Apparently my lesson on Little Things was so life-transformational that the kids forgot everything I said in less than 24 hours. The evidence was the tsunami-like condition of every room they visited in the first two hours this morning. I caught myself raising my voice and internal temperature about to explode, so I gave myself a time out to pray and practice deep breathing.
When I emerged, I called a family meeting. I stole from my childhood and defined obedience as "doing WHAT you're told, WHEN you're told, with a HAPPY HEART." I even taught the kids a little song about obedience my Mom made us sing when we were kids. Added bonus - it spells out obedience so they got a spelling lesson too.
I also stole from 1-2-3 Magic for Christian Parents and told the kids in a happy voice, "I'm happy to do your work for you. But I charge $1 per incident." And then I charged two Stilp children for cleaning up breakfast dishes that had been sitting there all morning. Little do they know I'm stashing all the money I'm making off them back in the "allowance" envelope to dole out later.
Then we made a poster. On one side we listed "Kids" and I spelled out everything that makes my blood boil. We wrote out "throw garbage away, don't drop your backpack and shoes by the front door, clean your room, clear, rinse and load your meal dishes, be kind and considerate, etc.etc." On the other side we listed out "Mom and Dad" little thing areas to work on. The kids were super happy to make suggestions for this list. We wrote down, "don't raise your voice, don't talk too much, be slow to get angry, slow to speak and quick to listen, show grace and mercy." Then I added "be consistent, be just," and a plethora of other parenting ideas that the kids weren't so keen on.
We nailed our poster to the wall in our hallway and I'm hopeful that having a daily reminder will enable all of us do better loving each other with the little things.