Rewarding kids can backfire and send the wrong message. What have we done?

IMG_1314.JPGMy 8 yr. old daughter came home from school one day, very excited. “Mom! Mom! I need to bring canned food to school! ”  I asked her what the canned food was for. She told me that it was going to people who did not have food and were poor. Her enthusiasm was exciting and gave me a sense of pride in that my child cared so much for these unseen people in need.

A few weeks later my daughter approached me again with the same request except this time she wanted Two cans of food instead on just one. Again, I was pleased to see this newfound compassion for others. It was a true blessing.

Fast forward to the end of the school year. ” Mom! I am going to give $20.00 of my Own money to the children we are sponsoring in Africa.” This was a school ministry the class took on. The children were raising money and donating every so often for two children in Africa. I was shocked that she wanted to not only give $20.00, but   use her own money. Wow… I thought, her school is setting forth so many wonderful values and really teaching the kids what it is to give to others who are need. Again, I felt a sense of pride as well as completely blessed that my child was so giving, Until.. she told me this. “Mom, for every can I give, my teacher gives me a Coin. For every dollar I give to the children in Africa, my teacher gives me a coin. Mom! I get 20 coins for $20.00! You know what that means? That means I can get a nice prize at the end of the year with all these coins from the prize box!”

My heart sunk. I felt sick to my stomach. A very personal spiritual dream I had had many years ago flooded into my head. In the dream I had asked, ” How much should I ask for?” Now, I can’t remember why I asked that question but I assume it was a job related thing. The answer was, “You do not ask for anything, you do it because it is the right thing to do.”  This was the message I received.

You do it because it is the right thing to do. What’s the reward? It’s the right thing to do. How much should I get back? Nothing except knowing that you may have just saved a life with that money or food.

What are we teaching our kids? What are schools and or teachers with these reward systems teaching our children? If we give, we get.. we get recognized, we get an award, we get  a pizza party we get stuff.

My daughter recently attended a vacation Bible school. Every day the kids donated items to the food bank. One day it was PB&J, the next day it was pasta and sauce. There was so much food donated! It was a complete blessing. The Bible school was divided up into class grades and each was designated a color for their grade/team. At the end of the day, the donated items were collected and counted and based on what grade/team donated the most, the organizers proclaimed that team the winner. There was also a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on.

Again, my daughter wanted to win. The difference between this so called contest and her school was that there was No prize or coin given out. The kids were equally as estatic about winning with No prize in sight.

I decided to have a chat with my daughter. As we were in the store purchasing 4 boxes of pasta and 4 jars of sauce, which were not cheap by the way. I paused. I said; ” See this One box of pasta and this One jar of sauce? This will feed an entire family and most likely there will be left overs. This will feed an entire family that cannot afford food. With all of the pasta and sauce we just bought, you are feeding Four families!” My daughter was silent as she processed the information. She then asked, ” You mean like a family like our friends the Melina’s or like our friends the… ”

Yes, I responded, except those friends do not need help but other people do. Your food could very well save someone’s life. You are feeding a family and very well saving a life. Winning is fun but saving a life and blessing a family is much more important.”

This store conversation was special. I will never forget it.

After Bible school, my daughter skipped up to me and proclaimed they had won third place. She then said, ” Its ok mom, I fed Four families!”

Yes you did! This gave me that sense of pride in her but more importantly knowing that she was beginning to understand the impact she could make on a persons life. That getting for giving wasn’t what really mattered. That God saw her good works and would bless her accordingly. These are the real rewards.

My solution to the school reward system in this ” giving situation” would be a reward, yes. The reward for the most cans or money would be praise. It may be that the class who won, gets a personal speech of praise from the principal and maybe even a video or slideshow with how they impacted the community or people they helped. A special prayer or praise so that those kids come away with a better understanding and feeling that they made a difference. The rest of the school should also be commended as those individual kids did the same thing. Even though a particular class did not win, it doesn’t mean they were not instrumental in the cause. They should receive praise as well and even the slideshow, but maybe the “winners” get to see it first.  This is my solution. There should be no motivation to win something when you are giving to a charity. It’s just wrong in my eyes.

I failed my son with sticker charts and reward systems for behavior. He would always ask what he would get for it or I would hear comments like “I worked so hard, I feel I deserve..”

You worked so hard, now you reap the benefits of your hard work. We need to change the mindset. I’m trying to do this now but we need to get the rest of society on board. It starts with the young.

