Friday, January 14, 2011

Rejoicing Along the Way

The other day the child made a sticker chart for me. We are big on sticker charts around here. We have been for a long time. Way before I understood what was going on with our daughter, back in the days when she used to pull my hair (hard, repeatedly) every day but "she's just a toddler...she doesn't understand..." was the only explanation I actually got her to stop doing it by using stickers. One morning I noticed that she hadn't pulled my hair (by some miracle) so I gave her a sticker. We put it on a piece of paper. It gradually evolved into a chart and a system. Every day she would get a sticker before nap and before bedtime if she was nice to mommy's hair. Thus began our love affair with sticker charts, though the passion is mostly in the heart of my daughter and not mine. I find them tedious to keep up, which is actually a good thing because any reward system needs to be faded over time and replaced with more natural effective praise. But I digress...

My sticker chart (pictured above) is woefully empty. My daughter told me that I could give myself a sticker every night before bed if I finished all my work for the day. Ha! How did she know I've been struggling with this very issue. Either she's more aware of people's emotions than I give her credit for, or she's heard me (ahem) discussing the problem with other people. Or maybe she's just tired of me telling her that I can't play "money store" (bank) with her because I need to get my work done. I'm pretty sure she didn't read it from a certain blog post...

At any rate she was trying to use a tool that we have shown her for other challenging situations and applying it to my life. How sweet....except really draws attention to how impossible it is for me to get stuff done. She asks me (often) how many stickers I've earned. "Just one, sweetie..." One day, in a week, I felt like I could honestly say I'd done everything on my list.

Then I read this blog post by Tasra Dawson. We were (briefly) in the same writing group. She's going places. I think perhaps her philosophy helps her along in this regard. In summary she was reminding us (ME) that everything we do should be a celebration, an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back and worship the One who gives us strength. Rather than trying to finish everything how about if I try to be glad each time I finish one thing?

I don't expect this to be an overnight transformation, but I think I need to re-purpose this sticker chart. Maybe I'll get a happy face each day I remembered to rejoice along the way. It sure beats the alternative.


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