Posted by: Daisy | July 5, 2010

Structural details from a Structural Runaway

This past weekend, I tackled a plan for the not so little one. This reward plan had a bunch of the usual behaviours I’d like to see him do regularly, but put down on paper, and with points associated with the successful achievement of each one. Some behaviours have consequences as well including negative points too. There’s a weekend version, and a weekday version, plus another tab that lays out the rules. When I finally finished it Sunday afternoon, I was pleased I finally had something to work with. It doesn’t look very nice – in fact, it looks like one of my work excel files. I didn’t have a chance to pretty it up with pictures or graphics, however, I found out by chance that this is no longer needed for my 7 year old. Like fish to water, he ate up the plan in no time flat.

Day 1, he gained some points, and lost some ending on a not so great note. Day 2 (today), he gained and gained resulting in double digit points that just makes a mom like me oh-so-proud. Not only is he happy, I’m thrilled – what more could you want from a plan?

After seeing these fabulous early results, you gotta wonder what stopped me from doing the plan sooner? Well, there’s plenty of reasons, however, one reason in particular is that I do not enjoy organizing and documenting plans at this scale. My interpretation is its over-managing the details of the day, including the times and specific activities. It’s not quite on the same scale as my calendar. The items in this plan include things like going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, and putting dishes in the dishwasher. In essence, it’s about putting a lot of structure into the day.

So, what’s so terrible about structure? Absolutely nothing. Except that I’ve spent the last few decades trying to let go of structure as much as possible. I’m one of those people who grew up in a very structured family and absolutely hated it. It’s not to say I didn’t accept it, I just didn’t like it. After leaving home, wherever I could, I began to tear down the structure in the areas where I found that they were un-necessary. There are times and places where it is required, but if I could, I’d try to say goodbye to it. Fast forward time, and I found myself happily living with much less structure and realizing I thrive in the space where flexibility and adaptability were king.

So, you want me to create an overly structured daily plan? No wonder I struggled. It’s like asking someone who quit (insert bad addiction) and hated it the whole time to take it back up. Ahhhh, but I see the light. Just because I thrive in this personal world I’ve created, doesn’t mean he can. When he’s ready to create his own world, he can make his own structure but for now, I’ll bite the bullet and show him the tools.

– Daisy



  1. There is nothing wrong with a bit of structured, otherwise nothing would ever get done. You are also teaching your little one about reasonability with your plan, and if it works for him that’s all that matters.

    Good luck

    Thanks LOM. It’s worked sort of, and sort of not. Definately a learning experience all around. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I’ll just keep trying. – Daisy

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