Money Changes Everything

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , Edit This 3 Comments »
So anyway, a year ago we (MM and I) decided to offer the children cash incentives to help them focus on getting 'A' grades. For every 'A' graded paper/test, they get $1. For every 'A+' on their report card they get $50. But, they can only get the money if they have no less than a 'B-' on their report so no matter if they get four 'A+'s, one 'C' will kill the cashflow.
Seriously, I didn't think they would respond well to this. I thought the idea would swish around their heads for a day or two then disappear under the weight of apathy. These kids are not very materialistic (if I do say so myself). They aren't the types to hand you a list a mile long when you ask them what they want for their birthday. They go with the flow and don't ask for much and never think to ask for money. (Except when it comes to sugar-laden treats, then its ALL ON.)
Imagine my surprise when A. walks in with THREE 'A's! M. turns up with FIVE and C.'s progress report is now showing THREE!
We may go broke before the kids are out of Middle School, but the point is....this system is working!
They are clever children, there's no doubt, but they have never put so much effort into their schoolwork before and they now go out of their way to gain extra credit.
Here is my question.... is this morally wrong? My friends say they would never bribe their kids to get good grades but my viewpoint is this: They are not gaining an illicit advantage and we are not inducing them to be dishonest in their work. We are REWARDING their hard work. We are helping them build good study habits to carry them through a lifetime of learning. I actually object to the 'b' word because I know people who bought their child a car when they turned 16 and all they had to do to get it was - grow.

I told the kids I want them all to be professionals when they grow up because I want free medical care, dentistry, and law. A. said she'd rather be a Medical Examiner because you can't accidentally kill someone if they're already dead (?) or an air stewardess because you get to travel the world. (Nevermind the barmaid and vomit duties.)
M. has changed his mind about becoming a police officer after we went target shooting as a family. (No, we didn't SHOOT him! It must've been the slugs that rocketed out of my shotgun, deafening the lot of us. Wasted the target though - awesome!)
C. hasn't made up her mind about what to do so I can still try to make a lawyer out of her. If her current debating skills are anything to go by, she'll be fantastic.
I wish my parents had been as clever as I am.......

3 brilliant observations:

Cheryl said...

You are such a great writer, R. Must have something to do with being a well-read person! (: Ok, the "never" friends will be the ones paying their kids in a few months anyway. I think it is great that you are doing it! And it's working. Great job all of you!

Paranihia said...

A for writing, A for child motivation, A+ to kids for enjoying their study efforts. I wish your parents had been as clever as you too!

debbie said...

hey girl! how are you? i do not like the "b" word, i call it a reward. i totally agree with you, it is not bad. i will admit, i work harder even at my age if there is a reward:)