Monday, July 20, 2009

Minutes for Moments

An epidemic was brewing in my home a few months ago. My two older boys, ages 5 and 11, were playing their portable game systems an inordinate amount of time. I let them play so often that they felt entitled to game time if they simply asked politely. They wanted to play every spare moment. If everyone was getting ready to leave the house and one of my sons was ready first he would ask to play his game while he waited…even if he knew it would only be for 2 minutes. I had created this situation and I had had enough.

Another plague was looming over my home in the form of overwhelmingly negative discipline. I was spending much of my waking hours telling my children what they had done wrong. On the other hand, there was a severe lack in positive affirmation. I don’t mean filling the children with useless “good jobs” just for mundane activities or praising them for things that are out of their control like being naturally good at something. I was failing to praise my children for good character choices. I was neglecting to recognize the Holy Spirit working in my children. I was getting tired and worn down from all the negativity. I had had enough of this as well.

In an effort to solve both problems with one solution, my husband and I came up with “minutes.” We created a reward system for positive attitudes and actions while limiting game play to the weekends. The children would earn minutes, little foamboard tickets in varying denominations. They would accrue these each day for remembering to act out their faith. Then they could redeem those minutes from Friday evening to Sunday evening. There would be no game play during the weekdays but plenty of recognition in the form of minutes. It was amusing to me in the beginning how excited the boys were at the thought that they would not be able to play games all week long but could earn the privilege to play on weekends.

Since we have instituted the minute system we have seen a dramatic reduction in attitudes of entitlement. We have also seen our boys light up when we recognize their righteous deeds and love for others. They have really grown in so many ways. It is exciting to be able to recognize it daily.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea... focusing on character while limiting mind-numbing electronics time... now if only it can go over without a revolt by our boys!

    P.S. I found you through Thrifty Mama and just printed out your Quiet Time posts to read when there's a spare minute...