Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Princely Jobs

Once upon a time, I emphasized to the Prince a very important concept: Your number one job is to be Soft with Mommy (and everyone else). I drilled it into him regularly for a while, and anytime he isn't soft with Mommy (approximately daily) I remind him about his #1 Job. Sometimes when I remind him to be soft, he reminds me it is his #1 Job.

Then the family went to DisneyWorld a few months ago. I decided he needed a few more cardinal instructions. I told him his #2 Job was to Not Run Away (a concept he had learned about thanks to the Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping: "Stay right here, and don't go wandering off."); #3 Job was to Have Fun and Be Happy; and I gave him a couple more to facilitate #3. After Disney, I forgot all about these other jobs and we just talked about Job #1.


A couple weeks ago, the Prince got pink eye. This was sad. It also made him much more interested in eyes and poking my eye and everyone else's. "Because he was interested in why they were sick," says Joy. Mine had been sick a few weeks before that.

This had to be discouraged. I told him Job #2 was to not play with his eyes or anyone else's. I asked him to repeat Job #2 for me. He said, "To not run away."

Oh, that's right. I had given him a second job at Disney. I forgot. Well then, Job #3: don't play with eyes. What is Job 3#? "To have fun and be happy."

Oh, that's right.  ... How many jobs have I given you? What's Job #4? He knew what it was. I've since forgotten it again. What's Job #5? He knew it. Okay, Prince, here is a Special Assignment. Let's get away from the numbers and emphasize that this is temporary: don't play with eyes. "Okay."

I was very impressed that he remembered his jobs from months ago when I had forgotten them.


This week, I decided I needed to reset his job list. In order for the Prince to go to school in Nigeria, he has to be potty trained. His school here has been helping us train him, but he's still got a Long Way to go. I reviewed his jobs in my head and knew that I did not want this to be merely Job #6.

So at Family Fun Time I got out a sheet of paper and had a counsel with him. I wrote out:

1 -- SOFT   (and we talked about his #1 job)

I then drew a picture of a potty and told him his NEW Job #2 was to be a big boy and go to the potty by himself, pee and poo, so he could go to school in Nigeria. This was an interesting concept for him. Eventual, the reset button took.

3 -- {:?D   Be HAPPY

4 -- I drew a boy with his eyes closed and his arms folded, saying "Amen." Be REVERENT.

5 -- I drew his toy shelf and wrote TOYS AWAY, or BE CLEAN.

His jobs are: Be Soft, Be a Big Boy, Be Happy, Be Reverent, Be Clean. Those are good things to be. He enjoyed the spelling and reading practice and having pictures associated with them. I need to figure out if I should associate anything with them, like more stickers when he does it, or a progress chart or something.

For my Family Home Evening lesson next week, we're going to review Pres. Hinckley's Ways to Be that briefly took the youth by storm:

1. Be grateful.  (I'm always working on this with him, and have since before he could talk, but it's not a job. Yet. The success is that he spends most of his prayers being thankful.)
2. Be smart.  (He is. A three year old who practices counting, spelling, and phonetic reading without encouragement!)
3. Be clean.  (My #2 and #5)
4. Be true. (We've been talking about this more recently, mostly in relation to not lying about the potty)
5. Be humble.  (Tough concept for a 3 year old. It's part of being soft, though.)
6. Be prayerful.  (My #4)

Pres. Hinckley later added: 

7.  Be Positive (My #3)
8.  Be Still  (My #4)
9.  Be Involved  (He doesn't have too much scope for this one yet. We determine it.)