I told myself I was going to report these facts to you in an unbiased fashion. I was going to take a very politically correct, journalistic (<---Is that a word?) approach to this up and coming hot topic. Take a seat breastfeeding/formula debaters, I have a new epidemic that you are sure to form your own solid opinion on.
To pay or not to pay your children to perform in sports.
If there was audio on this blog, imagine Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks blaring and then coming to a record screeching halt.
What do I mean, Pay your children to perform in sports? I mean, you make a deal with your kids or negotiate what it will take for Billy Bob to hit a homerun. For Sally Sue to score a goal. For Frankie Wayne to sack the quarterback. For Betty Louellen to birdie her badmitton.
See where I am going with this? Incentivising (<---Another made up word ala SurferWife) your kids to perform to your standards. I suppose the argument for this goes something like, "Children respond well to incentive and positive reinforcement and what they want is $20 per goal or the $400 Lego Deathstar for an out of the park homerun."
Ok, I did my part reporting the positives of this epidemic. Now, please allow me my opinions on the adverse effects of this reward system:
Hey dad who never played football or possibly played too much football (<---Think Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite--the middle aged man who keeps reliving his glory days), I have a memo for you. It's now your child's time to shine and learn to love the sport the way you did. Instead of enticing Laura Bob to get a hole in one with a handful of Washingtons, remind her why she has chosen to play this sport.
I don't know, maybe encourage her to want to perform for the simple satisfaction of accomplishing something great. Instill a sense of self pride and capability to achieve these great feats.
Because you know what bribing a child does, in my not so humble opinion? It produces a nasty sense of entitlement. "Look daddy, I kicked a ball. What material item do I get now? Because damn it, daddy, I demand to receive a physical item every time I do something well."
My son has not received a single material item from me for his above average accomplishments on any field he has played on, thus far. You know what he does get though? An insane amount of pride in his parents' eyes. Very heartfelt congratulations, high fives and cheerleading from the stands. Maybe he gets to choose dinner or grab a slurpee for an entire game well played. But he will never, EVER hear his mother say, "Well, son, you sacked the quarterback twice and that's worth $10 a pop, you had 6 tackles, at $5 a piece and you scored a touchdown which is worth $25, so hang on let me pull out my wallet here and.....
You know what else you wont see or hear? My kid running off the field screaming, "YEAH! YOU OWE ME $75, MOM! DID EVERYONE HEAR THAT? BECAUSE I DID THE STUFF MY MOM WANTED ME TO DO, SHE HAS TO PAY ME $75."
You WILL hear his excited voice ask me if I saw a certain tackle or a great run for X amount of yards to which he gets back, "You bet I did, Buddy! If you would have seen my reactions in the stands, you would have cringed with embarrassment, honey. See? That hard work you put in at practice this week, really paid off. I'm so super proud of you, son!!"
Are the kids who get paid by their parents a better player than my son? Not even a little bit. He's not a starting pitcher in baseball because I pay him per strikeout. He's not a starter on both defense and offense in football because he's earning money from me. He's earning his own bragging rights because he loves the sport and wants to perform to his own expectations. Funny, but I prefer teaching self pride over entitlement. Go ahead and call me crazypants, it wont be the first time.
I will now step down from this bedazzled soap box. I also use this same sparkly box to loudly support my son from at all of his games. I can afford to add the extra sparkle because I'm not draining my wallet after each game.
Do you pay your kids for their accomplishments on the field or in their game? If so, I sincerely want to hear about it. Maybe I am missing a really crucial component here and you can enlighten me. Truly, I want to hear every one's opinion on this topic.