I made straight A’s in school until the fifth grade, and my parents never said much about it. I continued to make good grades through school, but I wonder what I might have done if I’d had a little parental praise … some sort of pay off?
Flash ahead a few years to fatherhood. My wife and I devoted a great deal of attention to our children’s grades, encouraging them and declaring that both would be graduating from college someday. We sweetened the pot with cash for results.
Both children made excellent grades … both graduated with degrees. Was it because of the money? I believe the answer is “yes”, at least partially, though simple parental attention was the primary motivator. The cash demonstrated that we were serious.
There is a danger in rewarding grades. Kids may get a distorted view of the workplace … that excellence is rewarded consistently. It is not.
The greater lessen is instilling a compassion for learning and excellence. I think our kids got that … along with the cash.
Our thought for today is from John Ruskin:
“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.”