a failing reward system

The only thing I have heard consistently as a potty training success method is using a reward system.

I get it. You use their favorite candy, sticker or toy to motivate them to go potty and then they get rewarded.

The problem I’ve had is that my princess-A is not enticed by any of these rewards. I’ve tried her favorite treats and toys. In the end, I think she realizes her temporary happiness from the reward isn’t worth it.

Potty training has me at a dead end, and a part of me wishes this reward system would be successful. Yet, a part of me doesn’t.

My wise, two-and-a-half-year-old sometimes teaches me more than I think I teach her.

Isn’t this refreshing that she isn’t so willing to engulf some temporary, meaningless happiness?

How often do I scoop up the chance to put forth a little extra effort in order to get a reward? Moreover, how often do I do something and immediately expect a reward?

Always. We live in a society where we are told, “you deserve it,” so often that it is mechanical in us to expect.

You workout and reward yourself with a chocolate-treat; you expect “thank you’s” and birthday cards; you save money and then reward yourself with an indulgent purchase.

The grimiest kind: striving to glorify God and be a good person and then expecting a reward from Him.

Our Father does not have us on a reward system. We already received the reward by following Him. Salvation.

We’ve been given the gift of life.

I breathe: reward. My child laughs: reward.

Temporary rewards whether it be a candy bar or new car are exactly that – temporary. And expectations only lead to disappointment.

The “I deserve” and “I expect” nature in us is like some ravaging lion – always hungry for more and forgetting what we’ve already been given.

But if we stop and take in all the gifts around us, we are overwhelmed with fulfillment and joy.

If we follow God, persevere in love and contentment, and give thanks, we can look at the future and know we will be rewarded. We just have to know that our rewards and what we maybe expect as a reward most likely won’t match up.

It would be nice for princess-A to realize that God has gifted her with the ability to use the potty and what a blessing it would bring her parents, but until then, I’ll be thankful for diapers.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9, NIV

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