Rewarding our son for 6 years of hard work: Dad's perspective

Oh, how we love it when our kids succeed in school. We rush to see that final report card, and when we see those A's, we feel the joy. Our son likes making those grades as much as we like seeing them. He also enjoys learning, and he has done both all through his elementary school years. As his sixth-grade year began its second semester, our son's teacher informed us of that all of his hard work will pay off. Our son has earned Presidential award for straight-A averages in all subjects throughout all of his elementary years.

How hard our son works

We have our son in a very academically rigorous school. He learns easily, but he still has to work hard to maintain his grades; we make sure of that. He has to complete all of his in-class and homework assignments, study for his tests, memorize Bible verses, create projects, write reports, and learn computer skills. This takes a lot of time and effort from all students and teachers, and we do our part to make sure that our son completes it all on time. We do not accept lackluster work from him. The school rewarded him after fourth grade by electing him into the National Junior Beta Club, and my wife and I starting wondering how we could reward him ourselves.

How we chose to reward him

For each report card, we would give our son choices of rewards. We would offer new video games, activities, or a little extra weekly pay (which he earns through chores). End-of-school year report cards would earn him larger rewards. When our son's sixth grade teacher told us about the possibility of the Presidential award, we began to discuss what to do for him. He loves electronics. He is also a whiz with them. We decided to shop around and begin saving for a new iPad in case he won the award.

When the award became official

The teacher told us after the first semester of sixth grade ended that our son qualified. It became official after the first semester grades posted. Our son will receive the Presidential award. We could now buy the iPad and present it to him after the award ceremony. We had one problem. He found out early about the award and figured that since we treated him after each school year we would then do something really big for him. He had wanted an iPad since they came out but knew that we would not just rush out to buy it. He kept asking how he could earn one. He figured out on his own that we were already planning on buying it, so we bought it early. We lost the surprise factor but not the excitement of giving it to him and seeing his face when he finally had it in his hands.

Rules to follow to keep his iPad.

We bought the version that we could afford, not the brand new version. He does not mind. His getting the iPad does not end his hard work. We gave it to him with a set of rules. First, he does not own it; Mom and Dad do. We all get to use it, and if he starts acting selfishly with it, he loses it. Next, he must maintain the same hard effort when he begins junior high school in the fall. Finally, he must continue to do his chores and obey us with a positive attitude. Failure in those areas will mean loss of the iPad until further notice. He has learned from losing some of his other gadgets that we mean what we say.

Reward well-earned

We are extremely proud of our son and the effort he has put into his schoolwork. We make sure that he completes his work and studies. We also give much credit to the wonderful teachers that he has had since he started school. However, our son has done his job and more. We pray that he will continue to succeed all through junior and senior high school. We can parent him properly, but he must do it himself. We do not expect him to be the very best, but we do expect him to do his very best. As for now, he earned this reward.

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