“We have to be at the doctor’s office at 7:45,” I said to Mike Tuesday night.
“7:45 in the morning?” he asked. If he were a cartoon character his jaw would have been on the floor.
Even though the Cumings kids are early risers (and, Pro Tip, no respecters of Saturday mornings, either), actually leaving the house early in the morning is not exactly one of their spiritual gifts. So, when we pulled up to the clinic at 7:47 AM on Wednesday, I was pretty proud of all three of us.
The appointments went pretty well, too. No one was injured despite robust use of the exam table as a play space; no fingers were crushed in the frequent opening and closing of the exam room door; we spilled some Trix on the floor but didn’t crush any of it underfoot.
So I’m pretty sure I earned my reward:
Yep: a sticker. We each got one, and each wore them proudly all day long. (Or until we led a prayer service at the funeral home, because, Pro Tip: stickers are not actually professional wear.)
In my first call, I sometimes awarded imaginary stickers to my confirmation students when they had a really great answer. For a really, really great answer you might even get a sparkly one. This was a surprisingly effective motivational tool.
So, what can we learn from this?
1. Recognition matters. When we acknowledge the small victories and the everyday successes, it makes a difference. It makes us happy and proud and motivates us to keep on keeping on.
2. We need more stickers. While I was writing this post, I remembered that today is recycling day. I filled the bin and rolled it around to the front of the house exactly in time for the recycling truck to collect it. Sure, an empty recycling bin is its own reward. But you know what would be the perfect thing to commemorate this mundane achievement? A sticker.
Make it a sparkly one, please.
What motivates or inspires you?