Every Christmas season we make a trip to a local mall to let the kids visit Santa Claus. We try to go early in the season on a Monday afternoon in an attempt to avoid crowd and long waits (we're successful about half the time). This year, our trip to visit Santa was scheduled for yesterday. The kids were excited and looking forward to it. Neal was still trying to decide what he should ask for.
However, my children have found themselves on the naughty list this year. Sunday evening they were bad enough (i.e. impolite, rude, disobedient, completely obnoxious) that Utah Dad and I decided to cancel our annual visit to meet the jolly, bearded guy in the red suit.
We informed the children of our decision yesterday afternoon when they got home from school. There were some tears and some mild pledges of future obedience so that Santa might be persuaded (in letters) to return their names to his "nice list" before Christmas Eve.
Then during our revised Family Home Evening, we laid it on thick. Utah Dad and I are sick and tired of the name calling, the demands, the "tone" of voice, the rudeness. There were more tears and more slightly stronger pledges of future obedience and politeness. (Yes, it was one of those types of Family Home Evenings. Not really the intent of the Brethren, I imagine.)
And because we needed some positive reinforcements, we pulled out the big guns--the "Warm Fuzzy Jar". Ever since President Monson mentioned the warm fuzzy jar in October General Conference (the only thing my kids remember from the eight hours of conference talks we forced them to listen to) we have been intending to start our own warm fuzzy jar. I put it off, mostly because I kept forgetting to get pompoms whenever I went to the store. But now it was an emergency.
I showed the kids the large glass vase we would fill and the pompoms that I bought at Walmart yesterday (the kids are pretty sure I didn't buy enough to fill the jar. I promised them I'd buy more). They were excited and anxious to start being more obedient, kind, thoughtful and willing to serve others.
We told them a few ground rules:
1. Mommy and Daddy can reward a warm fuzzy for any good behavior that we observe (i.e. politely asking for something at the dinner table; using the potty for potty business; completing chores or homework without whining; obeying the first time . . .).
2. The child cannot ask for their own warm fuzzy for good behavior, but a kid can "tattle" on a sibling for good behavior that Mom and Dad might have missed.
3. We are all in on it together. It's a big family project. Not a contest.
We didn't come to a consensus about the prize we will get if and when we fill the jar. We're still thinking about it. We might have to have a family vote.
So far, on day one there are eleven warm fuzzies in the bottom of the jar. And that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.