In regard to giving back to the less fortunate, I feel this reward system has failed our children. Their sights are set on what they get in the end, not what these struggling individuals receive.

We have a goal as the adult organizer. The way we meet these goals are to motivate these children by rewards. We are meeting our goals, but at the expense of our children. Food for thought.

” What shall I get back?”

Nothing but blessings. You do it  because it’s the right thing to do.”

Why? Because God and the mama said so.

Children’s names being written on “The Board” as a form of discipline and Public humiliation

Writing a child’s name on “The Board” as a form of punishment/discipline is a form of public humiliation and shame. It teaches he child that even after the issue had been resolved, all is still not forgiven. It’s an invisible “stain” that stays with them until the end of the day. The entire day is then emotionally based on that One stain. It’s doesn’t matter if the rest of the day was glorious. All has been ruined because of that stain. This form of public discipline is also a confidentiality breech, as every parent who enters at the close of the school day can see who was the the “trouble maker ” of the day.
Turning cards and clipping down is just another way of this public shame, however when the child’s school number is added in place of their actual name, it’s a less shaming method, nonetheless it’s still holds the same feel, however it is at least confidential.
Solution? Problem solve, roll play, forgive, and use natural consequences to discipline. If a child colors all over the tables, make them clean it up. If they say something unkind to another student, have them make a card of apology or ask them repeat in a nice way what they were trying to convey. If a name must be added to a list as a reminder that a parent needs to be spoken to, it can be done in a less public area, such as on a piece of paper on the teachers desk. The child is still required to write their name down, it’s just not public. As a matter of fact I think this name on the board thing is rather cruel. Could you imagine if we as adults were required to publicly display our shortcomings, sins, indiscretions on our chests as we strolled down the street? This is when I’m thankful for our Heavenly Father who died for those sins. This act of discipline is another way to be nosy as well. Who is this for? The child? The parents? The other children to see so they do not repeat what the first one did? Let’s move out of the Old School ways and stick to what is Biblical. Forgive, wipe those sins clean and wipe my kids name off of your righteous board.

Why? Because the mama said so.

The Confessional It’s a Pokemon thing….

In the confessional:

A middle aged man prepares to confess his sins to a Priest at a local church. “Forgive me father for I have sinned. I have lied and deceived over 200 times this week.”

The Priest, feeling a bit nervous as to what the stranger behind the curtain may confess says; “please proceed.”

Man: “Father, I have lied, and lied, and cannot stop! I can’t control myself!”

Priest; ” Go on..”

“When I am driving my car and log onto Pokemon Go, this message pops up. It asks me if I’m a passenger. I click YES! But I’m Not a passenger, I’m the driver! And most of the time the Pokemon I catch are not even worth it, I mean how many Ekans or Ratatta do I really need?” If it was a pikachu or some other rare Pokemon like a Blastoise, I could justify it, but it’s just these low CP Pokemon! Father! I need help! I’ve never felt so dishonest…

Priest: Ok, recite 5 Our Fathers and 4 Hail Mary’s.” The priest then pauses…”Don’t forget to click on the poke stop here. The church provides 3 poke balls and two great balls..sorry No Revives, that was used up 2,000 years ago. You can also get a Razz Berry and It would certainly be a SIN to miss out on that, you know.. The Fruit of the Spirit and all..
“Oh… ( the priest whisperes) I’ll reduce you penance to 1 Hail Mary if you tell me where you found that Blastoise?”

Mother’s Day expectations, keep them low

Mother’s Day expectations.

