Wow!  This may very well make you want to re-evaluate your parenting.
This is a 20month old cleaning up after playing with play-do....check it out!  And to learn more...visit here.
Based upon plenty of requests to share this idea, I have decided to write a post on it.  Just so you know, in no way do I take any credit for the magic this has created in our home (especially in regards to the good behavior we've experienced).  My only claim is to the colorful way of display - which of course you are free to copy as long as you remember to note where it came from.  Thanks!

The Ladder

This, my friends, is my new bff, "The Ladder".  It has arrived from Karen's blog in Utah, U.S.A but I'm sure it has traveled far and wide across the states and may have possibly visited foreign countries.  Here at our home it has taken on a colorful array of hues to please the eye (and hopefully the mind) towards motivation and inspiration.
* I will post more on our Morning 5 and Evening 5 in a later post

How it Works

We have adapted the same requirements as Karen's family has in using The Ladder... and not by chance.  I believe we (as parents) all struggle in these same areas of behavior "improvement" across the board when parenting our children.  You may or may not agree.  But, having our children "listen the first time we ask" has always been a dragon to be tamed around here, as well as "doing tasks in a timely manner while still getting the job done well".  Both those and "reporting only good behavior of others" (instead of that infamous dragon, "Mr. Tattle-tale") has also been added to the list.

Whenever our children are displaying the positive behaviors we are working on, the marker (magnet on The Ladder) moves up.  Although, when those evil naughty dragons are allowed to reign free, the marker goes down.

Moving Up
1.  Complete a Task Well & Fast (2 rungs)
2.  Doing something the 1st time asked
3.  Notice someone else being nice (can't ask for self)

Moving Down
1.  Counting to get one's attention
2.  Having Instructions Repeated
3.  Taking too long to complete a Task (2 rungs)

* pink papers will eventually be removed once this becomes rooted
Oh, and I dare not forget that whenever the marker reaches 200 - regardless if it finds its way down a rung or two by the end of the day - EVERYONE is rewarded!  The reward may come in the form of a special treat or an impromptu visit to a nearby park depending on if we have frozen GoGurts in stock or not.

The Ladder Meets The Bean Jar

Hand in hand these two friends help our children improve their behaviors.  "How?", you may be asking? 

Well, it all started with us following the teachings of Dianne Jeppson (in A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion) by implementing a reward system with The Bean Jar.  However, our Bean Jar was being neglected.  And not for purposeful reasons...far from it!  It was just so hard to keep up with its ever so increasing appetite.

You see, The Bean Jar gets fed every time someone does something good.  And when you have a lot of good behavior going on in your home (because everyone wants to go get ice cream once the jar is full), that's a lot of feedings for a WIDE MOUTH Mason jar.  And instead of relying on the children to feed this little friend, I was the one in charge of the beans.  Mind you, it was because I didn't want a bunch of beans ending up all over the floor from an over-zealous 2 year old thinking that The Bean Jar was REALLY hungry.  So thus, The Bean Jar sat, collecting dust and starving on the top of the bookshelf.

Best Friends Forever

Pairing these two together has created an everlasting friendship.  When they have "hung out" we have witnessed a spectacular sight.  As the positive behavior increases, elevating the marker, the amount of beans being fed into the Bean Jar accumulates.  Thus, satisfying our Wide Mouthed friend. And... leaving us at the end of the day - being the "bean counters" we are - tallying up and feeding this hungry vessel. 

But as we all know... friends just don't always get along. 

Some days these two have a difficult time staying on track (or in this case - on the positive numbered rungs).  Which leaves, one in the negative and us no other option but to starve the other ultimately making it difficult to reach our goal.  Which, might I remind you, is not just ANY ice cream... but Cold. Stone. Creamery. ice cream...with a topping of choice (of course).

Synergy or Working Together

As we see our children work together to climb The Ladder to success, The Bean Jar gets fed, our children will get Cold Stone Creamery and we....well, we ultimately get the greatest gift of all....children who are quick to obey.  I mean, really, isn't that what we all want as parents - to see our children feel good about their choices, knowing that what they are doing not only puts a happy smile on their faces but that it also pleases their parents and their Heavenly Father too?

We know that through obedience comes faith.  And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come (D&C 130:19).  And, really, that is what it is all about: the spiritual knowledge we gain here in our temporal lives.  And what better than to do it as a team, together as a family, working together towards one goal:  a trip to Cold Stone Creamery or even grander...Eternal Glory!

