Prize Please

Today was an unusually warm, beautiful day here in Kansas City. With 60 degree weather I couldn’t resist the chance to get outside and run. After teaching all day it was great to get outside and feel the pavement under my feet.

I piled in the van with the boys, my running app and some toys to use in the sand. We went to one of our favorite parks where there’s a sand volleyball court, swings, slides in the middle of a track. When the boys play in the sand they are in the middle of the track and I can keep my eyes on the boys the entire time I’m running.

Each time I completed a lap the boys knew to give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Thumbs up meant everyone was getting along and things were fine, thumbs down meant I should stop running on the track and start running interference between the boys. During my  entire run I would look their direction and was thrilled to see a thumb’s up and smiles on everyone’s faces.

When I had finished we started packing everything up to head home and make dinner. As I brushed the sand from their skin and clothes I said, “Boys, thank you so much for playing nicely together and letting Mommy run for such a long time – you guys are awesome!”

To which my middle son, Tyler, asked, “So do we get a prize for being so good?”

Anyone that knows me has heard my soap box speech on this topic. I don’t think children should be bribed into or rewarded for doing what is required of anyone who lives in our society. Being patient, thinking of others, working together and being kind are just some of the basic traits my boys need to practice WITHOUT the promise of a reward.

I thought about his question for a moment and with a smile on my face answered, “YES!”

He stared at me in shock – this was NOT the answer he was expecting so I went on…

“I have a special prize just for you! I will let you eat dinner for free, give you clean sheets and a warm bed to sleep in and a roof over your head.”

After thinking for a minute, Tyler responded, “But I get to do those things everyday and they’ve been happening my whole life!”

I just looked at him and smiled, “So I guess you’ve had a really great life and maybe you’ve already been given a prize that lots of other kids don’t have.”

He smiled back and we moved on. My sweet Tyler is the LAST person to think about himself or want a reward for his efforts, that’s why his comment took me off guard a bit. I wasn’t lecturing him or being sarcastic. I was simply taking a light-hearted approach to what I consider to be a pretty serious topic: entitled children.

With my arm around his shoulders we walked to the van, smiling the whole time. Before he got in the van I hugged him tight and whispered, “I love you” in his ear. He smiled at me and I knew I had made my point without making him feel guilty or demeaning him.

I don’t always do a great job balancing a situation and my response to it, but this time I was able to make a point and I have to say – it felt GOOD! :o)

I guess some days we enjoy a moment handled the right way and we need to hang on to those successes. During those times is when God gives us wisdom beyond our own experiences and words beyond our knowledge.

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these moments with your kids. No matter the topic. let’s keep treating them with respect and realize that what we do now has an impact on what they will become.  When they are someone’s roommate or spouse they will apply the life-skills we give them. Looking forward, to what kind of adults we are creating, will help us make the right choices during our present reality.

You’re doing a great job – hang in there and enjoy each lesson God teaches you through and with your children…isn’t this a great adventure we’re on!?

You are wonderful!


2 Responses to “Prize Please”

  1. 1 queenpin35 February 1, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    I love this post!! I can just see the situation unfolding (in my mind) You have such a sweet spirit and offer greats words of widsom to your kids (and I learn from you, too) Love you, girl!

    • 2 Kasey Johnson February 6, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Heather – you are so awesome! Thanks for taking time to leave a comment and understanding where I’m coming from – good times for sure!

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