Another Mother’s Day has come to pass. The morning starts out typical with your husband,( if you have one) getting the kids to help make breakfast. You are made to stay in bed, when all you really want to do is take a shower and get dressed. Then comes the breakfast. Smiling faces, sweet and delightful. Each one claiming they made the eggs or poured the juice. You smile at the overcooked eggs and half burnt toast while the minions eagerly wait for you to take your first bite. Your youngest child eyes the perfect strawberry on your plate. You can’t help but to give it to her, now leaving you with everything that’s hardly edible. Gosh, you wanted that strawberry! Home made cards and gift is always nice. I am always truly grateful for Any effort my husband puts into this day and the fact that he is instilling that honoring their mother is important. I champion him for doing this, especially when he gets flack from the kids. This is not an easy day for dads, believe me!
It’s a sweet moment. Yes, I said moment. If you do not have plans to occupy the kids for the rest of the day, you are in for chaos. I recommend you either take off and leave the kids with dad, or fill the day with something! Once the fighting, screaming and finger pointing start, I officially say that Mother’s Day has ended. It’s no longer about the mom being spoiled, it’s about the mom being stressed because she had to break up fights and control her kids. Hello! I need a day off! It’s Mother’s Day! Dad comes out and scolds the children reminding them that it’s My day… Yadda yadda… And the kids just sulk. My poor husband who tries to make this day special is in agony. the kids are made to clean up their messes and make their beds. They whine. This has got to be the worst day of a kids life! Doing tons of chores and becoming my slave for the day, it’s no wonder they proclaim anarchy and become miserable beings. I think Mother’s Day is overrated. It would be much better if we did something the kids liked, that way, they would be happy, pleasant children and not be such miserable brats. I’m canceling this day and re-scheduling. Yup.. On a day without my kids. I’m a mother after all and I do love them, but this day is filled with unrealistic expectations. Good grief, my kids still need me to care for them and when you are a mother, there is No day off. So it’s time to suck it up buttercup! I can enjoy this day when my kids are grown and we can all go out to brunch like civil beings where kicking each other under the table is a thing of the past. As I write this, I’m on the other side of my home, in a closet far, far away from anything under the age of 12. So, I’ll
Take my overcooked eggs, half burnt toast and no strawberry and hide. I will read my beautiful cards and open my gift and enjoy the day as a regular day, because those expectations of a perfect Mother’s Day are just that… Unrealistic. Peace out and enjoy your day realistically and be blessed.
Why? Because the Mama Said So

Kids,Cul-de-Sacs, Jello Shots and Drunko Bunko

What’s happening with our young moms today? I see a high rise in alcoholism in the future. How is this behavior setting a good example for young children and Tweens?

Driving down beautiful planned community’s where we all feel safe. Perfectly manicured front yards, expensive cars, kids everywhere. Extravagant birthday and block parties with jump houses, professional entertainers. It’s all there, kids have it all.

Moms feel the pressure to one up their neighbors with these events,but hasn’t it been this way for decades? Sure, but now let’s bring alcohol out onto our cul-de -sac and take this to a whole new level. Moms gathered around with their wine glasses and cheese snacks. No juice boxes onsite.
I’m not against a drink once in a while. I enjoy Good wine. I actual consider myself a wine snob. Give me mediocre wine and I will politely pour it out Into the planter of your fake Ficus tree. If it’s doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t go down!
When stressed moms want to unwind, the glasses come out and often, especially in suburbia.

I took my kids out trick or treating in the “Exclusive neighborhood” We were having such a great time until we stopped at a home where one of the male figures of the house was offering Jell-O shots to the grown up trick or treaters. Yup! Dads are also on board. Those pretty little jello containers look appetizing the kids walking by, so what’s the deal? The dad was good on making it clear that the pretty little treats were for adults only. Good for that at least. A couple of houses later, more Jell-O shots. Solo cups were everywhere. Seriously, who drinks water while trick or treating… Oh wait, that’s no water!

A mom holding her “drink”with her toddler, barreling by in a red wagon just about took out my mom! My mom and her sarcasm announced her free public message to “Not Drink and Drive.”The mom was not very appreciative of the comment and gave us a look that might kill. I thought it was hilarious, not sure why she didn’t.
I was invited to join some moms for a game of Bunko. I asked what it was and the gal started explaining the rules to me. When she saw me looking confused she said bluntly, “Oh,we just get drunk anyway so it really doesn’t matter!  Thus coining the game Drunko Bunko. I said thank you and found something else to do that night.

I’m Sure the wine was mostly likely some cheap brand, so why? Being a wine snob can save a life and prevent alcoholism! It really can!
It’s a shame moms feel they have to unwind this way. The stress to be super mom and impress the neighbors. Come on mamas get more creative!
Get your card table with your cheap bottles of wine and cheese out of the middle of the cul- de-sac! I need to make a u turn so I can pick my kid up from baseball. And lady, if your going to host a mama drinking party on your street, at least get a good bottle of Caymus because that Cold Duck will
Just give you a bad headache.

Now all you mamas go out and have your self a real good time at the Tea House! that’s where it all is!

And just to be fair, my husband did sneak one of those pretty little adult Jell-O shots that night.. Yup…but not to worry, I set him strait. Husbands Are trainable! I promise!

Because The Mama Said So