When I teach kids, I will sometimes challenge them to accomplish something or allow them to compete in some way. Inevitably, one of them will ask “What do we get?”. Parents, schools, even extra-curricular activities give awards for anything and everything. Some even reward children for doing the bare minimum of what used to be considered common good behavior.
While this is not an article on entitlement, too many rewards can create children who expect to be rewarded for everything they do. It can create laziness, because why bother to do your best if you are rewarded for any minimal effort at all. It can create pride and destroy realistic expectations of what one can achieve with one’s current skills and knowledge. They can even create an attitude that doing what is right or expected will only be done when the reward is present – remove the reward and the behavior disappears.
In short, too many rewards cause more problems than they solve. Yet, rewards persist in our society. There are actually some good things that can come from using limited rewards. In fact, whether you realize it or not, the Bible addresses the subject of rewards – especially in the New Testament. What can the Bible teach Christian parents about using rewards in healthy ways?