What's Wrong With Rewards?

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Fri, 7/15/11
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What's Wrong With Rewards?

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Aaron Blumer's picture
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Mon, 6/1/09
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interesting but...

I've never seen anyone actually prove that kids think this way or that rewards actually have this effect. What I've observed and experienced personally is quite different.

Susan R's picture
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Wed, 5/6/09
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Experiences

The problem with experiences is that they are all different. I'd say that my experiences are to-the-letter as described in the article. For starters, I won every award in every church dog-and-pony show, and yet I wasn't saved until age 26. Exactly what does that mean when a lost teenager memorizes the most verses, 'wins the most souls', and gets the Christian Character Award? Then the next year the girl who wins the Christian Character recently had an abortion? And let's face it- boys almost never win this stuff if there are girls in the class. 

What I'd like to focus on are the principles behind giving awards, and whether or not the practice lines up with Scripture and bears spiritual fruit.

Note- I am not against rewarding children for their accomplishments, but it's often how we go about doing it that is problematic. And since we've been discussing performance-based sanctification, I think the seeds we sow in our children should bear some further scrutiny.

Anne Sokol's picture
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Tue, 6/2/09
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you know,

God is so gracious to let His Spirit work in our hearts despite our methods, it is really hard to say whether they are effective or not and what children will learn.  God can make something useful to His purposes when He wants.

Ross Campbell does warn against using behaviorism too extensively, but in some measure, it's fine and even natural.

I think, from my perspective as an adult, more the fault I see at this point is that we have no way to qualify or reward non-tangible, relational aspects of life, the mostly non-measureable aspects of building relationships. For example, in my relationship with my kids, I don't really get any set "reward" for being a right person with them as their mom. It makes it hard or even confusing to be a mom b/c no one in society really qualifies/places external value-markers on the relational qualities that really ought to go into these relationships.

 Does this make any sense?

Anyway, i don't have a big problem with some measure of these programs and rewards and stuff. God can and often graciously uses it to reach our kids.

Jim's picture
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Why didn't Paul think of this?

http://www3.awana.org/about/default.aspx?id=3169

 

The Awana program at Shelter Cove Community Church places what they call a “quarter jar” by the registration table each week. It’s a large two-gallon jar with a small ceramic cup glued to the bottom of the jar. The jar is filled with water. Each week, kids try to get their quarters into the cup at the bottom of the jar. “On a regular basis, we use the monies collected in the quarter jar to support one of our local Awana missionaries,” said Grayce Chapman, who oversees the Awana ministry with her husband, Marvin. “After the disaster in Haiti, we decided to take the offerings for four weeks and donate them to disaster relief in Haiti. We collected $150. “If the clubbers get their quarters in the cup, they get five Awana bucks. If they don’t get it into the cup, they get a piece of candy as a consolation prize for bringing the offering. We consistently collect $25 to $30 per week and average about 160 kids each week.”

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I believe we have to be balanced.

As a teacher of children for many years, I believe we have to be balanced in our approached.  I hated the days when I taught school and was required to give every student an award at the end of the year no matter what their performance.  We need to return to the days of rewards for true success.  I believe some tangible reward is valid in some situations.  Currently I teach 3 year olds and I don't use any rewards.  If we have stickers, its because everyone gets some for a special project.  It is more about showing them love and teaching in order to give them a strong foundation.  When teaching older children I've used a variety of methods.  One of the things I like about the Regular Baptist Press is their attendance charts.  If a child is there late or on time, he gets a sticker.  If a child says his verse, he gets a sticker.   That's all and nothing more.  I have let children into the treasure box for being present a majority of time or saying their verses (which I helped them learn.)

We must remember that unfortunately in today's world we are competing with the entertainment industry in trying to reach children.  This is especially true when we have a ministry to children whose parents are not in church.  We have to be innovative in how we reach them.

Michelle Shuman

Jim's picture
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The analogy of parenting

Few parents (there has to be some that do!) give their kids stickers and toys everyday:

We don't see this:

  • Make your bed ... get a sticker
  • Eat your greens ... get a pin
  • Do your homework ... get a toy

 

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Thu, 5/5/11
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Awana Quarters

Jim Wrote:

The Awana program at Shelter Cove Community Church places what they call a “quarter jar” by the registration table each week. It’s a large two-gallon jar with a small ceramic cup glued to the bottom of the jar. The jar is filled with water. Each week, kids try to get their quarters into the cup at the bottom of the jar. “On a regular basis, we use the monies collected in the quarter jar to support one of our local Awana missionaries,” said Grayce Chapman, who oversees the Awana ministry with her husband, Marvin. “After the disaster in Haiti, we decided to take the offerings for four weeks and donate them to disaster relief in Haiti. We collected $150. “If the clubbers get their quarters in the cup, they get five Awana bucks. If they don’t get it into the cup, they get a piece of candy as a consolation prize for bringing the offering. We consistently collect $25 to $30 per week and average about 160 kids each week.”

Is there much difference between this and playing the lottery other than where the money goes?