June 10, 2010

Family Unity Award

What's that Haven's dragging behind his back on the way to the laundry room? Oh, that's just the trophy that has taken over the house. No biggie. Actually, it is a VERY BIG DEAL!

The kids are normally very caring with one another, but we had a day-well, maybe a few days - when things were not going as smoothly as I would have liked. The kids had been bickering like mad and I was feeling like I was about to turn into "Mean Mommy" and yell despite my knowing better. So in a moment of desperation I developed a plan and turned the car around. We headed to the DI (the Mormon version of Goodwill) to buy that monster of a trophy. On the way, I explained the deal.

"We're going to go pick out the Family Unity Award! I will give it to someone who I catch being really nice and putting some one else before themselves. I'll give it to someone who is sacrificing for their loved ones. That means I win! (this was the tricky mom part) I win because I'm the one giving it away! If I give it to you, that means you get the joy of giving it away! That's the point of the trophy! But to give it away, you have to get it. So just keep in mind that someone is always watching to find someone to get the be the trophy giver!"

Hannah Jane asked, "What if we can't agree on a trophy?" Ha! She had a point! They hadn't agreed on anything in days! What made me think they'd start now? They didn't! As we perused the trophy isle (yeah! There are that many trophies at the DI) Hannah Jane wanted a tall trophy and Haven wanted a tiny trophy with a cow on the top. LOL! We talked it out for several minutes and came to no conclusion. We couldn't even vote because Hunter kept changing teams. "Tall trophy. No. Cow trophy. No. Tall. No. Cow!!!"

Finally I said, "Well, I guess we're not even unified enough to buy a unity award. I was wrong. Let's go home." They all wailed that they'd get any one so long as they could have one. So we asked Haven and he conceded and gave up on the tiny cow trophy.

This little sibling harmony gimmick has gone a long way! It's been oh...3 weeks or so now and the kids are still very much into the Family Unity Award! And because of the emphasis on giving it rather than getting it, we got over the, "Give it to me right this minute because I did something nice!" thing super fast. There was a time that Haven would say, "I yuv you so much...Now give me the trophy because I said I yuv you and that's berry nice. So gimme!" It was so funny! But it provided us with a chance to talk about saying things like I love you for the right reasons.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this little mommy trick because it has worked so very well for us! The kids drag that big ole thing all over the place. They are so proud when they get it, and so proud to catch someone being nice so they can give it. So hit the second hand store and get yourself a big ole trophy!!! 2 bucks is a small price to pay for harmony in the home!


  1. Ted Taylor12.6.10

    Skyla, I just love this story. The way you are doing it sounds like just the right way to get them to focus on caring for others. You really understand how to use rewards well!

  2. Ted, this must be a response to the facebook controversy! LOL! I recall you quoting that verse once to me in the car on the way back from Portland when I was wrapping up the Children's class Ruhi and asked, "Can't you over praise and reward?" I think of your response often.


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