Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Simple Encouragement

Asher started using the potty today. I'm sorry! I just can't, not write about it. Gimme some credit- I didn't post it on Facebook at least...

However, the milestones of saying goodbye to the paci and hello to the toilet (both within the past 4 days!) have lead me to think of more than just how my toddler is turning into a little boy (tear). It's made me think of rewards. Ever since we started trying to pique Asher's interest in the potty, we've told him that he would get a balloon when he uses it. I've struggled with the idea of using candy or sweets because I don't want to reward my guy with something that's not good for him. I know I'm lame, okay? But there will be plenty of other opportunities for sweets and I just personally had a hard time using that as a motivator, as effective as it might have been. We did end up taking Asher to get a balloon Saturday morning after the first night without his pacifier, but to be honest, we were the ones who kept asking him about it. Ben and I looked at each other and wondered if we should just bypass the balloon altogether, but alas, we wanted to be true to our word.

When Asher used the potty for the first time last night I began thinking of how I'd make a sticker chart so he can earn some rewards for using the potty. I worked in the morning and Ben's mom was here to carry on with the "potty training" and I never did get around to making that sticker chart. Didn't even mention anything about a balloon. And neither did Asher. As he spent the day in his sweet little tighty-whities he beamed with pride. "I used the potty. I'm a BIIIIIG BOY. Mama and Papa are PROUD of me." And that is his true reward. Pride in a job well done. A sense of love and accomplishment. The boy (and his parents) couldn't be happier. Forget the balloons and toys and stickers that fade away. He will carry these other things in his soul. Hopefully for years to come.

I know each child is different. I know each parent has a different approach. One way is not better than the other, please don't mistake me. I've just been pondering this idea of intrinsic value. Intrinsic rewards. It's rocking my view of parenting and education. What if kids did things around the house simply because they were motivated by the sense of pride in a job well done? How would our school children preform if they were not spurred on by grades and test scores but out of a true love for learning and a good work ethic? I know I would have looked at school A LOT differently. I'm not surprised when I hear adults say that they've finally found a love for learning. The same is true for me. Learning and being satisfied in the journey of it is often times good enough.

1 comment:

Laura said...

You have SO hit the nail on the head. Kids, well all of us, really desire the intrinsic rewards of learning and mastery. Sure, there's a place for sticker charts and balloons (what a great replacement for goodies!) but achievements done for deeper reasons helps build the kind of emotional intelligence that benefits kids for life.