This fall we all downloaded a great app for doing jobs. “How’d that work for you?” “I didn’t.” (BTW, I just noticed the total numbers are wrong at the bottom of the chart after I revised it. LOL. Guess I will fix those!) It really …
Tag: family council
It’s a red letter day at our house: we started and ended family council in just barely over 30 minutes (the timer on Lane’s phone went off towards the end of my closing prayer)! How we accomplished this: Lane and I prayed about it and talked quite a bit about the agenda beforehand. We prepared a typed agenda with the specific number of minutes we could spend on each of our three topics: 1) family business and planning; 2) problem solving; and 3) goals. We covered quite a few topics from Saturday work, scooping poop, spring break and clothing expenditures in the family budget. Hooray! I’m especially excited to be able to use technology to engage everyone so we can move towards being an ever better team. I really did feel like our prayers were answered!
#familypower #familyunity #familycouncil #Sundays #solvingproblemstogether #togetherwecandoanything #loveourfamily #agendashelp
P.S. We gave each person a 3×5 card and pencil to write down any questions or concerns that we didn’t have time to address during the 30-minutes that we could address later.
P.S. This hasn’t been sustainable yet. We don’t always have time to plan this detailed in advance of family council, and we also have to take time to discuss things more. Ah, best laid plans. We keep on trying!
I’m preparing to teach a lesson on home organization this month, and so I’ve been thinking about all things related to that topic. I decided that while I’m brainstorming every day, I’ll write some posts on the topic. WHAT WE CHOOSE AFFECTS OUR EVERY DAY …
Cleaning up after ourselves is an eternal principle. I imagine that if we are to learn to create worlds, we have to learn what to do with all the resources we are provided. We begin learning about creation and resources when we recognize what resources we have right now and evaluate what we are doing with those resources.
For example, I have a bedroom with a bed that I sleep in. Each morning, I help make the world a lovelier place by taking a minute to make the bed. I have clothes on hangers in my closet, a laundry basket in that closet, and washing and drying machines in my home. When I change from the clothes I’m wearing to my PJs, I either hang my clothes back up or put them in the basket. Once a week, I take the basket to the mud room and do my laundry. Then I bring them back up and put them away. I have been learning how to create order in what otherwise might be my own personal chaotic universe. (Sometimes it does become chaotic!)
God gives us principles in the scriptures that teach us how to govern ourselves and learn to create order in our worlds. Just this morning I went into the children’s bathroom and saw a sign I had put there at the start of the school year. The sign lists a “bathroom tidy routine” that I wanted the children to learn to do. (The bathroom had been so messy for so long, and I needed to try something new/different to help them learn to keep it clean.) I put the sign up and invited the family to follow the routine each day after they showered.
I watched and waited. I decided I wouldn’t criticize their efforts but instead only praise the good that I saw. I also put a tally mark on the white board in the hallway for each day the bathroom was tidy after everyone had gotten ready, and each day at family prayer or each week at family council, I would go over how many consecutive days they had accomplished a tidy bathroom.
It was wonderful to see them improve! The bathroom went from messy to tidy from day 1! It wasn’t perfectly tidy every day (we are human in our family), but it was a vast improvement! I felt so happy!
Now that it has been several months, the bathroom tidiness continues to be much better than it was in the previous year. But it can be hard, in the rush of getting ready, to want to take the minute to tidy up after yourself, especially when your sibling is knocking (pounding?) on the door saying to hurry up so they can have their turn.
I was thinking that it might be time for some added instruction–something–to increase their knowledge, desire, capacity to clean up after themselves. I know that if I teach my children in the Savior’s way, I will be more effective in my attempts. This leads me to consider some eternal principles.
There are (at least) 3 gospel principles I can think of that I want to teach my children that can help them learn to clean up after themselves:
1. Come follow me (see 2 Nephi 31:12).
Jesus was always inviting people to follow his example. His example is the way to light, truth, love, happiness, and peace. I try to model what I hope my children will do. If I ask my children to tidy up after themselves in the morning when they get ready, I need to leave my bathroom tidy after I get ready. If I ask them to make their beds and put their clothes away, I need to do that. If I ask them not to leave piles of stuff around their rooms, I need to show them that it is possible to do it.
