Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pure Genius

Okay, just so you know I am in no way regarded as a genius... I know that may come as a shock.  

But let's be honest the true measure of intelligence is really whether the knowledge you have matches the need before you.  You can have a million degrees in medicine or aerodynamics but if your power goes out it's the electrician that becomes the most intelligent person in the room.  And if your car engine dies it's the mechanic in the scientific researcher's parking lot that is the genius.

My point is this, odds are that at sometime in our lives our area of expertise will match up with the immediate need in front of us... and in that moment we will have our opportunity to shine.  

So let me just say that what I am about to tell you is... Pure Genius!!  I know, it may seem a bit extreme to give my words such high regards but I think you will agree that my moment to shine proved to be a success.

My Shining Moment
Well, let me just say that five kids can create messes like you can't even imagine and this mama could go insane trying to keep up with the ongoing clutter.  So I came up with a scheme that was.... yep, PURE GENIUS!

Everyone in our home has chores and jurisdictions that must be attended to daily (yes, I am a Duggar fan). However, there are some days when those efforts just aren't enough. These were the days when I found myself turning into the relentless nagging mama that continuously chanted, "pick up this, pick up that!"  Not only was it annoying to them but it was also extremely exhausting for me.

The Game
Okay so here it is, the genius part... I created "Pick-Up Points".  I know it doesn't sound like much yet but hang on, let me explain. 

On random days (the ones where I want to pull my hair out from the piles of clutter) I declare, Pick-Up Point Time and all of the kids come running.  Seriously, they literally come running.  I then proceed to set a timer (the length of time depends on the depth of the mess) each child begins to run in every direction picking up anything and everything they can find and putting it all away.  I even hear them sometimes argue over who gets to pick up what.  

Genius..... right!  Now, I would love for you to believe that my kids are just so wonderful that they would clean up that easily with no outside reward however, I have my integrity to think of so I will be honest.

The Motivation
Points are given for each item they pick up AND put away, I stay close by to monitor this process.  There are also times when the game is not being played that I will offer a set number of points in exchange for them helping outside their jurisdiction or just for volunteering to do something without expecting a reward.  The kids collect the points which, can be used to purchase items at the store.  They can choose to use the points right away or let them add up so they can buy larger items.  

Participation in the game is voluntary and the kids still have their regular chores which, are set aside just to teach responsibility.  However, it only takes one shopping trip to motivate the non-shoppers for the next game.  Our current Pick-Up point exchange rate is 1 point = 1 penny (there young and it works).   Keeping the point value low motivates them to pick up more items (that's where the scheme definition comes from). There is also the added benefit of their competitive nature, I guess I get the blame for that genetic hand-me-down.

Regardless of why it works... it works!  In a matter of minutes my house goes from chaos and clutter to neat and orderly.  And this mama sits back and smiles... much nicer than the previous nagging mama... so it's a win-win for all.

This little game has revolutionized my life and given me back some of my lost sanity, well I like to believe that at least.  I don't know how long this will continue to work so for now I will just marvel in its wonder and enjoy the moment when for a fleeting instance I was a Genius!

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.

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  1. I'm going to have to try this system out!

  2. I hope it works as well for your little guys. It's amazing how much more willing they are to help when it feels like a game and not work... I guess it isn't much different for us adults, lol!


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