Making a List and Checking it Twice…
How does that familiar song go? “He’s making a list and checking it twice; Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice… He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”
Keeping a list of when children have been obedient and disobedient can be helpful – for us and for them.
Jake was a student at Green Bay Christian School when I served on their school board. His behavior mystified his teacher. Usually he was obedient, pleasant, and an engaged learner. Sometimes he wasn’t.
Jake’s teacher began to keep a written record of his behavior, especially noting when he had a meltdown and when he was easily agitated and distracted. At our request, his parents also began writing down his sleep patterns, food choices, and broad behavioral patterns.
Within a week, we noticed a possible connection. We confirmed it within days. Jake only struggled on days he ate a particular breakfast cereal. That was it. So simple, but we never would have figured it out without looking for specifics and writing down what we noticed.
Jake couldn’t deny the written proof so he didn’t mind giving up that cereal. He was relieved to no longer have any “bad” days. The specific feedback worked.
While remembering Jake and reflecting on how written evidence can make our feedback even more effective, I remembered another little boy. This one told his mom he liked God better than Santa. She was pleased, but a bit surprised so she asked, “Why?”
The boy confidently declared, “Because God doesn’t write down the times when I’m bad. And if he did, he for sure wouldn’t look at his list twice. His mercies are new every morning!”
Beautiful! Let’s be wise and decide when God’s approach is the better one to use.