I am a big fan of discipline. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of my top 4-5 core values. I BELIEVE in discipline.
That being said, I have a slightly different take on it that I apply in my life both as a person who needs self-discipline and a parent.
Annoyingly positive discipline.
That’s how I like my discipline. Annoyingly positive.
With that in mind, today we invented a game in our home. It’s called Pause & Applause.
I asked my 10-year-old son to load the dishwasher. He did. What happened next floored me.
He put away some of the clean dishes that were on our drying mat.
Without being told.
I’ve been working on him doing things he sees need to be done without being asked. I’ve been working on him doing things he’s supposed to do without being asked. And he has definitely shown improvement. But, in a burst of inspiration, I decided we’d make this one a big deal.
Once he sat down to eat breakfast with all of us I told everyone to stop! Then I asked everyone to applaud Zach for what he’d done. I explained that I was so happy he’d done something that needed doing without being asked. I explained that it really helps me and helps the house to stay nice.
Zach has two sisters. Can you guess what happened next? Yep, they both immediately began doing things without being told. Haha.
At one point Zach had everyone stop and applaud me for cleaning my 4-year-old’s new shirt that was stained with berries. I told him, moms do what needs to be done without asking all the time. I also told him thanks. Curiously, I realized it did feel nice to be recognized. I say curiously because duh. My first response was to shrug it off. But, that’s not what I want to model is it? Why not have kids that show appreciation for the automatic things?
A takeaway is that this works for adults as well. It would be wise I imagine to not do it in such an obnoxious manner. Is there a time today you can pause and (verbally) applaud someone in your office or home for doing something awesome?
We will continue this game. Positivity and encouragement are contagious. Furthermore, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon tells us that as we start looking for these pause & applause moments we will actually notice them more. The more good you focus on, the more good you’ll have to focus on. We are also reinforcing and rewarding awesome behavior. It’s a cycle of awesome.
Today I challenge you to find at least one, but maybe more, pause & applause moments.