Thursday, June 14, 2012

Elementary Activities: The Large Plates of Rowley

By Deborah Pace Rowley

I love the post my sister wrote about her secret notebooks. If you haven’t read it, you can do so here
When my children were little we didn’t have a secret notebook to share love notes with each other, we had the Large Plates of Rowley. This was a three-ring binder filled with paper. For those not of my faith, The Large Plates of Nephi were an ancient book of scripture. They were metal plates that contained an account of the wars and contentions in Ancient America engraved by prophets and historians. An abridged account of these wars, as well as spiritual experiences and the appearance of Jesus Christ, is found in the Book of Mormon. As we read these scriptures with our children, we decided that we needed to keep a record of our wars and contentions too in the hopes that this record would help us learn how to peacefully resolve conflict in the future.

When two of my children would get into a fight, part of the consequence was getting out the Large Plates of Rowley and recording what happened, what went wrong and how they could make a better choice in the future. Most of the time we would then sit down and discuss together what they had written in the notebook. Sometimes after they had completed their writing, Dad would make his daughters kiss each other on the lips to make up. (This was a highly effective punishment!) We would also note how many times each child had written on a certain week and watch for improvement.

I love to read this notebook now that those three fighting girls are grown up and surprisingly good friends. Here are some of my favorite entries:

“I took the bear from Melissa. I should of sead pleas can I have that.”

“I said ‘I don’t like you’. I could have said something nicer.”

“I was walking back to the bathroom and I bumped into Natalie. I said “Sorry.” Then Mom told me to write. I could have done better by saying sorry louder so Mom could’ve heard.”

“I was standing up from scriptures and (since I haven’t clipped my toenails for awhile) my toenail scrapped Natalie. I could do better by not sitting right outside or inside other people’s bubbles.” 

Seriously?!! Toe nail scraping? You may want to try some Large Plates of your own. Whether or not it decreases contention among your kids, it is guaranteed to give you a few laughs!
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