Lessons from the bean jar
As you start this week, focus on your own positive. I thought of this last night, as I dished out more beans to our family’s bean jar.
See, we’ve started something this year, and so far, it’s working beautifully: the bean jar. The grownups dish out beans for various positive attitudes among family members—emptying the dishwasher without being asked, getting ready for bed without complaint, doing stellar math work, whatever. Sometimes we even give beans for random, anonymous stuff, simply saying, “Someone’s done something awesome!” and leave it a mystery.
The keys are these: there’s only one jar, so there’s no competition; everyone’s happy when someone does something good. And? We only add beans for positive stuff—we never take beans away for negative behavior. If it’s a rough day, there may not be many beans added to the jar, but that’s okay. The next day, we start over.
The prize when the little jar is full? We haven’t yet decided, but it’ll be some fun family activity we’ll all enjoy. (I should add, by the way, that this isn’t my idea. I learned it from Oliver DeMille’s Leadership Education.)
This simple bean jar has reminded me to focus on my own personal positives. It’s so easy to look at what I didn’t cross off the day’s to-do list, but when I acknowledge what all I did, a weight lifts. Or when I share the favorite part of my day around the dinner table (another favorite family tradition around here), I recognize that there’s always at least one thing good in any day, no matter how horrible overall.
Be intentional and focus on the good every day this week. You may have a rough few days ahead of you, but take heart. Each day is a new one, and there is always at least one reason to be thankful. Use a bean jar if you need help remembering.
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