Make your bed. It all sounds so simple.
My young adult years were spent collapsing into bed after working all day and caring for my family’s needs. When dawn broke, my deep sleep was pierced by the exuberant and sweet sounds of my little ones who were ready to get moving.
Another busy day would begin. Without any thought of making my bed.
In the book, “Make Your Bed,” retired Admiral William H. McRaven writes about the importance of doing little things right. “Every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”
But I wouldn’t have needed a former navy SEAL to preach to me about making my bed. My mother (who had eight children) tried to teach by example. She made her bed every morning. And dear Aunt Thelma did her best to encourage me, as well.
Still, my bed remained a tangled pile of sheets and blankets during those years.
Often, timing must intersect with wisdom before we get it. We have to be ready to receive the message.
Now that I’m an empty-nester, I see things differently.
Before, when working and raising a young family, there was no shortage of tasks that needed to be completed. Making my bed was last on the list. It rarely got done.
I’m in my late 50’s, now, and still work. But the kids are grown and enjoying the hustle and bustle of their own expanding families. My husband and I have settled into a home life that lacks the busyness of the earlier years. Recently, I’ve been discovering that it’s not that hard to spend a few minutes making the bed in the morning.
And somehow passing by my bedroom, with its well-made bed, reminds me that it’s not time to give up the day just yet. It’s good to keep moving and keep accomplishing something.
An unmade bed sends the opposite message, that it’s quitting time.
All can learn from the discipline that comes with making your bed every morning. It becomes the first successful task for many who have a full day of activities—like young parents or those throwing their energies into building their careers.
But it seems especially important for middle-agers. Our tasks may be fewer, but seeing smoothed out and tucked in sheets and bedding reminds us that the day’s bounty isn’t over. We’re not done yet. We have more to offer and experience.
My prayer every morning is, “Thank you, God, for letting me wake up. Thank you for gifting me with another day. I will try not to waste it.”
Surprisingly, a well-made bed is a simple start to keeping that promise.