Thursday, September 29, 2011

What happened when my kids drove me crazy...

Sometime last year, my kids were driving me crazy.  Not just momentary chaos, but really, crazy

While they'll probably always be categorized as "good kids", if yours are anything like mine, they are winsome and charming while out of the house, and downright terrible when I'm on duty all by myself.

At that particular time in our household history, they were picking at each other nonstop, disobedient, and - to add an even greater element of community - completely unreliable when Chore Time came each day.

So one morning, I'd had enough, and decided to put off our homeschool studies that day in favor of the study of some New Rules.  We don't really have "rules" in our house besides Obedience & Respect, which cover most bases.  Occasionally someone will lose the privilege of using scissors, and they're usually not supposed to turn on water outdoors without permission, etc., but being obedient and respectful is the main focus.

However...these children needed some additional focus.  (I always call them Children when they're pesky.  heh)

Martin (then 10yo) had begun memorizing George Washington's Rules of Civility as compiled in The Book of Virtues for part of his schoolwork, so I was probably somewhat inspired by them.  Instead of honing in on good manners/situational ethics and backing myself and the kids into a corner, I chose to make a list of what I call:

Rules for Peaceable Living

  1. Speak in a polite way.
  2. Show kindness to everyone (even enemies!).
  3. Obey quickly and cheerfully.
  4. Be honest and trustworthy.
  5. Do your work well.

That day, I begin by writing them out on our new handy-dandy white board in the dining room while they watched in somber silence.  I briefly expounded the points, and then we memorized the Rules together.  They each copied them out, even Laura who was doing kindergarten.  We repeated them nearly every day at breakfast, and still refer to them.  Not as frequently as we probably should, and I haven't done anything cool or creative with them (like paint them on my stairs), but they're a part of our family life now.  I hope this post will give you some ideas for making your own Rules.  I'm certainly challenging myself by sharing them.  Isn't Pinterest the coolest?

If only I had some stairs.  ;-)

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