Leading in the Home | Self Improvement & Chore Chart to Train Up a Child

I’ve continuously been purposeful in finding ways to inspire and motivate Griff to be the best version of himself (starting young is crucial), while also engaging him in being mindful of helping others and every day basic acts of kindness. Visual learning has proven to be a strong influencer of putting into practice what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s not only a conversation starter and every day reminder, but it also holds both parent and child accountable for the goals, motivators, and teachings of the week. Presenting the Self Improvement & Chore Chart! I continue to organize my home with lean management principles …

Let’s start with the Chore Chart. Griff and I have actively been having conversation about being a household contributor for the last few months. I’ve been incorporating him into household duties as much as possible to help him understand what goes into maintaining a home. Little things make a difference and give kids a sense of responsibility and ownership of work. A reward system is always helpful, as it certainly motivates little ones to focus on the task at hand. You can get pretty creative week to week as you help them take on additional responsibilities.

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The Self Improvement Board has to be my favorite part of this project, as it has the potential to morph into a creative force for you and your littles to grow together. For me, I wanted to incorporate a Biblical focus for the week (Fruits of the Spirit), as well as some ways we can help, goals, and the proud championship of our Florida State Seminoles (’tis the season). There’s absolute value in maintaining a consistent approach to this type of learning, but there’s also flexibility in your areas of focus. Anything you can do to engage your littles is a win-win.

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While I wrote all of the information and tasks on the board, Griff thought of his own “How Can I Help” and “Goals”. It’s important to me that he play an active role in these areas from week to week. I want to ensure he’s really thinking about how he can apply himself in these arenas and then commit to following through during the week. Ownership … it’s a virtue.

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This was a wonderful project to do together. A Sunday afternoon well spent! I know I’m biased, but I have one amazing young man who was born to do great things in this world, and to be a blessing to all who cross his path. Proud Mom.

Side Note – I picked up all supplies at Target (one stop shop). The Chore Chart pictured here was under $10 and came with the check/smiley/star magnets. Bonus!

The Simple Life | Need vs. Want

Innately, I’m a person who values simplicity and the joy that comes from the “little things” in life; a kind word of encouragement, quality time with those you care about and love, blueberry picking and cobbler making with my Great Aunt Sarah, sitting on your front porch with your favorite drink and book in hand, a good meal at your favorite restaurant … to name a few. I credit this appreciation for simplicity to being raised in tandem with my grandparents and great grandparents. They knew the value of a dollar after living thru the Great Depression and World War II; they understood what it meant to be a supportive servant to the American community and a contributing member of society. They were God fearing people who lived enriched lives with so little because they operated from a place of gratefulness and put others before themselves. To have known them and been a benefactor of their tutelage, grace, and love is a blessing in and of itself.

Quick side note – a grateful memory moment and Mom shoutout…
Growing up, my Mom labored and gave it her all in everything her hands touched, making motherhood her number one priority. She was selfless in her efforts; her motivation being to give me the best life could offer and all the opportunity she envisioned and prayed for to shine down on me. She balanced it all by teaching me accountability, responsibility, and ownership of my path. Don’t get me wrong, she had some expectations for me. I was absolutely not a bench sitter. Nope. She expected me to put in the work for my future to supplement all she’d sacrificed, and she got in the trenches with me to ensure I made the best of it all. Fast forward to a full ride academic scholarship that would land me at the greatest University Florida offers (Florida State University plug); career success, and an amazing motherhood journey. Blessed and thankful.

While I appreciate having nice things and the luxury of not having to penny pinch or budget every single purchase in life, there’s a lot to be said for keeping a grounded perspective on what you need vs. what you want in life. Furthermore, there’s a lot to be said for personal reflection and understanding how incredibly blessed you are in this life.

I recently had one of those revelation moments; the kind that will slap you in the face with perspective. Griff and I were out running errands and I was giving him a heads up on our plans for the day. “We’re going to the grocery store, then to Target to pick up a couple items, and then we can have lunch and go to the park.” Griff’s response to this was eye opening for me when he asked, “Mommy, when we get to Target, can I get another Lego set to put together after the park?” This was after I’d already purchased a small Lego action figure at CVS when we were waiting for a prescription. Knowing he’d already been playing with a new toy in the backseat, and that we’d be eating lunch and going to the park for the afternoon, coupled with all the memories of the toys and goodies I’ve purchased at numerous stops along the way in life, struck me and really got me thinking. What message am I sending to Griff when he constantly “adds to cart” each time we’re at the store, leaving with something in hand he doesn’t necessarily need?

As a Mom to the most wonderful human on this earth (my biases are kicking in) , I want to give Griff everything his little heart desires. And when you have the means, it’s so easy to say, “Yes, you can have that.” and “Sure, throw it in the basket or on the conveyor belt for the swiping and bagging”. But is it necessary? Even though it may be inexpensive or monetarily in line with your lifestyle, why should there be a toy/goodie/treat purchased just because we had to get some essentials at a store? Moreover, am I teaching him the difference between essentials and desires?