We think that hard work, obedience and finding the good in others are all worthy attributes that will help us obtain Celestial Glory.  Don't you?
After saying the prayer over our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches today, this is the conversation that developed between Dyxon and myself.

Dyxon:  "Mom, why do we have all this food?"
Me:  "Because Dyxon, we have a lot of children in our family."
Dyxon:  "No, we don't."
Me:  "We don't?  So you don't think that 7 children is a lot?"
Dyxon:  "No."
Me:  "Then tell me...what is a lot?"
Dyxon:  "A BILLION!"

Well, he's got me there.
But there is NO WAY we are planning on having A BILLION children, that is for sure!
I came across this post (via a link on friend's blog) which is
profoundly and perfectly titled: 

Dear Angels, (Never let go)

A MUST read for anyone with children.
Is there a proper way of saying you are sorry?

Saying sorry is not commonly taught to us growing up...well, at the very least teaching it is usually done by only giving enough time & thought to just being able to "say" the words, "I'm Sorry".

But that should be enough, right?  I mean, what more than saying the words: "I'm Sorry" needs to be done except perhaps a hug, especially if it is one of your siblings.

Some say that apologizing is both an Art and a Science.  The way you deliver it needs careful consideration as well as preparing the recipe that forms the apology itself must be done with preciseness. 

Apparently there are several "formulas" to the make up of an apology but for time and simplicity sake we are going to focus on only 3 steps.

These are the 3 steps we take here in our family (not repeating the offense is taught but is not necessarily used as a step):
1.  Apologize for the situation:
    "I'm sorry for not sharing my toy with you."
2.  Acknowledge your part in the damage done:
    "It was very selfish of me and I'm sorry that you are feeling sad."
3.  Offer retribution for what you did wrong:
    "Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?"

Now for the Art of Delivery...I believe that is all going to depend on the person delivering the apology.  Since sincerity comes from the heart there will be a greater variety of differences in this area.  Age, even those dealing with emotional disabilities, will need to be taken into account with this as well.

And what about the other person, the one who is being apologized to?  What do they do?  Do they also have some sort of role or part in the processing of an apology?

We think so.  We feel that the person being apologized to needs to know how to handle their end of the exchange. 

For example:  when being apologized to, one must know how to accept the apology.  Is saying that it's okay appropriate?  It may very well some.  But for us, it's like giving them a "get out of jail free" pass.
If it's not okay for what they did wrong, then we shouldn't be telling them it's okay...sends the wrong message.

Then what do you say?
Well, this is sort of the conversation that takes place over here:

Person 1:  "I'm sorry for taking the toy out of your hands. 
                It was very rude of me and I can see that you are sad and upset
                with me."

Person 2:  "Thank you."  or "I forgive you."  or both
               "Thank you, I forgive you."

Person 1:  "What can I do to make things better?"

Person 2:  "I would like for you to use your words next time you
                want something I have.  And, I could really use a hug right

Granted this takes lots and lots of practice and coaching from us parents.  But there are times when we have seen the kids "helping" to teaching or remind each other of these steps...even so, we are often reminded of the steps when we forget.  It definitely is a group/team/family effort.  But in the end...every one feels much better.  Feelings are acknowledged and a plan of action in how to handle the situation next time is put into place.

So, my question to you still do you say you're sorry?
Have you heard of them?
Some people think they are "strict".
But let me tell ya, I met them & I can tell you they are Brilliant, Amazing even!
Who am I talking about?
The Pecks of course.
Yes, Nicholeen & Spencer are just a couple of ordinary parents just like you & I but they have an extraordinary way of dealing with their children that is...well, beautiful, logical & successful.

They have the answers to deal with those parenting issues {children's behavior problems} we have all faced but can choose to no longer have present in our homes.
Sound too good to be true?
Well, it's not I tell ya.

They have taught us the way to teach {Self Governing Skills} to our children.
Skills that help our child(ren) govern themselves.
Can you believe it?
I have the skills.
I also own a copy of their book.
I too have gained the confidence in my own children to be able to {self govern} themselves & have begun to implement the skills we have been taught in our home to our children.

Want to know the secret?
Visit their site:
Teaching Self Government

I promise, you won't be sorry.
And, if you get the chance, attend one of their seminars.
It's a life-changing experience!
Spencer & Nicholeen Peck with their children