Thursday, January 21, 2010

Give the Gift of Mount Vesuvius

I love the concept of package words.

Do you know what I mean?
The dictionary defines package as:
A container in which something is packed for storage or transportion.
A preassembled unit.

The idea is that you can speak one or two words to your child(package), but the meaning is vast, multi-layered and is a gift you've given them. (a pre-assembled unit)

Creating package words can be fairly simple if you have some imagination, some time and a burning desire to get your message across.

Our current code word around here is VOLCANO.

It's based on the scripture in Proverbs 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.'
Sometimes, and I know you'll drop your jaw in shock when I say this, but sometimes we give full vent to our anger in our house.
This crazy woman at our house sometimes loses her cool and yells (but never when the windows are open and the neighbours are in their yard) and then these crazy kids who live in this house also yell when they get mad. A vicious cycle they are in. So my family and I thought we'd sit down and teach them a little lesson about being foolish.

It went like this:

1. Make a volcano. Mix the dough together, smoosh it around the pop bottle and tada, you have a replica of Mount St. Helens. (real directions here)
2. Talk about (Intentionality and Reciprocity)how what you like about your volcano. It's strong, it's beautiful, it's the best thing ever. It looks very serene on the outside, but sometimes inside their are deep rumblings occuring and pressure is building.
Now discuss how we are like a volcano. We're strong, we're beautiful, we're the best thing ever! Sometimes we can look serene but sometimes inside pressure is building.
3. Now BRIDGE to a situation in the family that's been recent and recall how things escalated. ie. Remember how Mom saw that you hadn't done what she asked and she started to get frustrated. (pour in the baking soda), and then when you didn't respond right away, what happened?
"Mom exploded!" ( Add vinegar. This works really effectively if you have food colouring in your volcano)
4. Trace the patterns that the spewing lava made, watch the lahars and how they flowed in several directions rather than in one.
"When Mom got angry and started to yell, it was like she was spewing lava out of her mouth wasn't it?" (Infuse Meaning)
"Yeah" ( A few giggles and perhaps gross re-enactment may follow. Pull 'em back on task)
"What does lava do to your skin?"
"Burns it. Hurts you badly."
"Do you think words can be like lava?"
"Yeah. I don't want to be a fool any more, giving full vent to my anger and causing my words to hurt you badly. So, what we are going to do is whenever we see someone in the house starting to rumble like a volcano, we are going to remind them of our code word."
"What's our code word?"

Within half an hour to an hour, you have just imparted a package to your children that has a weight of meaning to it. It's a word that can stop them in their tracks and cause them to rethink what they are doing because they immediately see the picture in their mind of the volcano spilling over.
It is an effective tool that works way better than, "You better stop that right now."
Or so I'm told. I've never had to say that in my house.
Only the crazy woman who lives there has done that ;)

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