This week, we are having "Truth Week" in our house a.k.a. Behavior Boot Camp(this is what I call it, but we thought that might not be an encouraging way to address the issues going on around here.)
We are using the concept of wise people vs. foolish people vs. evil people found in chapter 7 of the book "Necessary Endings" by Henry Cloud.
The interactions in this house have been less than stellar over the last month. I have been grieved by the way that the kids are treating each other as well as how they are responding to our correction and instruction. I knew that heading into the summer, with lots of "together time" ahead, we would need some realigning of sorts in order to survive. This birthed the idea in my mind of "Behavior Boot Camp." Rick, being the grace-filled leader that he is, decided we should focus on rewarding rather than punishing. That pretty much goes against every fiber of my justice/black and white being, but in my heart I know he is right. We will accomplish so much more with grace than with shame and by focusing on the right behaviors rather than constantly giving all of our attention to the negative ones. Don't get me wrong, negative behavior is still addressed, just not held over their heads as a constant reminder of their mistakes. After many heated discussions of our own, Rick has really helped me to see that I need to anticipate and expect them to make the bad choice. They are selfish little beings and only through years of training and maturity will begin to change their decisions.
Here is the gist of the wise/foolish/evil concept: (There are many Scripture verses that address this issue, especially in Proverbs.)
1. A wise person listens to correction, considers it and makes changes accordingly. He is teachable.
2. A foolish person, when corrected, becomes defensive, acts like a victim, and tries to blame others.
3. An evil person acts with the intent to do harm to others.
Each one of us acts in all of these ways at various times. My goal is to make them aware of these reactions and hopefully guide them to choose wisely more often than not.
This is how it looks:
~I have compiled about 2 pages of Scripture verses that we are using this week. They address wisdom, foolishness, evil, selfishness, love, the words that come out of our mouths, arguing, complaining, etc.
~On Saturday, we had a discussion at dinner. We explained the concept of wish/foolish/evil actions and people. We explained that throughout this week, we would be looking for actions that were wise and also that were loving and kind amongst them. When those actions were genuine, they would be rewarded with money(yes, we are not afraid of bribery). We want to reinforce the positive that we see going on in this house.
~Each morning, I have been gathering the kids together to discuss a different aspect of the wise/foolish/evil actions and people concept. I am using Scripture and the information from the book to teach them.
~Every time I encounter a discipline issue, we talk about how they are acting(wise, foolish, evil) and try to course correct right away. I am pulling out those Scriptures with the situations where they fit. It is very time consuming, but I basically entered this week with the idea that most of my time would be devoted to training.
~The really fun part is being able to give out some dollars as rewards when I see one of the kids make a wise choice or choose to be kind and loving.
I feel like this week will set the tone for our whole summer. I also believe I will be able to refer back to the lessons of this week for a long time. I can't think of a better thing to instill in them at such a young age than the ideas of being wise in how they live, how they respond to the correction of others and how they treat those around them.
It has also been a really good exercise for me as well. When I am holding 6 little people accountable to these standards, it really ups the ante on me. I have 6 people to then hold me accountable for how I act and respond not only to them, but to others. They are very observant and will call me out when they see that I am not practicing what I preach.