I have a huge container of dried kidney beans. We use them for counting and math and for playing the game "Mancala".
But today my daughter found a new use for them.
It's my first year homeschooling and we're having fun doing the math and reading thing. But my main focus has really been to watch her character and especially her attitude and her obedience. This is the beauty of homeschooling, in my opinion...having the opportunity to capitalize on every teachable moment that presents itself.
Back to the beans...
SuperGirl decided to spill the beans everywhere in her bedroom. She then proceeded to go into different rooms and play with other things.
I asked her four times to pick up the beans.
I've really been sensitive to her following and obeying the first time I ask. We've had so much "up-in-the-airness" the past 6 months that I have let alot slide for the sake of (insert excuse here). Anyway, it was a lightbulb moment for me when she didn't obey after the fourth time. I realized, "She doesn't believe my words the first time."
So...time to turn to the magical fruit to send home the message of consequences: the beans!
I set the timer for 15 minutes.If she did not pick up all the beans in that timeframe, they were dumped out and she'd start again. If she whined while doing it, the beans she had picked up were dumped out and she started again. And if she spoke disrespectfully to me and said, "You don't love me." The beans were spilled out.
The beans were spilled out a total of 6 times but SuperGirl caught on. And in the end, it was the realization that she would miss lunch that gave her that final burst of energy to pick up all the beans.
Afterwards, I asked SuperGirl what she learned from the bean experience. "You know Mom, I don't like doing things that are hard."
Join the club, kiddo. Try teaching your kid to listen to you the first time.
It's hard, but for the sake of long term intiatives, it's worth it.