My house is loud and chaotic. Three kids, a dog and all the noise they make is only part of it. We are a family of yellers. Unfortunately, I'm not talking about the color. With the exemption of Mike, although he will raise his voice when necessary, the kids and I seem to always yell about something. If someone is aggravating the others, there is yelling. If someone doesn't get their way, there is yelling. If a child is trying to parent one or more of the other children, there is yelling. We yell at the dog. We yell when we are mad. We yell when we want something. We yell when we don't want to do something. I yell from one room to get someone from another room, even if they are at the other end of the house. We are also very critical of and negative towards each other. It has become such a part of our family that we don't even realize when we do it. This is just not acceptable.
While praying this morning, I apologized to God for all the yelling we do, my critical spirit when it comes to my kids, and how it has bled over to how my kids react and respond to one another. God speaks to us in a still, quiet voice and that is how we should speak to those around us. Not knowing how to change myself and my family, I prayed for direction and guidance, along with a HUGE dose of wisdom. God showed me that instead of pointing out all the negative things the kids do, point out the good things and the not-so-perfect tries and reward them. He reminded me of the marble jar in my cabinet. Every time I saw the kids cooperating with each other, doing something nice, talking to each other without sarcasm or venom, etc., I will put a marble in a jar labeled with their name. At the end of the day, I will total up all the marbles in their respective jars and keep a running total. When they get to a set amount (say 30 or 50), we will redeem them for somewhere they want to go like Chuck E. Cheese or McDonald's. Now, if I see or hear them not getting along, I will give them a chance to correct it. If there is still a problem, I will remove a marble and they have to do a job from my Job Jar. (The Job Jar is filled with jobs I want done around the house like wash the backdoor windows, clean the walls beside the backdoor, wipe down the baseboards in different rooms, clean the hall bathroom, put up dishes, clean out the microwave, etc. I stopped using this jar a couple of years ago because the kids would BEG to pick out a job so it wasn't much of a punishment.)
After I got everything ready, I set the kids down and explained what we were doing and why. So far, there has been a good response. I have had to get on to the kids a couple of times but not as often as usual. The volume around here has gone down considerably. The kids are getting along much better. I know this is something I will have to stay on top of. The kids are going to revert back to their old habits and so will I. But change has got to come so I am hoping I can remain diligent and keep trying. Kids do not need to be raised in a house full of chaos. They get enough of it from the world around them. They don't need it at home too. This should be a place of shelter, a place to get away from the chaos and find peace.
Isaiah 26:12a LORD, you establish peace for us...
Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Proverbs 16:7 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.
Proverbs 3:17 Her (wisdom) ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
Psalm 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
1 Peter 3:11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
Isaiah 26:3 (HCSB)You will keep in perfect peace the mind [that is] dependent [on You], for it is trusting in You.