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15 May 2008

Girl Scouts & NY Yankees!

Let's see, what do Girl Scouts and Yankees have in common? Uniforms, household name, chemical additives to make them better....

Yes, but below are two stories that strike another parallel. Read on dear reader, read on:

"Michigan Girl Scout sells 17,328 boxes of cookies" - Yep, I read the headline and with typical skepticism, I assumed that out of the 17,328 boxes sold, that at least 17,300 were sold by some helicopter mom and dad who fixed it for their little Scout. I pictured the parents taking the cookies to their work to brow beat their co-workers, relentlessly pimping out their relatives and mortgaging their own home to buy the rest. But then I kept reading.

It seems that the 15 year old Girl Scout was a bit of a wall flower before the cookie campaign. Her mom did push her out the door each day at first - and sat with her - on a street corner every day to offer their cookies to the passersby. Every day. The mom described to the news how her little girl blossomed before her eyes from being very "quiet, shy and afraid to talk to customers" to being "really confident and right out there, first to the door." As a dad who pines away for my kids to be achievers - at anything they choose to pursue - I absolutely love the story behind the story.

Oh yeah, the girl's whole scout troop is going to Europe with the troop's share of the money raised. Individual accomplishment that is paid to the whole team that supported her. Awesome.

"Yankees respond to pressure with win over Rays" - That's the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. The storied franchise with the league leading $208,684,129 payroll. Wow, that is almost as much as I make! The team's owner Hank Steinbrenner told his players to start "earning their bloated salaries" during team meeting before the game. Seems the boss was not happy that he was not getting a dollars worth of work for a dollars worth of pay.

The team apparently agreed. They performed at a high level and won the game. "Our intensity was up a little bit," said their captain Derek Jeter.


Long time readers know I endorse the ol' carrot & stick approach to behavior reinforcement. I suppose that is what caught my attention with these stories. Some would tend to go easy and not push too hard, not expect too much and not hold people accountable to an acceptable standard.

In these stories somebody cared enough to expect more...and they got more.

How about you? Are you a pushover, or are you a drill sergeant? Or something in between?


Kat Wilder said...

I have never been a drill sergeant, but I have once or twice been a pushover. That just didn't work out well!

Now that my kid's a teen, I have learned to hold him accountable, ask him to probe his choices and be more mindful of his decisions and to understand that actions and words mean things.

Then again, I've always thought parenting was an odd mix of bribery, manipulation, begging and deception. But maybe that's just me ...

Michael M. said...

Welcome back Kat: "Now that my kid's a teen..." I have noticed that as our oldest is morphing from a tween to a teen, that the parenting tactics that used to work, uh, don't work as well anymore.

Maybe I need to adjust my mix of bribery, manipulation, begging and deception....

Tismee2 said...

Money works well in our house with our teen. He is being bribed with a certain amount for each GCSE grade he gets next year. The higher the grade he more money. If he reaches the target his school say he 'could' achieve with a bit more effort,which are all A's, he will be getting himself a nice little pay packet next July!

He has already decided what he is going to buy with it.

Michael M. said...

Gail: I am starting to discover what you have already...that desired-teen-behavior and money-as-a-reward go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Of course in true carrot and stick fashion, she also gets fined for undesired behavior. (evil grin)

Average Girl In Average World said...

I lean towards drill sargent. My babies are still young...4 & 6. But they are well aware of expectations. The 6 year old can already tell you she is going to college. Maybe not her major, but she knows school doesn't end after High school.

When children stop having expectations, that's when all sorts of problems start. My parents had no expectations of us, except to turn 18 and move out. I never had an idea I could go to college, never knew about finacial aid to help pay for it...nothing.

I was wild and unruly until I met my hubby. Manners, common sense and day to day living skills - all self taught. I vowed that would not happen with my kids.

Michael M. said...

Average Girl: "When children stop having expectations, that's when all sorts of problems start." Great comment!