Finish Your Chores Before You Play

The mini drama plays out every day in thousands of households around the world.  “Mom, can I go to the mall, play, see my friends, watch a movie?  You fill in the blank.  Mother responds, “Sure, but first clean up your room.”

Five or ten minutes later, “Mom, can I go now, my friends are waiting?”  This time the Mother’s response is in the form of a question. “Have you cleaned up your room?”  The answer comes back, “I’m almost done.”  The mother patiently replies, “Finish cleaning up your room.”

After an even shorter passage of time: “Mom, my friend called and they are coming to get me right now, can I go?”  Same reply from mother, “Have you cleaned up your room?” Same answer but this time with an added promise, “I’m almost done, and I promise that I will finish it as soon as I get home.”

This little drama is played out on the stage in homes every day.  Some end with a child suddenly finding a burst of energy to finish cleaning the room while his/her friends wait outside.

Some end with the mother relenting after hearing a flawlessly executed oration filled with promises to finish the room as soon as he/she gets back. The impassioned appeal would rival William Shakespeare.

In the later case, more times than not, the room remains cluttered for days, weeks, or months. The mini drama continues to play out week after week with the same script.

The request to go is the same.  The requirement to “clean up your room” is the same. The impassioned appeal, with slight changes in the speech for the particular situation, is the same. The condition to fulfill the promise “as soon as you get back” is the same.

You can smile as you read the script of this drama in family theater.  Most likely, you played both roles through stages in your life.

This same drama is played out at a larger and more significant level every year.  It is not played out in homes. The consequences are more than a cluttered room.

Every year, the nation’s fiscal year ends on September 30.  In order to operate the government after September 30, there must be a budget or authorization to spend money, adopted by House and Senate and signed by the President.

Every year, the US Congress takes a month long recess in August.  They always promise to take care of the budget before September 30.

When September 30 rolls around, the room is still cluttered. We the people hear more flowery speeches filled with excuses and promises.

Ironically, this year, it is not the seasoned parents who are calling on Congress to finish its chores.  It is the junior Senators who have not been there for long.

Senator David Perdue wrote a common sense editorial in The Daily Signal entitled, “It’s Time to Pull the Plug on the August Recess.”

The norms of Washington—including a month long recess—must never stand in the way of our efforts to act on the people’s priorities. Making America great again requires a substantive time commitment. It requires prioritizing national interest over self-interest. It requires a willingness to work through the weekends and make sacrifices when necessary.

Clearly Senator Perdue has not been fully assimilated into the Washington, DC culture. He still holds to a simple ethic that was instilled in him. “Finish your chores before you play.”

Signature-Donald E. Cole

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