Back in March, I wrote two posts about kids and reverence, one conceptual (here), and one about application (here). Little did I know that those two posts would become my most read and distributed posts of all time. Apparently they got picked up on Pinterest, and were widely circulated. (The lead article actually surpassed the President Uchtdorf posts by a margin of 8:1. Sorry!) I guess there are a lot of young parents out there wrestling with the same things my EC and I wrestled with when our kids were young. (Yes, I used the word wrestling on purpose.)
In the post about "The Table," I mentioned that I had one more reverence technique to share - well, here it is...
Some years ago, when we were in the midst of the rearin' years, our boys were having a tough time behaving at church. The "Table" worked, but we recognized that it was more of a "stick" approach, and were looking around for more of a "carrot" way to motivate.
About that time, our family had been introduced to the "Red Plate." It was a red ceramic plate that was brought out for special occasions. Whoever had a birthday, gave a talk, or did something especially praiseworthy would have the privilege of using the "Red Plate" for dinner. The kids loved it, and really made a big deal out of it. (Red Plates still are available, but they are wicked expensive. link)
This gave me an idea: What if we were to find some unique plates for the kids, and let them use them for Sunday dinner - if they had been reverent at church that day? We knew we had a positive reenforcement winner - we would call them "Reverence Plates."
Next step - find the plates. Much tougher than anticipated. We went to all sorts of kitchen and ceramic stores in the search of the perfect plates, and came up empty handed. They were either too breakable, or the pattern had nothing "churchy" about it. We continued the search.
One evening, we were in California on vacation, and were eating at the Old Spaghetti Factory in San Diego. They served the kid's meals on these terrific three-section plastic plates. My EC agreed that they would be perfect for Reverence Plates - if the design hadn't been all about spaghetti.
So we went to work, got a friend to sketch out some artwork, learned how to get the plates manufactured - in China. We were excited to see them when they arrived. When they did, we held onto them until we could have an FHE with the kids. We had a lesson on reverence and presented them with their plates.
They were thrilled! And motivated. They knew that if they behaved, they could use their Reverence Plate, and we could leverage that as a gentle reminder, as needed. The oldest kids played along, but the younger kids thought it was important, and were especially anxious to help set the table if they earned the plate that day.
The Reverence Plates became a regular part of our Sunday tradition. Dinnertime has always been important to us, (post here) and Sunday dinner - even more. It worked well for us, and the kids look back fondly on their "Reverence Plates." (Just this evening, my daughter asked me to make sure and save some for her eventual kids.)
My suggestion to you, is give this idea a try. You don't have to use an officially sanctioned, non-denominational, dishwasher-safe "Reverence Plate," but if you want to, you can buy them here:
Best of luck!
PS: If you somehow find out more about my identity from using the store, please don't go blabbin' about it.
PPS: If any of you are Pinterest or Facebook people, I sure would appreciate if you would get this post circulating.