If you keep up on my amazingly interesting life (not), then you may remember a post a while back about a hard time we were having with Avery and I came up with a solution that worked almost like magic. The marbles. I had a happy jar full of marbles and a sad jar that started out empty each day. Any rude speech to sister or disrespectful speech to parents made her have to move a marble to the sad jar. Then she had consequences for so many marbles moved. It worked literally overnight. I don't think she actually ever had to have consequences for marbles moved. She only ever had to move one or two a day, three at the most.
So fast-forward a month. I had put the jars away because we hadn't used them for a few weeks. Things started getting ugly. I mean U-G-L-Y. I got to the point again where I knew I was way too emotionally involved in my kids' rude behavior. We are a house full of girls (until Dad gets home) and we are very verbal and expressive. Many times those qualities manifest themselves in very positive ways... and other times it's very negative.
I didn't know what to do. I was beyond discouraged. I prayed, but my heart was feeling pretty stubborn and not very yielding to the Spirit. I justified my complaining spirit. My daughters wouldn't stop fighting - both with each other and me!
Then, in His timing, when I was finally willing to listen, He reminded me of THE MARBLES. Now, Avery is not the only one stirring up the pot in our house. However, she has a lot to do with the direction of the mood of the house. If she's watching her mouth and practicing discipline over her attitude, Allie is more than happy to get along, usually. And if the girls are getting along, I'm most likely to be very content. So the next day we brought out the marbles, with a few more raised standards: any complaining or arguing will now be cause to move a marble, in addition to the previously mentioned offenses; and there will levels of consequences with each marble moved.
Guess how many marbles she moved the first day? NONE. She's only moved one marble since was started a few days ago. This kid needs to a visual reminder, a tangible way to see the effect of her behavior. I really don't think it's even a fear of the consequences that's driving her, it's simply a better way to call it to her attention than mom lecturing again about her rude speech. It's hard to admit my words weren't being heard, but I think all of us moms can relate. I really do have a bad habit of turning my words into a way to punish my child - make them listen to me get my frustration out. Wow, what a great example of tempered speech, mom... ouch...
Anyway, I'm SO thankful for God's goodness and His faithfulness to me, His child, as I continue to attempt to point my children toward Him. And to somehow create a home where "self" is not served, but Christ.
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