Good for goodness sake

 Santa I love the song “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town”.  The line in the song says,

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

I probably shouldn’t be commenting on a potential “hot topic” this early in my  blogging career – but if we’re gonna be real we have to start somewhere. 

Being good, for goodness sake, is something that has kind of gotten lost in the “me” world we experience.  Before I had children I always questioned the true intent behind a mother’s promise to buy her children a treat or toy IF they behaved in the store.  I never remember my mother offering up bribes or incentives to us.  We were simply expected to be good – because being good, controlling ourselves, was part of being a discipined member of society. 

She never explained it to us that way, but the example has made an impact on how I raise my children.  I feel that when we give our children “if…then” statements concerning our expectations and their behavioral choices; we inadvertently send the message that if they make good choices they will get a reward.

I struggle with sending that message for two reasons.  The first comes from my desire to raise children who do good things, right things, whether someone is watching or not.  The second comes from the unfortunate reality that I know many wonderful, christian people who have indeed made good choices, the right choices, the moral choices and do you know what happened?  They were NOT given a reward – well, at least not here on earth.

I guess it all comes down to the big picture.  Sure it might seem harmless and small now, but when I think about the future and how my children perceive their place in society; I want to make sure I’ve done everything I can to keep them away from feeling entitled.  

Ephesians 5:8-10 gives us a reason for this goodness:  8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord.

I’m not suggesting we never give rewards for our children’s good behavior.  I’m only pointing to the instances when the behavior becomes apparent ONLY because there will be a reward offered up in the end.  My prayer is that we will be an example of God’s goodness to us, our call to be “good” to others and that we will tell our children what kind of good things we see and hear them doing.

It’s a new day, a good day – go out and enjoy it!

2 Responses to “Good for goodness sake”

  1. 1 Kasey Johnson August 3, 2009 at 7:10 AM

    I love the story Bethany! The best part about your situation? In my mind you didn’t give a bribe – you gave a reward – you challenged her and she accepted the challenge. You are right, we need to open their world and when they walk through a new door they find a wonderful adventure waiting for them and I say bring on the rewards – it’s exciting!

  2. 2 Bethany August 3, 2009 at 12:15 AM

    So funny. Just this week I bribed Macy, age 4, for the first time (that I can remeber). I never saw the “good” in a bribe. But this time I knew if she would just get up the courage to slide down this water slide at our hotel she would LOVE IT! She just needed some courage and motivation. I told her I would give her 5 Red Vines if she would ride the slide one time. To my total surpise she agreed! SHE LOVED IT!! And climbed those staires a half dozen more times to do it again and again… AND forgot all about the reward. I gave them to her any way, of course.
    Sometimes as moms we KNOW our children are ready for a new adventure, and if they would just experience it their small world would open up that much more. I say, use them sparingly and very wisely.

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