As an educator, I firmly believe that positive reinforcement is waaaaaay more effective than negative. It's also a lot more fun to implement as well! :-) The other evening when I was at baseball practice with Will at one ball field and Jeff was at baseball practice with Colin at another, Jeff called me on my cell to tell me that Colin was not trying his best at practice. "He's being lazy," he told me. He continued telling me how the practice was going and told me about how he had several times yelled out to Colin from the bleachers for him to "hustle" or to otherwise work harder at practice. Jeff was feeling pretty frustrated. Then it hit me, "Try ignoring the bad stuff he's doing a little and only yell out with praise when he does something good." Colin responds really well to praise, as most kids do. Maybe what the sweet baby needed was a little encouragement. :-)
Well, I was on Pinterest this afternoon, and I came across an idea for a "Caught Ya Being Good" jar. The idea was for the parents to "catch" the kid(s) being "good" and then let them put a cotton ball, pom-pom, etc. into the jar each time they were "caught". Then, when the jar is full, they earn some kind of privilege or reward. I loved this idea because it went along with my idea that I want to encourage my boys and build them up and cut back on the reprimanding whenever possible.
So, we went to Hobby Lobby and got the supplies needed. I made some changes, though. Instead of "Caught ya being good", I made it "The Ephesians Jar".
And, yes, there are already some pom-poms in there that they have earned. :-) I told the boys that we would talk about why it is called "The Ephesians Jar" tomorrow when Jeff is home. Basically, it is called "The Ephesians Jar" because there are several verses from Ephesians that deal with the positive ways in which God would have us behave. The verses deal with: being humble, gentle, patient, forgiving, honest, kind, compassionate, and loving. Other verses tell us not to sin in our anger or let unwholesome talk come from us. And finally, a wonderful verse instructs children to obey their
To share this message with the boys, I wrote each verse out on paper and cut them out. Then, the boys can take turns pulling a verse from a ziplock bag and reading it aloud. Jeff and I will talk with the boys about what the verse means and how they can follow that verse in their lives.
For now, the boys know that I (and Jeff) will be watching to see the choices they make. Will earned a pom-pom this evening for taking his plate to the kitchen sink the FIRST time I asked and with a good attitude. Colin got to add a pom-pom to the jar for letting me "borrow" this computer to write my blog without him whining or complaining. Both boys added a pom-pom for giving hugs to each other. :-)
Tomorrow when we discuss the Bible verses with the boys, we will also have them decide and agree on a "reward" that will follow when they fill up the jar. It will be more effective and meaningful if they get to choose the reward.
The verses from Ephesians that I chose were: (NIV)
4:2- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
4:25- Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor...
4:26- In your anger, do not sin...
4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
4:32- Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.
5:2- Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us...
6:1- Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
I am also going to put a copy of the verses on the refrigerator as a reminder of what the jar is based on...
I'll keep ya posted on how this works for our boys. Maybe it will provide some accountability for me as well. All of those things are things I need to remember and do in my life, as well! :-)