Do you consider yourself to be a “good-finder?” You know, a “good-finder” is the kind of mom who looks for the things that her kids are doing well and offers praise and a word of encouragement. Well, that can be easier said than done (especially if you have toddlers or teens!) Many times, we as moms spend much of our time noticing the wrong things our kids are doing, figuring out how to fix the problem, or at the very least to suppress the negative behavior and attitudes. Of course, one of our duties as moms is to correct and train our children when they are wrong, but how often we forget that one of the best ways to do that is by ENCOURAGING the right behavior and attitudes! And when we find creative and meaningful ways to encourage good character, that’s when we really make impact and touch our child’s heart.
Here is a story from one of our team members, Jenny Hickl, that I think you’ll enjoy:
For several years my family raised chickens in the backyard. Their antics were a great source of entertainment as they learned to catch bugs, established their pecking order and spread their wings to try and fly (the longest recorded flight of a chicken is 10 ft). We always named the chicks. There was Speedy who wasn’t all that fast, Robin who turned out to be a rooster and, much to our chagrin, learned how to crow a 5 weeks, Star, Sparkle, Chick – you get the idea.
Our job was to watch over the young chickens for a couple of months until they were old enough to go to a friend’s farm. Of all of the chickens that passed through our hands, none of them captured our affections quite like Buttercup. Buttercup was a dark golden hen with black laced feathers. She followed us around the yard and my youngest daughter even taught her to sit on our shoulders like a parrot. When it was time for that batch of chicks to go to the farm, we were all a little down.
A few months later, I came across a ceramic chicken that resembled Buttercup. Thinking to amuse my children, I brought it home. They loved it. Now, when one of the kids shows remarkable character, “Buttercup” turns up in their room with a note of congratulations. It is the highest award anyone in our home can earn and is highly coveted.
There are several aspects of the Hickls’ “Buttercup Award” that has made it successful for their family:
1. It is personal – Born out of an experience unique to their family. This particular award means something to only the people in their family; so there is a fun “insiders” quality to it. It builds a “team mentality” in your family.
2. It is meaningful – Not overused so when someone receives it, it is a big deal!
3. It is specific – The award is given for a specific action or attitude with a note explaining and congratulating them for what they have done.
4. It was inexpensive – The ceramic chicken only cost Jenny a mere $6.88, but the meaning behind it is priceless!
So how about a character award in your family? I would encourage you to be creative and think of your own “unique” award that you can use to recognize and celebrate your children when they go above-and-beyond. Let us know what you come up with!
Thanks Hickl family, for letting us “in” on your special family tradition! I have a feeling your example will inspire many families to be “good-finders” more often! ; ) You all deserve a “Buttercup!”