*Disclaimer: I am writing the GOALS we have as a family to work together in providing a haven, working side by side with joy and serving the Lord by serving our Family. I pray one day, everyday runs smoothly and perfect...but I am sure that is a prayer I will have until I see Jesus! It is a process.
"Everyone is attracted to joy. Children will do anything for the one who enjoys them. A joyless parent can no more raise good kids than a skunk can raise skunklets that smell good. Training without joy is tyranny. Joy/Cheerfulness is the byproduct of thankfulness and love." A few little lines taken from No Greater... Joy's Debi Pearl.
I have learned that the good attitude I would like to see in my children begins with me. I have to challenge myself each morning not to get frustrated and to deal with each child with love and respect even when they don't deserve it. That is what my Heavenly Father does for me after all.
I try to make our days fun even chore time with music or make it a game...sometimes it is just keeping a smile on my face that makes all the difference.
Our mornings start early so I try to purpose to wake up before them, have time with the Lord , HAVE MY COFFEE and have a heart ready to train my children.
The kids and I are reading a book together called Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephen and Grace Mally. Wonderful book! I love to see my children becoming best friends, not because of the book...this was just a chance for them to see what another family looks like in the "process" of friendship. I keep my eyes and ears open, waiting for the opportunity to correct treatment of their siblings, but more so to find opportunity to praise for their acts of service toward one another.
We call this our "Friendship Wall."
I would love for my children to be very best friends and for our family as a whole to experience the greatest friendships within our walls.
As for chore time...I included on their chore chart the verse, Ecc. 4:9-12 "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work." Some of my children are a bit more diligent and get their morning chores done very quickly and even better, they are usually done very well. When they are finished, if they have not done so already, I tell them it would be nice if they would help one of the others finish up their chores. This serves two purposes...one, for them to learn to go above and beyond what is expected and that there is no limitation to a servant's heart and two, it is a great example to the children being served and helped. I also try to remind them that while we are at home, daddy is working very hard in order to provide all the things we need and many of the wants we have. When we are serving daddy and others, we are serving Jesus also.I have our master chore chart hanging in our kitchen, but I try to eliminate the question's and having to go back and forth checking on if they remembered to do everything to accomplish that specific chore by posting lists. I don't want to have the appearance of a Tyrant ;) so I buffer this by putting these lists in pretty frames! Clever, I know...I'm sure it made a HUGE difference. (Probably wishful thinking, but at least it looks better than paper lists hanging everywhere.)
We do the bulk of our chores before we eat breakfast. This is why on their chore chart I included, 2 Thess. 3:10-112 "If you labor not, you shall not eat." Sounds harsh, but it is biblical. Throughout life we must do things that are not fun, mundane and that we just don't want to do, but there is no blessing in not doing it nor in having a bad attitude doing it. This is the perfect time to begin that training. We work together, then we eat together. There have been a few mornings where I questioned this decision because a child did not complete their chores, but it has never happened more than once for each child.
CONSISTENCY...we do our chores every day.
Finally, if you have not read the book, Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, I would highly recommend it.
We do not pay our children for doing their chores nor do we reward them for doing them. We saw a trend in our home of money becoming an idol and WE were the ones training them to bow to those idols.
Instead we strive to train them to participate in creating a clean, peaceful environment where we can all serve the Lord, eat, school, entertain guests and do all the fun activities we enjoy. We don't want to rob them of seeing this blessing by dangling money in front of them.
Many times Phil has "blessed" a child for doing more than required on a regular basis or for just having an excellent attitude.
I try to always keep in mind that this is a process. Training my children to be hard workers, diligent, thorough, and servants to others is a long journey. I try to be the example of serving Jesus, Phil, them and others with joy. Remembering that just as I don't always see the blessing in the chaos of training, they most times don't see it. Even still we will do these things with joy and when there are those rewards and unexpected blessings we praise God for them!