Some of the sweetest wins in life come from receiving a reward for a job well done. Rewards are often that little extra push to finish something successfully that I’ve begun and have lost interest in. Knowing my efforts will be valued and affirmed help me finish well.
Being rewarded doesn’t always guarantee an expected result.
Sloane is at the age where she’s learning to use the bathroom like a big girl. Sophisticated real underwear with her favorite princesses on them added to her sense of ability and capacity.
Life too often gets in the way of the task. Remembering to go when she was playing or intently looking at books was a challenge for Sloane. Being aware of what you’ve never had to be aware of before can be difficult.
In preschool, she had no problem with consistency. Everybody was doing it. When everyone gets herded toward the bathroom with one specific goal in mind, being part of the herd makes remembering easy.
Home was harder. So much to do. Places to go. Baby brother Ward to play with. Helping Mommy and Daddy with whatever they needed to do. A girl can only recall so much.
My daughter Melody created a chart for Sloane to record her accomplishments. She’d be rewarded with success immediately–an M&M entices quite nicely. But when she reached twenty successes, she’d get a bigger reward.
A fake fish tank.
I’ve seen this tank. It’s more like an exaggerated night light with colorful fake fish swimming together in circles. She had one in her preschool class and really wanted one for her room. I didn’t understand the fascination.
It worked for Sloane.
The day came when she’d accomplished her twenty successes. She was jubilant; the fake fish tank was ordered. When it arrived, there was genuine excitement. When it was plugged in, and the fish began to swim in choreographed circles, I thought it quite restful.
Sloane sat and watch, somewhat mesmerized.
Now that her potty points had been accumulated and the tank purchased, urgency wasn’t the name of the game. Without the anticipation of a bigger reward, it became easier to get involved in play. To forget what she’d learned.
There will come a time when using the bathroom will become a habit. As she grows, it will make more sense to her.
Maturing does that for us. Being adults and doing things in healthy ways that respect who we are and respect others is part of growing up.
So often I find I want to be rewarded for the good choices I’ve made. Not necessarily with something tangible, like a fake fish tank. Words of affirmation are often what it takes to motivate me to keep going, especially in difficult situations.
Many times what I’ve done isn’t recognized. I’m not thanked or my work isn’t seen as beneficial.
Did it matter that I did my best? Does my effort make a difference?
In our busy world, it’s easy to feel overlooked or underappreciated.
God sees all I do. He values me. His perspective of me as His beloved child doesn’t ever change. Even if I haven’t given my best.
And He’s pleased with me.
No point chart required.