Arguing with my son about making his bed, he makes the familiar argument:
“What’s the point? I’m just going to get back in it tonight. And I like having my body print, so I can lie in the same spot.”
Yeah, but there’s a whole day of task-tackling and opportunity before you sack back out. I give the pep talk about self-pride and giving yourself a sense of accomplishment. I reiterate the importance of starting the day off right – remembering a video last year of a Navy SEAL admiral talking about the importance of making your bed in a commencement speech at the University of Texas.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” he said. “It will give you a small sense of pride. And it will encourage you to do another task. And another. And another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
Making your bed is a must.
But then I remember something else. A Huffington Post article that said you shouldn’t make your bed every morning. It could be bad for your health. That if you immediately make your bed, the tight sheets will trap millions of dust mites that live on your bed, feeding off your dead skin cells and sweat.
No way we’re making beds.
But – more importantly – Admiral McRaven maintained that “Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter.”
Yeah, but those dust mites are little things that matter. They can potentially contribute to asthma and allergy problems. And we all have allergies over here.
“If you can’t do the little things right,” the Admiral said. “You’ll never be able to do the big things right.”
Luckily, HuffPo says a little thing that you can do is expose the creatures to fresh air and light to help dehydrate the mites, eventually killing them. So maybe leave your bed unmade while you get ready for the day, giving the sheets an opportunity to dry from the moisture. It also says to remember to wash your sheets every one to two weeks.
Okay, so instead of getting up and immediately making his bed, my son will get up and air out his bed. Then he’ll eat his breakfast, brush his teeth, find his socks and ask me multiple times what day it is. And then – with the dust mites dehydrated – he can make his bed.
The Admiral’s right. That one task completed really does turn into many tasks completed. And the kid hasn’t even left the house yet. The Admiral’s conclusion: “So if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Learn how to wash sheets, and you can probably run it too.