I remember that in my rebellious teen years I would say to my grandfather “You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink”.
He would simply smile and respond in a soft tone “No, but I can make damn sure that it’s thirsty as hell by the time it reaches that water”.
It took me almost 30 years to understand him; to understand that you can’t make someone do something, unless they want to do it; and that the secret of a great leader is to make people want to do those things… and that the said “people” also include your own children.
Luckily, it took Angela Reuss far less time to understand the same thing. Faced with three young children and the prospect of having a terrible summer while working full time and trying to keep the kids happy and entertained (sounds familiar?) she created “Play: Planning Life for Active Young’ns”.
The methodology has a subtitle that says “implementing education, logic, & love that motivates children to have self-discipline”. I would describe “Play” as “make your children understand real life and that they are part of it”.
In “Play”, Angela Reuss shows us a way to make our children want to behave, to do their chores and to get along with their siblings. Sounds pretty incredible.
The secret, according to Angela, is to give them “Mom-dollars” every time they do something right, and in turn, fine them when they do something wrong.
What are “Mom-dollars” for, you ask? Well, they can buy you nice things (just like actual money in real life). You can use them to get more video game hours, computer time or even a sleep-over with a friend! They can even buy you real dollars too! But if you get into a fight, you fail to do your homework or don’t pick up your toys, you will have to pay Mom some of your precious “maternal-cash”.
Angela explains in her book how you can customize the “Play” method to suit your own family values, your child’s age or even your budget. She also addresses the ancient question of “should we give children prizes for doing the chores that they are supposed to do, anyway?”
Does “Play” work? I don’t know yet. But I will give it a try! (Yes, I am at that point in my life).
You can learn more about “Play” and about Angela Reuss in the following links: