Part 1 of our behavior chart adventure was actually a great success! Lydia was well-behaved. She received more positive than negative marks on her chart. The only problem is that I was out of town so she was with my parents for two days. Then on the day she was supposed to go out for her reward it was raining and my husband was alone with the kids. He didn’t have the pluck to take both kids out by himself in the rain. (I can’t say I blame him, either.)
So, on my first day home, Lydia was…a nightmare. I called my husband and said, “I wish you had taken Lydia on her reward because she has been SO bad today there is no way we can give it to her.” This has continued all week. She’s had her favorite stuffed animal taken from her. She’s even had spankings. She’s been in time out too many times to count. And she just holds on to that rebelliousness ALL DAY LONG.
At about 10:00 this morning I had enough. I sent her to a silent time out in the other room. And I did what all good crazed parents do: I turned to twitter.
Soon I had over 10 responses. (Some of them VERY good, too!)
But this one hit me like a ton of bricks.
I literally smacked my hand to my forehead. It’s obvious my daughter is sinning. The only way to combat sin in our lives is through God’s Word. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT BEFORE?!
So, we made another chart (I didn’t even take a picture of it because it’s so ugly. Really.) The top said, “Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without COMPLAINING or ARGUING.”
Then I made two columns on the bottom: one entitled LYDIA and the other entitled MOMMY. I told Lydia that every time she obeys the verse she gets a sticker. And even if I get onto her and she stops and obeys, she’ll get a sticker. But if she doesn’t then I get to make a mark in my section (an X, a line or a sad face).
She LOVED this idea. She was determined to get more stickers than me.
And the rest of the day was a DREAM.
We repeated the verse a lot of times. And each time she did it happily. She said, “OK, Mommy!” every time I asked her to do something. Twice she was reprimanded for something and I could see the internal struggle to pout. Instead she mustered up her self-control and said, “OK, Mommy.” Once we had to say the verse together in the middle of her “internal struggle”. But she said it with a lightness and sweetness in her voice.
I was amazed.
Before we went to bed we reviewed the chart. We talked about how great of a day this was without the whining and trouble. I told her we were only going to do the chart one more day.
Me: Well, why do we obey the Bible? Why do we obey this verse? For stickers?
Lydia: (laughing) Nooo!
Me: We obey because God wants our hearts to obey and love him. This chart and these stickers are just practice so you can really learn how to obey.
Lydia: I’m going to get even MORE stickers tomorrow!
Tonight when we prayed before bedtime I had such a clear picture of WHY God gave us His Word. It isn’t just so we can honor Him. It’s also so OUR lives will be better. When Lydia obeyed, it changed the whole atmosphere of our house. What a picture to me as an adult, a wife and a mother—when I obey God, think of others first and control my mouth the atmosphere around me changes. I will see good things in my life because I’m obeying God!