Sunday, March 1, 2009

Parental Rewards

We have a marble system at my house. When a child completes a chore, they earn a marble and place it in their marble jar. Each marble is worth 50 cents. When they want something extra (beyond their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs), then they pay a marble or turn their marbles in for cash to buy something they've been saving for. Cody and I are not as disciplined in using the system as we should be. Most of the time, the kids come out ahead--we are better at giving the marbles than taking them away.

Sometimes I wish there was a token system for parenting. I often feel I'm figuratively "losing my marbles" on a daily basis! Just recently, however, we had a few "token" experiences that filled my maternal jar to max. capacity. Some of these stories might not seem "token" to those on the outside. I consider them to be milestones, however, as we face daily episodes of short attention spans, bouts of anger, and mood swings as well as other normal kid tendencies.

Token moment #1: Hunter was having a really hard time last week. He was in one of those moods in which his self-esteem and ability to function were in their lowest states. As he was in time-out, bawling and moaning, Grant approached Cody and said, "Dad, I feel bad for Hunter, is there something I can do for him?" Cody, feeling it was important to use this as an opportunity to teach compassion said, " Would you like to take his place?" Grant agreed and dutifully went to serve his brother's time out. 

Token moment #2: Grant offered to take Hunter's turn emptying the silverware out of the dishwasher--their least favorite part to empty. When Hunter accepted the offer, he said "Thanks, Grant. You're the best!" 

Token moment #3: A conversation I had with Savannah recently showed me how pure my daughter's heart is!
Savannah: Mom, I just wanted to tell you that while you were upstairs I took another brownie and ate it. I just feel bad and I always want to be honest with you. I'm really really sorry!
Me: That's okay Savannah. Thank you for telling me. I have a hard time resisting brownies, too. 

Token moment #4: A similar conversation with Savannah at bedtime revealed that she was laying awake at night worrying about how she accidentally let the neighbor's dog out of their house and never told them. This particular dog has accidentally been let out a few times, so this occurrence was not too out of the ordinary. I made a few suggestions about how to resolve guilt and suggested she might want to speak with our neighbor as it would probably make her feel better. I forgot about the conversation, but sure enough, after a few days I was speaking with our neighbor when Savannah anxiously approached her and said " I just wanted to let you know that when I was over at your house, I accidentally let the dog out. Can you ever forgive me?" Of course, my neighbor was very gracious and promptly forgave her. 

Token moment #5: The primary teacher came up to me and told me how wonderful Grant did in class one Sunday. They were talking about Book of Mormon heroes and were asked to draw a picture of them and describe their picture. Grant drew a picture of President Hinkley standing at the pulpit in General Conference and told everyone that he wasn't in the Book of Mormon, but he talked about it and told everyone to read it! I had told him not too long befor that how President Hinkley had challenged everyone around the world to read the Book of Mormon at the same time, and that Cody and I had decided to participate in that challenge. I was so pleased that he remembered! 

1 comment:

The Wilkins Family said...

They seem so sweet. I should write more about those moments so I can look back when I'm losing my marbles!