Happy Ash Wednesday! Last night, Mike and I were talking about what we could give up for Lent (no, we're not Catholic and yes, we still do Lent) and Mike couldn't think of anything for himself. I asked him if there are any bad habits that he'd like to stop. If it takes 30 days to make a habit, certainly he could get out of a habit during the 40 days of Lent!
He suggested that he'd like to stop yelling at the kids. And by "yelling," he really means "raising his voice." Mike hardly ever actually yells, but speaking impatiently to the kids and raising his voice to get his point across is more frequent now, with the daily stresses of his new job.
I liked the idea so much that I decided that we'd do this together as a family. This morning, we laid out the plans for the kids...when Mike or I raise our voices or argue, we will pay $1 to the person who X's us. When the kids raise their voice, argue or make a request (our new focus of contentment), they will give $.25 to the person who notices it. This includes the big kids catching each other.
As the morning wore on and quarters were traded, I thought of a positive spin on our 40 day challenge: when the kids do chores without being asked and I catch them, they get $.25. And when they obey the first time, doing something diligently, they get $.25. That has been another issue we've been struggling with: with our new loose homeschooling schedule, there's been a lack of a sense of urgency around here. It's been nice to have a more relaxed environment, with the exception of the fact that when the kids are asked to do something, they turn into Pokey Little Puppies.
It's only lunchtime and I already have $5.25...and I'm a little shocked/proud that I haven't given up any money yet. I figured I'd be giving back their money little by little, but apparently not. I did kind of shout for Jason who was in the playroom when I thought he was upstairs, but I immediately stopped myself. (even though Jason isn't involved, I still pay $1 for raising my voice at him) This accountability thing is working!
I'm really hoping this new little game of ours helps change the tone of our home again. There has been so much going on in the past five months: Mike's layoff, his new job, starting to homeschool, the holidays, tons of travel...we all need to get back on track. And I, for one, am so ready.
What are you giving up for Lent?