Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Empowerment Experience Month Two

Manners Month

After having such great success with the money jar and chores we moved onto manners. Why? Because we have a house full of boys. Need I say more? At some point the boys need to learn how to communicate well, speak politely, and eat in a non-vulturistic manner:)

I had such hopes going into this challenge. Our rules were fairly simple.
1. Look adults in the eye when spoken to and answer with a complete sentence.
2. Speak kindly to one another.
3. Table manners were enforced for the month. (For us that includes using forks and knives to cut food into bite sizes, feet on the floor, napkin on the lap, considerate conversation, not eating until the host/hostess sits down - boy this is tough for them, and clearing dishes when done).

The first rule was just a matter of remembering not to say uh-huh, nah, yep, etc. They did a great job in this area and learned how to speak more respectfully more often.

The second rule...speaking kindly to one another was a bit trickier. There is something about older and younger brothers and how they interact with each other. The teasing seems to be a mandatory part of everyday living and with teasing, comes the backlash of teasing. One way I tried to counter this was when they decided to be mean to each other I had them grab their scriptures and find a story about someone being mean. They need to read and tell me the result of that behavior. We then relate it to life and what that means to him. This tactic helped some, but I have to be consistent for it to work well. Needless to say, this is still a work in progress.

The last rule, table manners. I thought this would be so easy, but I was proven wrong. This is an area that I know can continue to be improved on. Simple with your utensils. Why my boys think it is so cool to eat with their hands and fingers and not cut anything is beyond me:) The noise level at dinner sometimes drives us a bit crazy. We talk about appropriate tones at dinner, not interrupting others as they speak, using napkins and such.

The prize for this challenge was to go and eat at a fancy restaurant. We failed this challenge as a family and did not get this prize. Food is a huge motivator for our boys...especially good food like sushi, steaks, etc. We are continuing to work on these things and will re-visit this challenge when we are ready to succeed.