X Close

Live and learn

June 25, 2010
 |  by Krista

Live and learn

We learned an important lesson this week . . . it might be better to build a self-control poster featuring positive behaviours rather than negative. Why? The kids love moving their arrows, and they’ll find any reason to do it.

A few days ago, I heard a skirmish erupt in the living room. It escalated. I was about to poke my head around the corner to see what was going on when both kids came zooming into the kitchen, eager to move their  clock hands to new pictures of negative behaviour. I wish I could say they were racing to pray for repentence, but that wasn’t the case.

I don’t think the poster actually caused the fight – maybe it even shortened it. But if I were to do it over again, I would shed a more positive light on the project, finding pictures modelling good behaviours and letting the kids move their arrows when they have shown self-control (for example: “Saying kind things” rather than “Being mean/teasing,” or “Keeping control of my hands” instead of “Hitting or punching”). In other words, something along the lines of catching them doing things “right.” They could still be taught to pray for help when they’re about to lose it, but they could also say a prayer of thanks and celebrate when God has aided them in making a good choice.

The other problem was that Jessi had not only pushed and hit Ben but then tried to bite him. (Though I haven’t bitten anyone in a long time, I know she gets her temper from me.) Ben had a point when he suggested that Jess needed three arrows on the chart. We weren’t about to give her that pleasure (can you imagine the chaos?). I think we’ll just keep moving and chalk this one up as a learning experience!

On the flip side, I inadvertently did something right with the memory verses. For Psalm 141:3, which talks about the Lord controlling our words, I used clip art of closed lips. For Proverbs 16:32, which promotes patience and self-control over power, I chose a bird dog (pointer). The kids and I had just had a discussion about pointers and I had explained how they must sniff out the birds, point to them and not move a muscle until their master gives the signal to flush the birds out. They understood that the dog’s natural instinct would be to run and bark, but they’re trained to have incredible self-control. Well, Jessica loves dogs, and she is bound and determined to learn that verse because of the dog picture!

We haven’t gotten as far as expected in the lesson. The kids were away at Grandma’s for a few days and we just finished up soccer season, so we’ll keep going into next week. Overall, I do think all of us have been more self-controlled. By God’s grace, maybe it’ll stick!

Related Lesson: Self-control