“I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”
When trying to encourage proper behavior, a little positive reinforcement goes much further than nagging or screaming. For instance, genuine compliments for responsible acts (“Jack, thank you so much for putting your bicycle away without being told”) will put a smile on your son’s face and inspire him to try it again. Likewise, a chore chart that lists tasks and rewards for completing them can be extremely effective. Preschool children enjoy winning stickers for their achievements; older kids respond best to money or privileges such as use of the family car.
But is it biblical to use rewards to motive your children? We think so. Consider the words of Christ, who instructed us to give to “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:12–14). Jesus, in fact, is keeping track of even our smallest acts of kindness: “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones…he will certainly not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).
Christ knows exactly how we were made and what motivates us. If He is willing to use the promise of rewards in heaven to encourage the righteous behavior of His followers on earth, we believe parents are wise to do the same with the young “followers” in their families.
Before you say good night…
- How do you encourage good behavior at home?
- How do you feel about a system of rewards for your children?
- What types of rewards would motivate them best?
Dear Jesus, You have promised heavenly rewards for living according to Your ways and deeds. Forgive us for so often falling short! Guide us as we seek to please You in motivating our children. Amen.
This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.