As the sun comes up I can’t help but reflect on what transpired the day before and how I am expecting this day to begin... Yelling? Anxious? Disharmony? Tears? Will I be tripping over toys and (those wonderfully sharp) Lego’s? Will there be forgotten backpacks, trumpets, homework? ...and if I have to pick up those dvd’s all over my floor from my two year olds fascination at opening them and chucking them everywhere like a ninja, I am seriously gonna lose it.
Can anyone relate?
I am 42 years old with 3 beautiful children from the ages 2-15. I have experienced time going by so fast, I have a 15 year old already. YIKES! Is it too much to ask that I want peace, harmony and unity with my family (I know, so maybe I was a hippie in a former life) But my expectations are real! I want less time yelling, more time smiling and enjoying. Family means team. We are a team..And this team is NOT gonna win if we are not in harmony working together.
So, I had an epiphany this bright early morning and I want to share before the chaos begins.
CHORES VS ACCOUNTABILITY
Lets think about this for a moment..Let it marinate.
The word CHORE...how does it make you feel? I know how it makes me feel and what memories come with that word. Reflect: I am 16 years old and my chore was to come home from school and vacuum. Did I? Oh I pulled the vacuum out and ran it up and down the rug a few time just to create the lines in the carpet but I never turned the thing on. (If it wasn't about ME, it didn't matter.)
Now, lets think about the word ACCOUNTABILITY..how does that make you feel?
Vulnerable? Instantly it becomes about ME! Unfortunately, I feel that this is a word not many of us are willing to confront. Who wants to be left accountable? The world uses it in such a negative way, but it’s not a negative word..It’s a positive word and more people should take pride in accountable. It builds character. It’s respected and honored.
Now back to my epiphany...
Get out your colorful markers, your chart paper, your dry eraser board, your magnets..whatever. (I know you have em’, cause you’ve been making these silly charts for years)
Lets create ACCOUNTABILITY charts! (for the FAMILY, not just the little ones) Yup, we are all gonna hold ourselves accountable, let them see your faults. We are not perfect and our children need to see this first hand. We can ALL work at this team thing together making progress. (Hey, if the work together, as well as the coach)
Is there money involved? Maybe. Are there activities involved? Maybe. (whatever you chose that would work for your family..could be different for each member) I know my 15 year old is motivated by money, but my 2 year old is motivated by ice cream and my 10 yr old loves time spent with me.
Start with 3 things..Let them choose what their responsibilities will be in helping out the family. Three and under ideas:
1. Consider picking up toys with supervision
2. Assist in making bed
3. Sorting laundry (a good learning experience)
Pick 3 things for yourself as well, mine will look like this...
- making dinner more often (instead of eating out)
- spending at least 15 quality min with each child a night (not including two year old jumping on me during that time)
- getting up 15 min earlier than everyone else to do a daily devotional (some well needed God time)
At the end of each week you gather around your beautifully designed charts as a family and you go over it one at a time..Discuss and praise each one. (family time, harmony, positive...see my expectations weren’t too far off)
This is an example of what I am going to do, but you have to do what works for your family. For example, the conversation might look like this:
“So, Skylar how do you think you did this week?” Maybe you say something positive to initiate everyone else in this.”Sky, I know I saw you vacuum twice this week. Good Job! I also know you said (put it on them) you would vacuum all 5 days. How do you think you did?”
“Are there areas you need to work on? Cause I know I didn't make dinner all 5 days.”
Their incentives come with what they accomplished, not what they didn't. Everyone needs room to improve.
So if Vacuuming is $2 a day for the week and they did it all 5 days they get $10. If dusting is $3 a day and they only did it 3 days they get $9, but they had an opportunity to make $25 when they only made $19.
Are you following me?
Speaking the word ACCOUNTABILITY into our children's lives early on will achieve more responsible adults holding themselves accountable for their actions. In the end we are building some pretty important character qualities in our children that I personally feel they will be grateful for later on, along with their self-assuredness.