Sunday, January 30, 2011

Update: 30 Day Challenge

Photo source: Stock.Xchge
*Disclaimer:  I was, after all, able to run the race that I accidentally didn't sign up for.  My running partner's friend decided not to run it and let me run with his bib (shhhhh....) for FREE (Thank you, Brian!).  Needless to say, my body is tired.  My brain is tired.  And I take no responsibility if this post makes no sense at all.  I did, however, have a great race.  I left it all on the course, though!

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.

We'll see...

I would love your comments on behavior charts/dialogue, etc. that you have used/had with your children!


  1. My mom's thought on this subject was....if you don't put the time and the energy in them when they are young, then you will be sending them to therapy as they get older and spending time and money on them that way so best to put it all into them now! I think she is right. I have friends who LIVE at their therapist office :)And congrats on your run, you are something else for this post made complete sense. I am not sure I could say my full name when I was done with mine. Way to go, and I am glad that you got to run the race you were training for. Hope you had fun!

  2. I love this post! And way to go on your running, I did a whopping 2 miles in the 15 degree windchill this morning and thought I was going to DIE, but I made it, LOL!

    But...on another note...I love one of the things Lauren's teacher has taught her this year. She always asks the kids "Are you making your home a better place to be" or "Are you making our classroom a better place to be" "Is this choice going to make it a better place to be". It has really challeneged Lauren, as well as myself to really think about the decisions I make and the actions I take. God has really been convicting me lately about how I discipline. Is it just taking something away out of anger, or am I really teaching them something. It's something I really need to work on. So glad He's not finished with me yet :)

  3. Jen, This is such a great post. I used a lot of charts with my kids when they were little . . . some where really great and some were corny, but they all worked for awhile. I didn't ever think that any worked for a long time. But they helped us create some habits and have some fun along the way. I liked to mix it up. Other times I did goofy things . . . once when my husband was out of town, my young daughters had really messy rooms. So I hid 10 dimes in each room and told them they could keep any they found as they cleaned. For a mere $2.00, I got a couple hours of peace and two clean rooms. Other times you have to be tough and make kids do things. Being a parent is fun and hard work, eh? I hope other jump in and join the conversation.


  4. I am really behind in my REALLY behind. But today I caught up on your blog. I have really enjoyed your month of January, especially your challenge. I told my husband I wanted to make February a "no yelling" month and asked if he would join me in the challenge. He said no. Then he proceeded to tell me that he doesn't yell at the kids, but since I am home with them more this is why I do. (It is true that he doesn't really yell, but he does get this irritated loud voice sometimes.) I think in the long run I will convince him, but I need to ask him when he isn't in the middle of something. In the meantime I will just ask some other mom friends of mine to join me.
    Thanks for being so open. I love reading your blog. ~Jessica

  5. I too want to make February a no yelling month...for me and my husband. I'm trying to look at your chart and re-create for I'm thinking of getting the kids on board with maybe "obey right away" for both. HA, generally the cause of my yelling. Congrats on the run!! Rest up!!

  6. We're on our second week now. I do have remind the kids (I give them each a grace-pass daily - we all need it!), but so far my younger two are really into it, even without a treat at the end! It was funny, because last week my son got an "x" and he was so devastated. He really wanted a perfect score! My oldest is less into it, BUT the yelling has really improved, so I think she may be seeing the benefit after all. I hope so, anyway!


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