small things #47 ... mvp's
A few weeks ago, Brett came home and almost walked back out the door and drove away. And I wouldn't have blamed him one bit.
The kids had been nutty. The kids had been pestering. The kids had been pushing one another's buttons.
And nutty, pestering button-pushers make for one crabby Mom.
My knee-jerk reaction had been to send them all to their rooms to clean. But I knew that eventually they would have to come out and I would have to come up with a long-term plan for helping them to play nicely together. Or at least to eat.
As Brett and I sat at the kitchen table following dinner, I unloaded all the garbly-gook that we had endured all day. All the ways they had driven one another crazy and all the ways that I felt crazed. (How Brett didn't make a break for it at that point, I have no idea!)
Essentially it all boiled down to one simple fact: We weren't working as a team.
- Rather than helping clean up in the afternoon, I felt like I was cleaning up around them.
- Rather than being quick to jump in the van, I felt like I was herding them along from behind, reminding them of shoes, snacks and potty breaks.
- Rather than sitting and enjoying lunch together, I felt like I was referring a wrestling match with grabbing hands, bossy elbows and boisterous voices.
- Rather than chipping in with chores, I felt like I had to plead and beg for help around the house ... only to listen to sighing and grumbling and stomping feet.
I felt like I was on the losing team. An awful feeling for certain!
While part of me wanted to discipline the kids for their unsportsmanlike conduct, I felt God leading in another way. A better way.
I know I don't really like to have the whistle blown when I make a mistake or to have a big finger pointed at me with the pronouncement, "Foul! Five minutes for fighting!" More often than not, I already know when I've messed up. What I truly appreciate and what motivates me more is to hear when I've done well ... atta-girl's and way-to-go's and good-job's inspire me to work harder and do better.
And the same goes for my kids.
God's prompting to praise my kids' good behavior as they practice good sportsmanship led us to celebrate a daily MVP - and we've experienced an incredible change in the attitudes in our house!
My job is to simply be on the look-out for the kid who is most on the ball, most motivated to help, most quick to obey ... the most valuable player of the day.
The kids' job is to be on their toes, work on their teamwork and play by our house rules.
At dinner I share the reasons why I chose that particular kid, write their name on the MVP chalk board and we celebrate with high-fives all around! On more than one occasion it was such a tough decision that we got to celebrate all the kids ... that's a fantastic change-up.
A true Cinderella-team transformation!
MVP ... most valuable player and the most validating plan for rebuilding our team!