Chores – Because I Choose To

Self Esteem Can Be Intrinsically Motivated

Some days you get to see a miracle when you least expect it.

It was a rough getting-ready-for-school morning.

With no tampering from Mom, in the spark of a moment of intrinsic decision making,

John scampered over to the partially-opened dishwasher and started doing his chores.

The clean silverware matched into the cutlery drawer.

(That drawer is a mess of plastic and metal, and we do our best to keep it organized.

John has been trained to “match” stuff, to put the spoons with the spoons, etc.)

I knew enough to keep my big fat mom mouth shut.  I just stood there watching.

John very soon looked up at me with the biggest grin on his face.

He was proud of his actions, proud he had thought of it.

NOT because Mom had nagged or prompted.

This is the magic, secret sauce of what we seek for our young people,

that they make the best decisions they can because they choose to.

So please, dear fellow parents, keep giving them boundaries.

And you MUST hold those boundaries, without war.

I smile, zip it, and turn my attention somewhere (anywhere) else when he attempts re-negotiation.

Absolutely sure this can work in your home.

Peace be with us,


Power Struggles

So I Tried Tickling

Lately, John has been testing my boundaries.

Big surprise there, huh?

I have tried a river of maneuvers to get him moving forward once he’s decided he doesn’t want to.

Specifically, this morning, he decided it was far more fun to stay in bed than get up.

What could I try that didn’t involve mad, sad, or brute strength?

So I tickled him!

He said to stop it.  I said to get up.

It went in circles for a moment or so.

And it worked.

It is not an intrinsic motivator.

It is extrinsic, coming from the outside.

From a mom up against the clock who couldn’t find a better tool in the moment.

So when time is running out

(seems to be every school morning as we try to get out of the house),

maybe this can help in your home.

It is not a tool for forever.

But it did work.

Peace be with us,



(Thank you, PowerPoint Library, for the clip art)


Piano Games

Balancing Quarters and Duct Tape Floor Staff

Try piano with your child?

We have Music-On-The-Go come to the house.

30 minutes every week.

We use a pretend piano.

It’s a full-size 88-key Casio portable keyboard with weighted keys and pedals, on a stand.

So, less expensive and smaller than a regular piano.

John’s first public recital is this Saturday.

Our teacher, Ms. Melanie, has him playing these games:

Quarter Game – Balance a quarter on each hand as he plays.

Floor Games – Make a 5-line staff with duct tape on the floor.

Middle C is on a smaller line (shown here with black electrical tape).

Then use little kid feet, flash cards and other objects to practice moving up and down the scales and the staff.

You can put down a card for “treble” or “base”,

A, B, C, way of looking at music,

and the 5-lines, 4-spaces prospective, working on memorization.

She is teaching John how the notes relate going up and going down,

in different settings.

On the floor, on the keyboard and alphabetically.

It’s called multi-modal learning, using a variety of tools and prospective.

I can see John’s practice with piano positively affecting other areas of

his learning, and vice-versa.

Perhaps piano could work for your family’s learning?

Please try music and reading music.

Your kid will like having the community of band.

The pleasure of creating music is an added bonus.

We also use a metronome which helps build self-control, self-regulation and restraint.

Peace be with us,