This week I was faced with a sticker dilemma. I noticed my child was overly focused on how many stickers he had (or didn't have) from the teacher. I asked him what the sticker did for him. He said, "I get them for reading books." I noticed the response was not really answering my question. What did it do for him?
Knowing how energy flows, I thought about this with a different perspective. Energy is rooted in what you are thinking and how you are feeling and everything flows from there. Is the "I do and I get" philosophy I see permeating our schools a good lesson?
Why was he being rewarded for something he should be doing, anyway? He's supposed to be in school, learning and reading and excelling. Period.
The sticker reward is temporary. The value of uplifting a student from within has a far greater impact in my opinion. I explained to my son that the reward sticker was nice to receive, but at the end of the day the sticker was likely going to be tossed out or lost, what then? (No response).
I gently reminded him that he began the school year struggling to learn 5 sight words at a time to now reading and understanding chapter books.
I asked him if the sticker reminded him of what he accomplished. "No."
I asked him if he thought about this accomplishment at all? "No."
Does it make you feel good knowing that you accomplished this? "Yes!"
Does it feel good to know this about yourself? "Yes!"
Does it feel good to know that you are doing a great job at what you are supposed to be doing? "Yes!"
Later my son came back to me and said, "Your right, the sticker only makes me feel good for about a minute." I responded with, "Every time you think about this conversation how will you feel about yourself?" He smiled and said, "Really good."
Now, I realize that sticker rewards are good to show achievement, maybe create a little competition within the classroom--all well and good. But, is the "what will I get if I do this" mentality evoking the greatness from within?
Where ever you are in life be the greatest you can be. That great feeling from knowing you did the very best will be the key that guides you and will open doors to even greater things.
Just a thought...