We all respond to the affirmation and appreciation from others for our efforts. One of the things I have noticed in the past few years is the affirmation parents give their children as a way to insure their self-confidence and instill a sense of accomplishment. For example, not long ago I was in a restaurant for breakfast and in came a mother with a young son and daughter. As the mother helps remove the little boy’s jacket she says to her son, “Good job, Thatcher, good job!” She then turns to help the daughter remove her jacket and says again, “Good job, Thorpe, good job!” Asking them to be seated in the booth, the boy crawls up into his place and the mother says, “Good job, Thatcher, good job!” The little girl sits in her place and mother says, “Good job, Thorpe, good job!” As soon as all are seated, there are high fives all the way around the table and the mother with eyes wide, eye brows lifted high, and with many white teeth showing a broad smile, continues to say, “Good job!” because they were all seated. All of this was just to sit down and eat.
As they ordered from the menu, each taking a very long time to decide, and a “Good job!” and high fives with the final choices made. With every other bite of egg, drink of milk, nibble of toast and grape jelly running down the front of Thatcher’s shirt, I hear more “Good job!” I am getting heartburn and nauseated, not from the Southwest Omelet with jalapeños and habanera sauce I just ate but from this style of parenting. I just don’t think this method of overly rewarding for nothing, positive re-enforcement to extreme, too many high fives and artificial affirmation is really healthy or normal for behavior training. It just seems to me that sweet little Thatcher and Thorpe should sit down quietly and normally because they were asked to do so by a loving parent. This is not a good job; it is normal living, normal obedience and normal behavior. Give me five!
(From Red Mountain Journal Archives 2012)
“Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” Jesus