My daughter, who is in PreK, has a new behavioral incentive system in school which she is very excited about. If she gets a happy-face sticker every day, on Friday she gets a prize. What determines whether or not she gets a happy-face sticker is her ability to make good choices throughout the day such as: listening during circle time, resting during nap-time, doing her work during centers, etc. Not a bad system except now she thinks that she should get a sticker and prize for every good choice she makes at home.
After about a month of this “rewards” system, I decided to sit down and have a talk with her, a kind of Beatitudes 101. I explained that the best reward for making good choices is the good that comes from making those choices like: learning, sharing, respect, friendship, health, fun, and not material things that she gets. I asked her if she could you imagine Jesus handing out stickers to the disciples?!
I could see it wasn’t clicking with her so I tried to drive the point home by reminding her that Mommy doesn’t get presents every time I make a good choice. To which my daughter declared, “Yes you do. You get love!” Maybe she got it after all! And with a gift like love, who needs stickers!