As a general rule we TRY and offer encouraging words three times more than corrective words with our girls. Key word here is TRY. Lately though you will find me more frustrated and harried than patient....many times correcting 'on the run' which does absolutely zilch for them or me. Correction should have a redemptive end. Sad to say, in recent weeks there's been more and more correction (which if not careful adoptive kids take as straight criticism), and less 'building up' with our words. We have been seeing double meltdowns and more disrespect and complaining than we thought could come from such little people. I knew we needed to make some changes but couldn't put my finger on how, when or why. Was it the fact we have 3 girls and same sex siblings just argue alot? Possibly. Was it that the girls are older now and are more emotional rant trigger happy? Could be. Are our schedules too busy to parent well? Not much we can do about that right now. Are adopted children just that high maintenance (or just these kids under our roof??) As I was pondering these things I stumbled across this blog post by one of my fav authors and writers. (She's hysterical y'all. You'll love her.) In Jen's house they have been having some of the same issues.....and guess what? She has adopted kids too. (From Ethiopia. Her adoptees hate to wear clothes. So funny.) Instead of dishing out more and more correction (she's just plain tired of nagging just like me) they came up with the idea of an "Encouragement Board." Basically all throughout the day the idea is to catch them doing things well, write it on the board so by the end of the day it is chocked full of loveliness and hope streaming into their little hearts about things THEY WERE GOOD AT! Each family member is encouraged to write on the board whenever they please, but you can't write about yourself.....and you can only write positive words about your family members living in your house. I loved the idea so much because it girds everything we believe about how encouraging words build up...... and how a critical spirit tears down. Think about how a kind word or a complement makes you stand a little taller and puts a spring in your step. This folks, is how we should live.....first in our homes and second to others in that great out yonder. So this Mama got out an old whiteboard we had lying around and gave it a try.
Let me just say....today was remarkable. These girls were so well behaved and LOVED catching each other do good. There was so little whining and complaining today that I had to check to make sure I was in the right house. I was, I checked several times.. (the laundry is still here waiting for Mary Poppins to show up. I think we have her running scared....)! The little ladies went to bed talking about our new board and what they were going to do tomorrow to 'try and get on it' (not be disrespectful, help the other clean their room, do the dishes, etc.) Can you believe it??
Here's a picture of what our board looked like at the end of the day. This board is not for perfect spelling or grammar, it's about learning to love others instead of complain about them.....it's about learning to live side by side with family and choosing to honor them instead of peck them down with a constant stream of harsh prattle. I would love to hear your ideas of what has worked for your family. This board will be sticking around for a while! This board is parent approved permission to tattle.....the right way.