You cannot walk into a family home without seeing a chart. It may have ticks, stickers, or words to encourage small children to do this or that. Charts can cover toilet training, food consumption or chores. It is a visual progress record of the learning process. The most important thing about a chart is the reward.

I have an inner chart. I think if I can get through this day, I will reward myself with my bottom on couch, remote in hand and probably Gilmore Girls or ER on DVD. If I eat healthy food all day, perhaps in the evening it will be PUDDING TIME. Or how about if I do all my jobs (those dirty, messy, unpleasant jobs that make my nose curl) then I can hang out with my homies without regret.

Think of your job or uni degree. There are expectations and deadlines to meet. What keeps us going? Why do we continue to do the necessary and often unpleasant things everyday? Two words: inner chart. There has to be a reward at the end of it all. It has to pay off somehow. Whether it be impressing someone (not always the best motivator) or the old ‘means to an end’ philosophy or perhaps a tangible reward like a holiday, chocolate or a bottle of wine.

The inner chart begins at birth. We are rewarded for good behaviour, for achievements and a job well done. As we grow we get pocket money and outings; a trip to the movies?. As adults we get great jobs, relationships, money, status, influence – they all become our Freddo Frogs! It’s putting in the hard yards, doing the dirty, muddy, unpleasant things that get us those frogs.

I think of what my current chart is… work? friends? purpose? happy kids. At the end of the day, if my bones are warm, my kids are happy, healthy and whole and all is as well as it can be with the world, well, that’s the best frog a girl can have!

Happy Home

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