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Refrigerator Behavior Charts

Okay, raise your hand if you've ever had a behavior chart, chore chart or some other sort of monitoring chart on the fridge for your children to follow? Or maybe you had to follow one yourself as a kid.

My daughters are currently 12 and 16, and you would think that by this age they would not have to be told to feed the dogs, cats and chickens. You would think that the smell of the litter box in the garage would remind them to clean it. You would think that the empty ice cube trays they left on the counter (yes, we do not have an automatic ice maker) would be oh so easy to fill back up. And you would think that since Monday generally follows Sunday every week, and for the past several years they have been in charge of collecting the trash for Monday pick up, that they would not need to be reminded of it every single Monday morning as we are rushing out the door to school.

But no, you would think wrong. I don’t believe the litter box has ever been cleaned without being ordered to first. Even after 15 minutes of persistent barking by one of our dogs, it STILL takes me yelling, “FEED THE DOGS!!” throughout the house before they see a piece of kibble. Ice cube trays? I’ve given in to just drinking room temperature liquids. And as for the trash, it didn’t even get taken down to the end of the lane this week at all.

In fact, last school year I was to the fed up point that I actually made a chore chart for my teenager and pre-teen! As my teenager tried to toss the chart into the trash can stating that "this is not necessary," I very "motherly" told her not to touch it and informed her that if she and her sister would just do what they already know they are supposed to do, then a chart wouldn't even be needed. The chart only existed because they were disobedient about their chores.

"We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy...." (1 Timothy 1:8-9a NLT)

It's amazing though how often when the words, "How many times do I have to tell you!" come exasperatedly out of my mouth, that I ever so gently hear the words, "And Tracy, how many times do I have to tell YOU?" whispered to my heart.

When the apostle Paul penned those words to his protégé Timothy, he went on to say, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16 HCSB)

Paul--the worst of sinners? Then what on earth does that make me? Maybe it's me who needs a behavior chart reminder after all. How many times this week alone did I lose my temper, feel jealousy, say something I wish I could take back, fail to show patience? Yup, I need a behavior chart.

The wonderful thing is--I already have one in God's Word! But here's the catch: It doesn't matter how pretty and decorated that behavior/chore chart is, it only really works if your kids actually look at it and respond to it. So too we must regularly not only look at, but respond to, God's Word.

When I am dedicated to starting my day with talking to the Lord and covering myself in Scripture, I can't tell you how different those days feel. However, when I allow myself to get swept away with the daily grind and miss several days in a row (even pastor's wives do that sometimes), I definitely do NOT get any gold stars on my behavior chart.

Oh, that I would tie God's commandments as symbols on my hands and bind them on my forehead! That I would write them on my doorframes and on my gates!! (Deuteronomy 6:8)

If you've never really committed to being in the Word daily, I encourage you to start TODAY!! You will see all the difference. And you might even get a gold star.

#parenting #obedience #encouragement

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