Connor took this shot a while back of the books that we have on the dining room bureau. There's one for each person. In them we write nice things about that person, as a record they can keep.
I'd like to take credit for the idea, but it's one I saw when I was teaching at a primary school in Clarinda for the day, before I got the job I have now. They'd been having trouble with bullying, so they called in a team of youth workers, and this was one of the things they did with the kids.
We've been doing it since April '04. (This isn't something I know off by heart. I just had a look at the first entry in my book.) They don't get entries every day.... sometimes a couple of months might go by... but gradually gradually the pages are being filled. Connor is the one who especially loves them. He writes in mine a lot, and gets downcast if his book stays untouched for a while. He wrote in mine last night. All spelling mistakes are his:
"Mum. You are the best mother anyone could wish for, and even if they don't wish for you they will still want you as a mother anyway. But there are some things that are bad about you.
1. You could kill someone by making them laugh and run out of breath.
2. Does their need to be a number two?
3. Same as number 1.
4. I can't say anything bad about you. that's why your really bad I can't put you down.
By the way congradulations on your blog. You should open a bottle of shampagne when you beatScott's total viewership.
Sorry Scott. I laughed my head off when I read it, but now I'm a bit worried that the friendly competition Scott and I have between each other is starting to rub off on the next generation. And any 'shampagne' about bloggishness will be opened in Scott's company. Or maybe we should make that a nice bottle of red instead?
His last entry was much shorter.
"Mum how can I say enough to thank you with all the help and support you have given us. I thank you for that."
How great is that? I don't remember what prompted it. Maybe I cooked something he particularly likes for dinner or something. But there it is for me to read when I'm an old lady and he's left home and forgotten all about me.
The rules of the books are simple, if anyone out there wants to try it. Each person has their own book. Only positive things must be written in another person's book. Things about what that person has achieved, great things about their personality, acknowledgements about funny or nice things they might've done with/for someone else... the list goes on.
When I took the three younger boys away to Mt Buller for a holiday while Jack was at Central Australia with the school, we took the books up with us. The kids read them in the car going up, and they had so much fun. They were laughing at the spellings their younger selves used, remembering things that happened and generally having a real 'warm and fuzzy' family time.
Well worth the effort of the initial set up.