Permission to get Messy

RuthAnn & Elvin Zimmerman, Live in North east Iowa on 21 acres with our 7 children. They have lived on their acreage for 20 years now.

They have a couple different breeds of cows for milk and beef, Mangalitsa hogs, chickens and 2 Donkeys.


RuthAnns husband works full time but finds time to to the ‘heavy lifting’ of the homestead while her and the children do the day to day chores of the animals and in the summer in their 8000 sq feet garden planting, weeding and harvesting.


Their oldest child, Kristina, is married and lives near by, and their other children still live at home, ages 18,13,11,8,5,4.

My boys are often messy, dirty and even downright filthy!! 

But there are times when they know they’re going to get extra dirty and they’ll come and ask for permission to do something that isn’t in their normal play.. 

Oftentimes I’ll grant permission as long as they’re responsible about helping with the clean up.. 

As our children grow there is definitely less physical dirt, but that’s when the emotional mess starts happening. 

They come home from school or from an outing with peers, they’ve experienced something that causes them unrest and the messiness of emotions that come with that unrest, they spill these messy emotions all over everything in their sight, often without asking for permission. Our reactions to that mess is what teaches them if we can handle their emotional messiness. 

When we respond with acceptance we are giving them permission to get messy, we stand beside them and help them be responsible and figure out how to clean up their emotions and help them decide where they stand on messy issues!

We need to give our children, teens and even adult children permission, and even encourage them to get messy as they swim against the rushing current of their generation. 


We as parents need to become comfortable with messy!!!

We as parents need to be more concerned about them standing for what is morally right than about the messiness of a teen not fitting in with the popular crowd. 

We as parents need to become more comfortable with the messiness of saying “no” than we are with the momentary peace that a simple ‘yes’ brings. 

We need to become comfortable saying no in those messy years when all their friends have the newest device and the popular apps and video games and the child is left standing by himself against the current of his generation. 

In those messy years when you won’t buy them the trendiest clothes and they don’t get invited to the popular parties. 

Those same muscles formed as they stood alone while their peers were given the permission and even encouraged to follow the agenda of the world are the muscles they’ll use to swim upstream to a place of leadership. 


Those same muscles are the muscles they’ll use to stand firm for their beliefs while their peers who haven’t developed the necessary strengths follow the rush of any breeze that promises a ‘none messy’ life. 


We need to worry less about our children ‘fitting in’ and focus more on those activities that help them develop the strength to stand firm, against the agenda of the enemy. 


We as parents need to expect and even embrace the messiness of raising children that are able to stand against the current of their generation.


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