Random Thoughts

Just desserts

... sweets to the sweet

by Carol Nelson

As a kid I would do anything for a cookie. My world seemed to run on a reward system. Good deeds must bring good rewards. This may have been an early hint at Zennish thought, or the early belief that what goes around really does come around. Perhaps it was the reverse of the "Bad Deeds Will Be Punished" ethos which I did not subscribe to, but sometimes suffered, like everyone else.

The nuns at school always said: "Carol will get a star in her crown for opening the windows." The feat was accomplished by using a very long pole with a metal hook on the end and was an Art. A knowing smile wreathed my freckled face as the stars filtered down on me...worthy.

This sort of thing probably influenced the way I later raised my brood: with applause and celebration. If material rewards became hard to come by for good math papers or potty training success, at least a standing ovation was called for. For small children the simple act of being observed, beheld, to be seen, brings joy.  They get good at being good, at least until the rewards lose their sparkle and become minimal, at best. Perhaps not worth the extra effort.

Soon the reward must be a puppy, or at least a crummy hamster. Fish and turtles lose their luster. There is a reward escalation. How many times have I heard "How come I never got a pony?"

But that was then.. and this is NOW. There are lists of opportunities to do something good and we no longer need to be in it for the cookie.

December 4, 2009

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