2. Now is the time (see Alma 34:31-33).
I learned either from Linda Eyre (A Joyful Mother of Children) or from Jeroldeen Edwards, a mother of a missionary in my mission (Things I’d Wish I’d Known Sooner and Celebration) to try not to multiply your work. For example, if I am changing my clothes, and I drop them on the floor and leave them to put away later, I have just made a job for myself for later. If I just deal with the clothes immediately, I haven’t created more work for myself. I think the easiest way to think of this is that now is the time to do the work (that you can do) that is before you. (The caveat is that you have to use good judgment: sometimes you can’t do something immediately because there is a greater, more pressing priority: the toddler fell down and hurt himself while you were changing and is bleeding. You shouldn’t, as a mom, take the extra minute hanging up clothes when your child needs your immediate attention. Or you can’t make your bed because if you do, you will miss the bus and then your mom will have to take 20 minutes from her morning of helping your siblings to get you to school. Life requires choices and judgment. You get the idea.) If you don’t procrastinate work, you keep life simpler and cleaner. It is a profound principle that I think I am learning as an adult, especially in the last few years.
3. By small and simple things (see Alma 37:6).
Wow! This is a powerful principle! I have realized that by this principle works both ways: if I do the small, simple tidy right now after I complete a task (waking up, showering, getting dressed), I create a tidy home! Tidiness actually has positive emotional and spiritual benefits to it!
On the other hand (opposition in all things!), if I don’t, I have little by little created a mess for myself that I have to clean up later. Messes can have negative emotional and spiritual consequences in my life. They aren’t tragedies, but they do detract from the peace I feel in my surroundings. Think of how beautifully clean the temple is, and the peace we feel there, and you’ll know just what I’m talking about.
It takes planning, then, to decide on when you need to get up in order to have the minute you need after waking, showering, and changing to be able to accomplish the needful follow-up (tidy) that is a part of completing that creation task. But I will say this: it doesn’t take long. I am a natural procrastinator. I like to sleep to the last possible minute. I like to get showered at the last possible minute. I want to spend time on the things I like to do much more than the things I have to do. So I have learned that you can tidy up really fast! And that makes anyone feel good. It’s part of the “leave a room as clean or cleaner than you found it” mentality that makes the world a lovelier place.
So now I have to decide how to share these principles with my children and if I just focus on one principle or teach them all together in the context of teaching tidiness. Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to you on that.*
I’m always inspired by this quote from Joseph Smith, Jr.: “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.” And they do.
*I taught it as a Family Home Evening lesson.
“Twelve years old is a rank advancement at our house!” Peter noted cheerfully this morning.
This made me laugh. I saw that he was looking at the little clipboards with job chart time cards on them on the counter.
He continued. “You get money instead of points. You get more play time.”
“More play time?” I questioned.
“Yeah. You said my bedtime would be changed to 10:15 pm when I turned 12!”
“Um, you mean 9:30?”
“You said 10 pm on Friday nights.”
I noticed that the 10:15 was instantly reversed to 10 pm. Hearty internal chuckle there.
Ever since our most recent stake conference when we were counseled to hold family councils, and we got going again holding family councils. We decided to revamp our family housework plan. And start doing dinner prep and clean up in teams!
We changed to doing the Saturday housework as teams, dividing the home up into floors, with one team per floor. Sarah is her own team, since her schedule is the hardest to work with. We chose team leaders, and I created a new chart and “key indicators” for them. We planned to hold one FHE a month to talk about what we’re learning and get any additional training on job doing that I feel is needed.
These changes have brought blessings. But more about that another day!
You know how much I love creating charts. No, seriously, it’s one of my passions in life. Just ask my family. They will wearily agree.
So a new housework plan meant a change in the individual, weekly job expectations, which in turn meant tweaking the time card that the older children turn in to earn their clothing money. (Our older children have to earn the money for their clothing once they turn 12: Pete’s aforementioned rank advancement.) Since I had been re-inventing the younger children’s job chart, I made it similar to the older children’s time card and put them all on clipboards.
Funny, I knew we had clipboards somewhere in the office. I spent an hour looking through piles of music program and family history drawers and boxes to see if I could find them. Bravo! I did! Prayer answered. (I didn’t want to go spend money on clipboards when I already owned some, somewhere!)
And so begins another go at teaching children to learn teamwork, responsibility and self-reliance in our household. I’m excited about the good things that I have seen them do already! The counsel we got in stake conference was inspired. ☺
Note: Why have job charts or time cards at all? We do it based on this truth: “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates” (see Thomas S. Monson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 107).
One of the ways we try to teach our children to plan is through holding family councils regularly, setting goals, and making plans. This morning we talked about how, in order to accomplish anything yourself or with your organization (family, business, etc.), you need to …