To be thorough requires that we know, and be clear, on what our task is. To be thorough means we need to plan our work, to pay attention to details, to make a list so we don’t forget, to finish what I start and to clean up along the way. (www.characterfirst.com )
Yesterday morning I wanted to do a review of Thoroughness. In my initial planning of our lessons I set the objective that in studying Thoroughness our family would be doing their chores to a better standard. So I took the task of cleaning the family room, which is the children’s responsibility, and we broke it down to the five steps.
I will plan my work
I will pay attention to details
I will make a list so I don’t forget
I will finish what I start
I will clean up along the way
First up we had to identify the task: cleaning the family room (and make the connection that this is their task daily!)
I will plan my work… we brainstormed that having a set time to do the chore is good, and having a system of working around the chore. (eg. Work around the kitchen from left to right, soaking the bathtub while doing the hand basins etc)
In the family room I had already identified the parts that needed to be worked on. There is a chart on the wall recognising the 4 hotspots (messy spots) that need to be done every day: The floor, the bookcase, the desks, and the play area. This jumped us to I will make a list so I don’t forget. Check! We have that.
I will pay attention to details. We discussed that their eyes need to see the little things that make up the big mess. I challenged them with 30 seconds to deal with the details on the floor. It was amazing as they flew here and there, they all saw stuff – Daniel even raced to get the broom. I called them back to their desks to look at the room after such a short burst of time – collectively that was 2 minutes of effort and the room already looked different. I actually spent 1 minute sweeping the floor (which surprised me with how little time it took!) so including that it was 3 minutes of effort and it made such a difference. As far as the lesson goes I was really flying by the seat of my pants but this little experiment had such an impact I decided to continue.
I gave them 1 minute each to clean a section of the bookcase. This was great because they tended to go to the same section as the last person, so it was a good time to point out to them to “see” the details, and not to work just blindly. 4 minutes and the bookcase was in perfect order! (Actually it took less as Daniel really had very little to do but he sure gave it a try and looked busy!!)
The desks are our next hotspot – 1 minute – GO! Most of them certainly needed more than one minute to attack this hotspot but it was a good lesson in that any little amount of time spent on a task is going to make an improvement. If you walk into a room and there is just one thing you can do then it will help in a little way towards improvement. At this point I had a phone call from Peter and when I got back I found the kids working on their desk mess again. Apparently it was Daniel’s suggestion – wow! The motivation and vision was catching on. This was the I will finish what I start.
Next Hotspot was the play area. We really only have 2 play areas so because I wanted each child to have a different focus I sent some kids to different areas of the house for 1 minute. Yet again they could see that it didn’t take that long to make a difference.
We sat down at our desks and could physically feel that we were in a tidy room. The kids liked it and I sure did!
The best thing of all though was later in the day at 5.00pm – Chore time – I gave a gentle reminder to be thorough and the kids worked with frenzy and purpose. This morning (next day) I walked out of my bedroom into the family room to see the very tidy desk – four stations all tidy, organised and in order! Yay!!!
For me as mum, trainer, this gave me some important insights. Break it down for them, encourage them along the way, and lighten their load. Lightening their load for my kids wasn’t removing jobs from them – the room is their responsibility – but it was showing them that it wasn’t such a big task after all.
The second lesson I have learnt in our study of Thoroughness has been to set some objectives – clear and practical ways that I want to see this study affect our lives. We don’t want to study character for study’s sake; we want to rise in our own lives to practicing character, to being excellent in all that we do.