09 January 2012

A New Year's Resolution for the whole family

As a parent of older elementary kids one of the biggest things I deal with is selfish-I-deserve-everything approaches. So to help build an atmosphere of generosity for others, I set out with a New Year's Resolution to help encourage and celebrate acts of kindness toward others.

We also have another issue in our house not only with our older girls, but with our preschool aged boys as well, so I thought of a way to roll it all into one plan to ensure that our younger boys can gain from the process as well. We have a combination of chair styles at our table and one seems to be the favorite. The kids are all in competition to sit in that seat at meal-time. I would rather everyone have their designated chairs to sit at consistently, but everyone else just rushes to the table and sits in whatever chair is available.

Step 1. This highly-coveted chair will be the "Seat of Honor." Everyday my kids are given opportunities to listen and do as their told without problems. If I feel that they have done so and need to be recognized then they will get to sit in this chair and be praised for their efforts to be obedient.

Step 2. Every night around the supper table each person will take a turn telling something they did that day that deserves celebrating. It might be helping another kid at school, or getting a "golden ticket" at school (which is the school's reward system for following procedure) or being "Reader of the Month" or bringing up a grade on the report card, etc. This will not only teach the girls to look for ways to help someone, but it will also allow the lines of communication to be open in our busy lives between school, work and home. It will also remind my husband and I that we are the first example of this type of behavior to our kids.

Step 3. At the end of the week,( I'm hoping it will become a Saturday routine, but it will depend on how busy our weekends are), I will put a special token under the plate of the person that I feel excelled throughout the week and they will be rewarded with a special desert or something, (still working on that). This way every day is a celebration of our choices and each week we as a family celebrate someone's hard work.

I hope that all of our children benefit from this and achieve somewhat of an equal amount of praise, but I'm concerned that one daughter will go crazy with this and be awesome, but the other one will give up quickly and lose interest in even trying. My prayer will be that this, if done for the purpose of glorifying God, that each child will earn the recognition they deserve and grow up to be a generous, servant-hearted child of God. Feel free to comment if you have any suggestions that would help me out or if you'd like to start doing this with your family.

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