Make your bed, how small disciplines make a difference.
My mother never instilled the habit of make your bed, in me. I believe it could have helped me more in my early years to develop discipline and commitment. While this small action could have created a flow on effect, I can’t know that for sure. My mother never nagged me about making my bed, I think she just gave up. The bed only got messed up, so there was no point, I didn’t feel like making it anyway. I could have come up with a thousand excuses not to make it, if pressed hard enough.
The reasoning behind make your bed correctly first thing in the morning, is the act of creating a good ritual. You find other intrinsically good habits naturally follow. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a sense of pride if you make it correctly and encourage you to do other tasks correctly. Making your bed correctly will reinforce, that the little things in life done well, do matter. If you can’t do the little things right, doing the big things right will be harder.
Bed making in the Military.
The military drills its recruits over and over again in the skills of bed making, the men have to do it right, with no excuses and it has to be done quickly. This action develops the soldiers discipline and attention to the smallest detail. The discipline of bed making can seem ridiculous in the context of what these soldiers are being asked to do, but bed making has been proven to help with discipline. If done right, the bed has “hospital” corners, the covers pulled tight and the pillow centered just under the headboard.
This symbol of a well made bed, is a scene familiar to fans of war movies. The Drill Sargent paces up and down the barracks, inspecting the soldiers beds. Tension fills the air, as the men break out in a sweat. He takes a quarter from his pocket and bounces it on the bed. If it’s not tight enough and doesn’t bounce correctly, it’s give me fifty push ups and remake the bed. We recognize this as setting the standards for the individuals future actions, these actions will require attention to detail in possible life and death situations.
Hospital bed making is a discipline that nurses perform as a fundamental part of their training. Only this time the comfort of patients is paramount. In the past the fiery matron did her rounds on the wards. Nurses had to remake the beds if they weren’t made to a certain standard. The patients were the focus, in the various bed making styles that the nurses performed. As in the military, the detail in bed making was seen as a discipline, to excellence in all areas. While the discipline of bed making is no longer the responsibility of the matron. This responsibility for bed making still exists.
The discipline of bed making is used in a counter intuitive way, even though the bed is made to an excellent standard, it’s not seen that way by the instructor. Which makes it hard to understand as everything required has been done. The lesson being taught is, even if you do everything right in life, there are no guarantees that it will be judged that way. Life can be unfair at times. Therefore, having to push through these situations when they arise, is a lesson well learned.
You’ve made your bed.
“You’ve made your bed, now lie in it” implies, that you’ve made your bed poorly, or made bad life choices, so making it uncomfortable to lie in and now you have no choice. This mindset is normalized and is often never questioned. Decisions that met your needs and desires are often out-grown. You may have tapped into a creative or different way of thinking that wasn’t available in the past, also love and respect can be a part of that. Leaving the “bed” and trying out different beds as we need to, is a healthy and productive way to live life.
Making your bed to an excellent standard, is a great start to the day and can lead to developing discipline in life. Small things done well, can lead to bigger things done better. Because comfort in bed is vital for a good nights sleep, to have the covers pulled so tight that we feel like a cheese slice between two pieces of bread is uncomfortable. Our desire is to feel snug, comfortable and protected, in the bed we choose to lie in.