I started my own household movement, adopting more of a minimalist approach to life – need vs. want. Back to basics! Not only am I applying this to the requests I receive from Griff, but I’m also modeling this behavior by being intentional with every purchase. Do I need this or do I just want this? And if it is a want … why? What’s the reason for me “requiring” so much in life? I should be focusing more on all the things I already have and cherishing them from a place of gratefulness. Sometimes, it’s hard to do in a culture of upgrades, the next best thing, and a “treat yourself” mentality. What are we placing value on?

Do yourself a favor and put pen to paper! Start making a list of needs vs. wants and memorializing your expenses. Yes, this can be seen as a budget, but it’s a little more than that. It’s taking your needs and wants a step further to “verbalize” your desires and put things into perspective so you can truly tackle the “why” behind what you’re choosing to spend your money and efforts on. Trust me, your perspective will start changing when you realize how blessed you are and how you can operate with so much less.

Over the last few months, I’ve truly seen progress in both myself and Griff’s life desires.  He has a savings account and piggy bank and he’s been diligent about saving his money. When we go to a store and he asks for something out of “want”, I tell him what it costs and that he’ll need to pay for it out of his own personal stash. He evaluates … the thinking  process is quite entertaining, I must say. Ultimately, he says … “Nah, I don’t need to spend my money on that.” He recently asked me if he could go thru his closet and donate the toys he doesn’t play with to kids who don’t have as much as he has. Humility moment.

One of my favorite quotes in life is, “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.” I greatly appreciate the fact that I can travel, explore, and live a very prosperous life. But I never want to lose sight of how incredibly blessed I am. I encourage you all to do some self reflection and count your blessings. There are so many people in this world who long for our everyday basics. As easy as it can be to check request lists at any point in your day, being intentional about needs vs. wants will fundamentally shape your way of thinking.

Please share any of your best practices, tips, and feedback on this topic. I’d love to hear from you!

Resilience in Heels [or Sneakers, or Barefoot] …

Resilience. Merriam-Webster defines as “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens; the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc”. Resilience.

Today I felt compelled to share my motivators in life, in hopes it will encourage, edify, and inspire any reader thru their personal journey. I hesitate to ask, “Have you ever had one of those days?” Uh … yes. How about, “Have you ever had one of those years?” Thank you, I now identify.

Life has its way with all of us. Sometimes it’s kind and gentle. Other times … it will straight up put you in the ring without notice … or gloves. We often face unexpected challenges; some more than others. I’ve found the unexpected to be all too familiar, making the unexpected, ironically, expected.

For me, knowing who you are to your core and what your every day drivers are is an essential element of life. When your perfectly organized and planned day goes awry, and/or when life heaves a baseball directly at your perfectly manicured face, you’re already in the mindset to bounce … quickly, and with grace and style, I might add. And trust me, I’ve had my share of swift 2×4 blows to your day/week/month/year.

Whether it’s people, goals, inspiration, or faith that motivates you, find the things you’re passionate about that keep you persevering thru any hardship(s). For me, my faith has always been an internal compass; keeping my eyes on things above and recognizing what’s within my control. While I’m not always the best model of this behavior (Lord knows I try), I truly strive to focus my energy on positively responding to any situation. The pause, extra breaths, and steps back make such a difference.

When my Griff made his precocious debut into this world, he became my greatest teacher. It was then I realized my priority in life, from a Biblical and obligatory perspective, was to raise this child to be the absolute best version of himself. Who would’ve known that responsibility would, in turn, challenge me to be the absolute best version of myself – God moment. Griff has shown me as an adult what it is like to view life thru the lens of a child, even after all the knowledge and jaded experiences life dishes out … what perspective, should you seize these moments. Example … his first recognition of a full moon. He stood in awe of the vast skies above us, pointing up to the wonder of it all. Yes, Griff … there is so much this life offers, and these simple pleasures should never fade. Perspective.

I have my days, months, even years of life where there are a myriad of emotions and issues I have to work thru. Some days, I feel like the challenges are never ending … I’m right there with so many of you. But then I think about the refinery that is taking place. How I am being, as Merriam-Webster so eloquently describes, pulled, stressed, pressed, bent … all for what I believe to be the continuation of molding me into the best version of myself. What an investment I am. Life (God, for me) has allowed all of this to cross my path because He sees the potential it will bring and the greater impact in store. I am reminded of so many verses of scripture and songs today … “He, Who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it.”

Today was a wonderful Monday. It had its challenges, yes; every day does. But it was wonderful because I was productive, shared laughs with friends and colleagues, got to tell my Mom “Happy Birthday” and watch her experience the joy of handmade cards from Griff, listen to Griff read his Kindergarten book homework (without help – GO G!), and tuck him in like a burrito with kisses to follow … to name a few things. Now I’m typing this post with vino in hand (bonus).

Find your life drivers. Invest in you. Get up, dress up, and never give up. Know there are people out there pressing thru the challenges and struggles of dark valleys to get to the mountain top of joy. Know that I am celebrating your victories (tiny as they may be some days) with you, and am cheering you on from a distance. Resiliency is the first step towards knowing you are every bit worth the investment of this life; invaluable. I’ll end this post with a favorite motivational quote … “Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.” You got this!