With the concept of an earned experience (not a toy or a thing) as the reward, the kids keep track of how many points they’ve each earned. Once they earn ten, they get to choose a special experience (a dino dig, afternoon tea, a family picnic, a day of fishing). The key factor: they’re not allowed to ask for a point. If they ask, they don’t get it. Also, particularly uncharacteristic behavior (like peeing on a wall) will snatch that point right back with a loss. It’s remarkable how they can recall exactly how many points they have at any given moment. Ask them how much 5 + 8 is, and I’m affronted with blank stares. But how many points they have? That, they always know. Lucas is at 9 points. Abigail earned a point this morning when she, completely unprompted, swept up the whole house AND whipped out the dustpan, filled the dustpan and successfully emptied it in the trash. Then, she decided to surprise me by quickly dressing, socks and sneakers, hair AND teeth brushed, without my ever having to ask. Love that girl.
I’m wondering if this reward system would work in marriage. I guess marriage itself is supposed to be the reward. Perhaps my reward should be a tour through a crock pot factory or a crack house. Because “marriage as its own sweet reward,” is not quite right. More like, “Oh, wow, that’s a crock and crack all rolled into one.” Side of bitter greens, please.
Truth: I don’t even know what I’d want as an experiential reward for good behavior. You know, aside from: peace. And…
A couples cooking class.
A food photography workshop.
Back to watercolor class.
A trip to Lego Land with the kids.
I’ve got it. What I want—aside from a vacation in Burma with a professional photography guide—is a family vacation in the Florida Keys. At Club Med. Oh, this has got to happen. And one of those days WILL involve deep sea fishing (without the kids) and a sushi dinner. I can’t wait. I love fishing! I also love my parents, love that they, my mother really, made it a point of including fishing in our lives early on. I am such a lucky girl. I really am so blessed. Plus, I’m having all the toppings I want today, ’cause I rage like that. Period.
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