I would like to introduce you to our Joy Jar. When it comes right down to it, it’s an exercise of awareness. Adding or subtracting the brightly colored pom-poms is a physical representation (and playful, tactile experience) of the way our individual choices (words, behaviors, etc.) affect the family joy. Instances of peace and kindness add a pom-pom to the jar. Conflict and negativity take away. When the jar is full, we all get to enjoy a fun family experience (like going to the movies).
- Start with the jar half full (but not half empty ;).
- Add a pom-pom for anything that enhances the family joy.
- “You 3 are playing so nicely together.”
- “Take all the time you need. I’ll wait.”
- “Is there anything I can do to help you to feel better?”
- “I love you. Thank you for being you.”
- “You cleaned up all your mess when you were done with your activity without being asked. Thank you for being responsible.”
- Remove a pom pom for anything that takes away from the family joy (this includes parents).
- “I don’t care!”
- “That’s mine!”
- “I don’t want to!”
- “Just get in the car!”
- Any words or behaviors based in disrespect, unkindness, impatience, negativity, etc.
- Once full, celebrate with a fun family experience.
Note: Pom-poms are a good fit for our family but you can swap out pom-poms for something else that resonates for your family.
As I sit here finishing up this post, Bay (6) is in my lap, Sky (9) is sitting next to me looking up Plain White T songs and playing his ukulele, and West (3) is on the floor by my feet playing with Legos. We are all discussing the messages, feelings, and experiences behind the lyrics. As we finished singing Giving Tree together, I hugged my 6 year old and said, “I love you. Pom-pom?” and he hopped up and added 1 to the jar. Then my 9 year old said, “Man, musicians have a lot of girlfriends,” with a smirk. True that, my love.