Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marble Jar (Part 2)

Back in 2011, I did a post on a Marble Jar experiment that I chose to use, to help create "order" in our home.  Here's an excerpt from that post, if you don't desire to read or re-read the entire post.  
One thing I decided to try and improve on, in our home, was order.  Not order in the cleansly sense. I'm pretty sure I've had that talent since I was at least 8 years old, but rather order with my children.  Let me put it more positively... better management or increased harmony amongst them. I thrive off of structure. I like calmness. I desire guidelines, control, and peace in our home. Don't we all? With children, it's possible, but the odds are against me with 3 little depraved souls.
It's insane to look back, almost 4 years ago, and see that I actually tried this experiement when my twins were barely 2. Needless to say, it didn't last long. Duh... 2 year olds don't really have an attention span or a drive for something like an incentive program. NOW, fast forward 4 years, from that post, and guess what?!?!?!?! I decided to pull old tricks back out. Sometimes... ORDER, peace, and harmony still DO NOT exist in our home. What?!?!?! You mean you haven't perfected that Kristin? NO! And when someone does they will be the richest man/woman alive if they can figure out a way to bottle that potion. Tyson shows his "love" by picking on the twins. Yes! That's his excuse for sticking wet fingers in his brother's ear or flicking his sister in the head for no good reason. I call it bullying and sin. Jax is picking up on Tyson's "love" and doing the same occasionally, although he has such a sweet heart that I think it kills him to act that way. And Lilah, well, let's just say she's half Italian and she loves to talk  argue with her hands (oh you know, scratch, pinch, and pull shirts, instead of just saying what's on her mind.). But more so than that even, the reality is... my children are still TOTALLY DEPRAVED, UNSAVED SINNERS. Until their lives are fully submissive to Christ, the personalities of our children will prevent complete harmony in this home. BUT...I will do all that I can to HELP create as much harmony as possible.  I waited a few months to see if the marble jar experiment would work, this time, and it has.  We are on month 3 and it's going strong!

The idea behind the marble jar is this: each child gets a clear glass (or plastic) jar.  Every time a child does something they're supposed to, without being asked, OR above and beyond the realms of what's expected of them, then they receive a marble in their jar. If any form of disobedience occurs, a marble is removed (in addition to any other forms of discipline that needs to take place, such as a spanking).  I have taken this a step further. If an offense is made against a sibling, by another sibling, then a marble will be removed from the offender's jar and put into the victim's jar.  Some examples of "good works/deeds" are clearing your plate after eating, using manners, vacuuming up your crumbs without being asked, and doing chores. A reward of $5.00 is given, to each child, every time their jar accumulates 30 marbles. Thirty marbles DOES NOT seem like a lot, but marbles get removed WAY more than marbles get earned.  When I revisited this idea, I rewarded the FIRST child to reach 30 marbles with $10 (which by the way was....JAX....no surprise there) and it took 24 days to earn 30 marbles. 

Let's role play:

Tyson licks his finger, puts it in Jax's ear, Jax gets upset, and instead of retaliating, he comes and discusses it with me. Response: Ty removes a marble from his jar and places it in Jax's jar.  

A NEW addition to this marble jar is as follows: if a sibling sees another sibling doing a kind deed for them, they can remove a marble from their own jar and "pay" their sibling a sign of gratitude with a marble they have previously earned.  

More role playing:

Jax is heading upstairs for the night.  Jax grabs his own shoes, on the way up the stairs, to put them away in his closet, and notices that Tyson also has a pair of shoes sitting on the steps.  Jax brings Tyson's shoes upstairs and places them where they belong. If I notice Jax's kind deed, Jax receives a marble. If Ty notices, he can choose to just say thank you OR he can choose to "pay" Jax a marble, as a sign of his appreciation.

There is so much that needs to be done around this house AND so much that the kids LOVE to save up for or "want".  SO... this marble system is a great way to NOT only promote kindness in our home, but also a desire to help out.  Even IF initially, they are doing things just to earn marbles, so be it.  AT LEAST, they are getting in the habit of considering others more important then themselves (Philippians 2:3).  Darren even uses it to receive help.  Often times I hear, "Who wants to put a trash bag in the trash can for Daddy and get a marble?"  Sometimes I hear crickets and other times all three kids run to daddy's rescue.

As I said in the marble jar post, back in 2011, my hope is this
I am hoping this marble jar system will help train our children to desire to be obedient and kind UNTIL the Lord changes their heart for good. What will start out as a "habbit" of doing good, will hopefully turn into a heart that desires to be obedient for the Lord. We will revisit this system from time to time to make sure it's the best decision for our family. For now, it seems to be working much better this time. My children LOVE incentives and rewards. Some people pay their children to do chores. I "pay" my children, in marbles, for various things and then eventually they can exchange it for real money!
From a Christian stand point, ONE problem with this system is that it almost can create an attitude of "good works" get you to Heaven. However, Darren and I remind the kids daily that good works do NOT get you into Heaven.  

"For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8

Finally, there is ONLY ONE RULE to this incentive program and that is, "You may NOT tell me you did some kind deed, in hopes of gaining a marble." In other words, do not ask for a marble.

Supplies Needed:
Glass or Plastic Jars: I bought mine at the Dollar Tree.  Last time, I allowed the kids to decorate their jars, but this time, I desired for the jars to blend in with my kitchen decor.
Marbles or Pebbles: I chose marbles for Lilah and rocks for the boys.
As I'm looking at these photos and thinking about the newest addition to our marble jar experiment, I realize now, it would be cool to have one more variety of colored marbles (basically each child should have their own color). As the kids "pay" each other or as marbles are removed from ONE jar and added to another, the jars will disclose HOW the marbles were awarded. Note to self... 
A counter space or designated area to store the jars! I would make certain that the jars are visible to their eyes, but BEWARE, little, untrustworthy children may try to sneak marbles/pebbles into their own jars when they haven't earned them! If I see that happen, the jar gets emptied completely.
It's NO surprise who's marble jar is ALMOST filled up, for the second time, in three months!
2nd place...
3rd place... I think I am harder on him! LOL! He's older therefore expectations are higher.
PS.  When I look back at older posts, I am so embarrassed.  My writing skills and posting skills are definitely NOT where they are today! LOL! I guess over time everyone should be improving, not digressing.