Today, as I was doing the weekly chore of emptying the litter box, I heard my older daughter misbehaving and yelling and screaming at her little sister. Usually I would punish her, or yell back (which is totally acceptable and non-hypocritical response to "Don't yell at your sister!" right?). This time I was able to calmly go inside and invite Abby outside (which took forever as she had to find a coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc.)
Then Abby learned how to sift the litter box. She learned how to dig for poop, shake out the dirt, and the dump the poop into the bucket. She worked it for a few minutes while we talked, and then eventually I took over and finished for her. She even said "This is fun!". Not exactly my first thoughts while doing it. Not exactly what I had hoped for with a "punishment". I thought the best thing that she could do while being selfish was to do something for someone else -- but she shouldn't have fun doing it!
The conversation we had however was beautiful. Here's my attempt at remembering:
Daddy: "You know what I do whenever I do this Abby?"
Abby: "No, what daddy?"
D: I usually take this time to confess.
A: What's confess?
D: Confess is when you pray to God and tell him things that you did that were wrong. Things that you're sorry for."
A: Like yelling at my sister?
A: Dear God, I'm sorry for yelling at my sister, do you forgive me?
D: That's perfect bud! Now, usually you aren't going to hear God say "I forgive you" but he always does.
D: Do you have anything else you want to confess?
A: Not today. I didn't do anything else bad today.
A: It's stinky.
D: That's why we do this every week. If we don't do this every week, it gets really stinky.
A: Yeah. Ninja pees a lot.
D: Yep, and Sammy too. It happens. That doesn't make them bad kittys (except when they don't do it in the litter box, right?!)
A: Yea. They should say they're sorry!
D: Well, we do bad things every day too. We should try to confess right away. You should probably do it every day, or else we have stinky days.
Not sure if any of this is going to stick -- we'll see. But hopefully this little lesson sticks a little. And if nothing else, I might be able to pass one more chore off on the girls.