When I read the title of the recent article How To Raise a Self-Righteous, Selfish Christian Kid, my stomach did a flip flop. Yuck! That is exactly the descriptive words I have wanted to avoid becoming attached to my Christian Kids.... so I wisely took a peak to see what it said.
This paragraph stood out to me:
A continual reliance on external motivators enhances a person's selfishness as it exchanges a little gratification for a desired behavior. Children raised in homes where external motivation dominated the leadership strategy ask different questions about life such as, "Are you going to pay me for this?" Not only does behavior modification encourage selfishness, but it also removes the moral motivations necessary for healthy and mature decision-making. Kids then tend to ask the question, "What's in it for me?" instead of "What's the right thing to do?"
What do you think about the authors' conclusions? Do external motivators like....
Can these things become crutches that interfere with our kids' development instead of enhance it?
My personal observation says yes! I have noticed that my best designed reward systems over the years seem to have often backfired on me just like the authors described.
It seems to me that this issue of whether to reward behavior is not a total either/or question. I am not ready to cancel all encouragement for right behaviors. But the authors' point is well taken. If our kids are addicted to external motivation, they will never grow to be the mature Christian women and men that will lead the church into the future.
So this week I am praying about this issue as I ask The Lord for WISDOM and BALANCE.
Care to join me?