Aug 27, 2010

Path of Happiness

A few days ago my good friend posted a post . I was so excited to try her idea. But as with all things I have to tweek them a little :0 ...make them my own.

I have been pondering lately how to do "heart" work and not just "body" work. What this means to me is that I teach my kids to work on their heart and not just on their outward actions. We all have done service, helped a stressed out mom, or made a casserole out of duty before. And I'm not saying that it is bad. But when we do heart work it FEELS different. It is doing something because I really love you and I'm sorry you've had these difficult days, and I WANT to serve you.

I want my kids to do chores because they love our family, because they want to preserve their mother for future generations :), because they want to serve each other and their parents. I want my kids to see a problem and fix it because they are leaders and they want to help. I want my kids to walk into a room and be inspired who to sit by, who needs their help, what God wants them to do in that room...This is heart work.

So, back to the ladder. I decided I was going to make the ladder, we made a cute little car like Milo's in the Phantom Toolbooth (our current reading) and put a little character of each of us in it and make a ladder from-20 to 200

Then each day as we begin a new our path to happiness we "earn" points collectively for:

getting up on time....getting up early earns us happiness because we seem to have plenty of time
in the day to do all of the things we need and want to do

getting chores done on time....getting chores done on time, or in a timely manner earns us all happiness because none of us wants to clean the kitchen all day long! It helps us be motivated to keep going and doing our best.

helping with family work....working together on a project earns us happiness. We have a clean home to live in.

choosing to learn during choices earns us happiness when we choose to learn, when we choose to spend our time wisely. (Disclaimer....I don't say, "oh, you choose to read today you choose happiness. I ask something like, What did you do during choices time that brought you happiness?...they can get one, or many points depending on what they choose. It makes me happy that they are accountable for the time the spend, as each of us are.)

sacrificing...when someone asks for an extra job, when someone helps someone else with a chore, when someone sees something that needs done and does it that brings lots of happiness...figuratively and actually :)

obedience...when someone obeys promptly we earn happiness. Obedience is the foundation for happiness. We are blessed when we obey.

I also give random bits of happiness when we are feeling happy. Good job helping Bear get dressed. Thanks for answering the phone when I couldn't make it. Thanks for remembering to pick up after yourself. All these things earn us happiness.

Unfortunatly some things take away from happiness.

Disobedience is a big one. No one is happy when we disobey.

Selfishness is another. We loose power when we choose to put ourselves first above God or above others

Bad attitudes is probably our biggest one....not that my kids throw tantrums or are unkind, but even the slightest sign of an unwilling heart can bring so much unhappiness and contention into our home.

It is nice to have a ladder for taking away happiness. I don't have to give a lecture, stand on a soap box, or doll out a punishment. Just a little reminder that we lost some happiness because of a bad attitude, or a lack of obedience.

I do give rewards for earning happiness. When we get to 200 happiness we earn a special outing, a field trip, a dinner out, a special treat.

This system is not for everyone. Hey, it probably won't even be for me in six weeks. But I love that when we choose to use a "chore" system or a "rewards" system it helps if the system has a purpose, has a "why", has a principle behind it. It helps if our system also teaches that we serve, obey, give, bless, and use our own agency to benefit others.

What do you do?

1 comment:

  1. I sure like this. I'm going to add a happiness component to our ladder now. The kids already put big smiley face stickers on the top of the ladder, but I'll make it more of a focus and I'll call it a happiness ladder. We'll talk about how it brings us, those around us, and our Savior joy. What a great way to keep the right focus.