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What Does Your Family Stand For?

August 15, 2012

We made one small change in our family routine this summer- but it has made a big difference in our family dynamic. It has truly altered our attitudes as we start our day.

It all started when a family company named Papersalt sent a few of their books to me. After reading them one night (they are short), I brought one of them, “We Do: Things the Family Stands For”,  to the breakfast table the next morning.

I announced to our two children, “we are going to try something new this week. Every morning at breakfast, I am going to fan the pages of this book and you can stick your finger or hand in and that will be your chosen page for that day.”  They seemed keen on it and why not? Breakfast isn’t usually terribly jolly.

That first week, my daughter got this one:

I explained what “service” might mean to a 4 year old. So, when she gave our dog a bone that morning, I reminded her that that she was doing a service.  Then I asked her if could she continue doing that all day at camp and then report back on how it went? When she did come back that afternoon, it turned out that why, yes, she could!  She had patted her crying friend on the back, picked up her other friend’s fallen barrette, held the door open for her counselor and, (gasp!), let her brother use the bathroom first. I was thrilled!

Then my daughter (well, her finger), chose this page a few days later:

Boy, did she need this reminder. She has always been reluctant to say she’s sorry, and,  it concerns me because this is one of my biggest flaws. I have been determined to make it easier for her to say sorry than it has been for me over the last 20 years.  Her brother was also psyched to see her choose this page. I hear him ask her on occasion, “can I just get one quick sorry? Just a quick little sorry?” Guess what happened with her “sorry” goal? All day, my daughter was “sorry this, sorry that”- it was a bit too much but I wasn’t unhappy to see the pendulum swing the other way for once.

My son picked this one on the first day and loved it.

Well, who wouldn’t? After camp pick-up, my son reminded me that he had to do a grand adventure for the day. After exploring some options we decided to take our brand new bug catcher out for a spin and go looking for critters.  Definitely not something I would have ever initiated after a long day of camp, but it was a memorable early dusk of catching ants, naming them and then gently placing them back near their “family.” Lovely, lovely afternoon.

Here we are, 1.5 months into the book, and although we have chosen pages multiple times (there aren’t that many pages in the books), my kids still like to choose “their” page. Sometimes we do it every day, but more often it ends up being 3 days a week. No one is tired of it yet. Everyone seems happier to wake up with an “assignment” for the day that makes the day’s journey that much more purposeful.

We also got this book: “being a girl.”

Though my daughter at age 4 years seems too young to comprehend much of it, I think it’s a wonderful book for a girl a little bit older. Don’t you love the saying below? Most of us moms need to be reminded of it too.

Sometimes “thank you”, or taking a compliment can be painful for all of us, not just girls.

The “being a boy”  book is something I have been doing with my son who is 6 years old. He understands most of it but some of the social advice is lost on him at this age.

But not this one…..

Or this one…….

The books are short, printed on heavy card stock and spiral bound. My only wish is that they each had another 7-10 pages.  However, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded one or two times a week to “do sorry.”

Each book is $12.95.