|Photo source: Stock.Xchge|
So, this is the 3rd week we have used the chart (for back story, please see the other 2 posts called 30 Day Challenge or just click here and here). Just a recap, my goal is to not yell, my oldest's goal is to use a respectful voice, and my youngest's is to do things the first time I asked her to. The first week, we did not get to go to Yo-Yo's for our special treat. The second week (success!) we did. Then, the third week came along...
Let's just say that my sweet oldest daughter kinda forgot about her challenge. Either that, or she just didn't really care. When I would remind her, she would *sorta* straighten up -- she genuinely seemed to realize that she was doing the things that she didn't want to do, but she just couldn't sustain that self-control. Come to find out, on Friday, she was diagnosed with the flu. Part of me wonders if maybe she was just tired -- her little body trying to fight off and then finally succumbing. Anyway, by Thursday, the keeping up with the chart had fallen by the wayside, but the dialogue continued. I could still ask, "Is what you are doing in line with your goal? Are you choosing to show respectful behavior? Would you like to try that again?
And that is what I have realized about these chart (the selfless chart included) -- they are often points of departures, ways to motivate initially, but realistically, it is difficult to sustain that kind of upkeep. And, truth be told, we want these behaviors to be come internalized, intrinsic, and not dependent upon a prize at the end of the week. But, what I love about doing these charts for a week or two is the dialogue that they prompt. We have discussions about why we have to work on certain behaviors, why they are important, and what they look, sound, and feel like.
As a family this summer, we completed a selfless chart (we all got little checks for doing something that was selfless during a whole month). We no longer have the chart, but the behaviors (sometimes) still live in us. I hear the same inflections in the girls' voices, "Okay, Abby, you can have a turn now." I can ask, "Is what you are doing right now selfless or selfish? Which one does Jesus ask us to be again?" They don't always make the right choices, but they do know what is right. Even my husband and I pause much more often to consider our motivations and think of ways to bless the other, instead of being so focused on our own needs.
As I think about this holistically, keeping a chart is the easy part, honestly. It's the daily teaching, molding, and rearing that gets so tiring. However, I am holding onto the belief that if I do the hard work now and spend a lot (A LOT!) of time and energy laying a foundation that is based on how Jesus lived His life, things *might* be easier in the end.
I would love your comments on behavior charts/dialogue, etc. that you have used/had with your children!