At the beginning of the summer I read the Duggar Book. In the book they talk about a little game they play at their house called "The Yes Ma'am Game". There is more detail in the book and you would want to read that, but the basis is that when one of the chidren is asked to do something they are rewarded for responding with a "Yes ma'am". I believe they use a sticker chart. The catch is that it has to be joyful. That means no grumbling under your breath or frowning or even dully saying "Yes ma'am". In fact, the children are to respond with a hearty, "Yes ma'am, I'd be happy to!" I know it sounds a little hokey... and my kids (well, Savannah) thought is was a bit hokey, but we gave it a try. It sure couldn't hurt to try it out.
During our school time in the mornings I would start the older three out with a little sticker page and would remind them that we were trying to earn our stickers. When they filled their sticker sheet they would get some sort of reward. As anyone knows that has tried reward charts the hardest part is following through with the plan... I mean, sometimes you are busy with something and it is not too convenient to stop and put a sticker on a chart. We were not too consistent. Not at all... We forgot our little sticker sheets and proceeded on with life. Over the course of the summer and up to the present I have reminded the kids to say, "Yes ma'am.... I'd be happy to!" You would just be so surprised how you instantly see their spirit change when they add the "I'd be happy to!" portion.... partly because they almost giggle, but it really does change their attitude and spirit.
In the last few days I have noticed that Savannah will be asked to do something and without being silly or hokey or even squeaking out a giggle she will say, "Yes ma'am, I'd be happy to!" It seems that, at least, sometimes this is becominn a natural habit for her. I am so eager to see this enthusiasm about joyfully doing grow over the coming months and years!!!
This is especially significant to me right now because I am stuggling to be optimistic and joyful with our homeschooling. I feel defeated by the little failures and I lose sight of my joy for being here and doing it all. It is really hard for me because I have never wanted a "break" from my kids until I started homeschooling.... it was just never a desire I had. I wanted them to be with me for EVERY MOMENT... even the inconvenient ones. So, here I am in a strange new land for me and I know that I too have got to follow the "Yes Ma'am" Approach. I need to say, "Yes, Sir God. I'd be happy to!" with a fully joyful spirit.