

Learning what orderliness is, why orderliness is valuable, and how to practice it within our lives and homes can be really invaluable, and life-transforming really.  I hope this information on Orderliness brings some vision for you and a plan for how to pursue implementing it to bless yourself and your family; or if you are already orderly, perhaps this post will offer you affirmation and reinforce what you have already been practicing and teaching.
Blessings on your efforts towards orderliness,