We are about to start some new family systems in our home that I'm excited about. I know they won't go perfectly, be repeated with perfect diligence, or make life 100% peaceful, but I think they are a good step forward.
- Family Meetings- I've wanted to implement this for years. Now that the kids are getting older and able to converse more, it's a great time to start. We really need to all try to be on the same page more. Rick and are were advised by our pastor to do this between ourselves and I think that those meetings we have will be a good precursor to the ones we have as a family. During these meetings we will: (1) Update the Calendar with every one's events for the next week and month. Talk about what they want to do that week that needs to be planned for. (2.) Update on the family budget goals. I want the kids to see the debt paying gaols Rick and I have on a big poster board so they understand how much focus it takes to pay things off, and they understand why we say no to frivolous spending requests. (3.) Payment for weekly chores accomplished (more on that in a min). (4.) Updates on family bible reading (again, more coming). (5.) Discussion time to share anything they want to discuss. Things they feel are not fair, not going well, ideas for better ways to do things etc. We will take time here to also point out compliments and praise for their hard work and any other notable encouragement. I'm also thinking of having the family menu ready for the week so they are aware of what they will be eating and don't ask for something else. I'm not decided if this is a good idea or a bad one yet.
- Chores- The other day I woke up way early and could not sleep because an idea came to me of a much better way to do the chore system. When I get the materials I'm hoping to do a picture blog on it. The basic difference will be that it's completely self-motivated. The kids will have pockets for each chore that I fill with "bucks" for each chore. For instance, Victoria's will have a pocket to water the cats every day. That pocket will have 7 "bucks" in it. If she wants that "buck", she has to do the chore before she can go claim it. They will all have a chore wallet where they will keep their "bucks". There will be a cut off time for the am and pm when mommy goes and claims the "bucks" they have neglected to do. At that time, they will be asked to do the chore w/o getting the buck. On Sunday meeting times, they will cash in the "bucks" for real money we attribute to each buck. I will also have an extra row at the bottom for bonus "bucks". These will be extra jobs available to them on a "first come, first serve" basis. He or she who does the job first, gets the buck! I see this as being highly motivating as the bonus jobs will be high values. Stay tuned for a practical guide for putting this together.
- Frugal Lunches- I'm really going to stretch myself this year when it comes to the kids and Rick's cold lunches. I'm not good at making lunches and even I feel what I send them with gets boring. I had some strategies last year but some life events really threw me off. I'm hoping to dive into some experiments in tons of different wraps they can take and I'm going too look into the wonderful world of Bento by way of my friend Judy who has an adorable Bento blog. She inspires me with her rice balls and veggi segments. I'm thinking of things that can be eaten cold, remain healthy, and stay cheap. I'll keep you updated on that as well.
- Bible Reading Together- Last, but certainly not least, Rick and I feel excited about a family time solution. We have struggled SO VERY BADLY at having a family time. I'm a "get to the point" kind of gal, and Rick is a "give them the total history and details" kind of guy. The kids get bored usually and with their attention spans differing so much, we would get one interested and then loose another, etc, etc, etc. Then, we started the idea of everyone coming to family time with their own activity. A quiet activity like coloring, crafting, etc. That worked fairly well but they seemed to zone out at times and we were not sure they were in tune with the story or reading. Tonight we tried something new. We started a bible in a year reading plan that the blog I participated in last year is doing. When they heard we were going to read the first THREE chapters of Gen, there were moans and groans, whines and pines. We will be adding to the plan by reading the Proverb for the day of the month as well. So, heavens.....FOUR chapters! They did not realize that we decided not to do the first chapter of Matt tonight to start out, even though it is on the plan. It is the genealogy of Christ and we did not want them to murder us in our sleep for pushing them too far. The fact is, once we got going they loved it! Everyone read two verses in rotation so there was no time to NOT pay attention because your turn would be soon. We told Caedmon he did not have to read but then he wanted to and he read beautifully. I started him off with one verse and he asked to do two. It was great. We ended it with a deep discussion on why God guarded Adam and Eve from getting to the tree of life after they had brought death upon themselves. Good stuff.
So, that is the big upgrade plan. I look forward to it. It's kind of the family New Year's plan but very doable I think. It's more just a way to make sure we flow, bond, and otherwise navigate life together moving ever forward slowly. Oh, and we will be taking minutes so we can look back to remember and/or clarify anything.
What new hopes or ideas do you have for you or your family this year?