Have you ever experienced an "aha" moment where you realized you had been doing things wrong and it came to you how you might make some changes that would end in good results?
Let me tell you a little about my most recent "aha" moment.
While traveling this past summer, we spent many hours together in close quarters for long hours at a time. This can lead to high tensions and short tempers. In a perfect family this would never happen, of course, but we are definitely not a perfect family!
Towards the end of the summer on one particularly long ride, I began one of my "Momma Talks" (the kids fondly refer to them as "lectures") on how we need to respect others feelings and gave them Scripture (Phil 2:4) to back it up! I felt like I was "wasting air"; my words were falling on deaf ears. I had said it so many times before with little change...change...CHANGE!!! That was it! I remembered something I had put under my seat in the van for a "just in case" moment. Well, this was it!
I reached down and pulled out a large Nestle Quick can and asked the kids if they wanted some. This sparked their curiosity as they wondered what Mom was up to now. I grabbed a handful of change and asked who wanted it. Of course, they all did. So I proceeded to tell them how they could get it.
Each kind word or deed to a sibling, each sweet attitude displayed when hatefulness could have been, an emphatic "yes ma'am" or "yes sir" after being told to do something with a quick and thorough obedience, or any other positive thing I could think of would result in me pulling out one piece of change and giving it to the deserving one. They were a bit reluctant until I told them there was about $80 dollars in the can that could potentially be theirs. Their excitement grew as the pieces of change in their jars did, too!
In my "Mama
Talk" that related the pieces of change with Scripture, I told the kids this: Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, neither can a person change a behavior, whether good or bad, overnight. It must happen little by little, on purpose, until a true change of heart takes place. So I am rewarding pieces of change in their behavior with pieces of change! They never know if will pull out a penny, nickel, dime or quarter for their reward because I don't choose.
That way, I do not put a value on the changes they are making.
I will have to say even though we are not in the van all the time, we are in a 1,000 square foot home with only one bathroom to share among 7 people and there have been improvements! I don't expect us to be perfect, but by the time we get to the bottom of the can, I know some changes are being made for the better. It takes little pieces of change to add up to big change in our lives!
Since we began, I have added ways to give them more change. When they bring me their completed chore cards, I reach in the can and give them one piece of change for each chore completed thoroughly and in the right amount of time. I inspect their chore cards (I will be showing you these soon) before giving out pieces of change. They can also draw a chore from the Chore Jar and get change
for completing those cheerfully and thoroughly.
We are having lots of fun with this "aha" moment God gave me. In this system, I have decided not to take away pieces of change for unlikeable behavior. This system is to remain a positive reinforcement! I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have for more positive reinforcement training or ways you would suggest "pieces of change"!
Have a great day!