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Immediate rewards or Deferred gratification?

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  • Immediate rewards or Deferred gratification?

    The present philosophy is that kids (Cubs) want/deserve/should be rewarded NOW for what they accomplish. Beads, patches, RIGHT NOW!

    Permit me some nostalgia and reminiscing.

    I hope there are a few of us here, that might remember doing the "stuff" in our DL's recroom/basement, going to the zoo and fire house, and being "rewarded" by our DL's smile and "good job!" and then our mom and dad's smiles and hands on our shoulders. The key holder was cut and painted, the birdhouse was nailed together, albeit a bit crooked. The book was signed, and kept where I could see and read it. The patches and arrow points didn't arrive until the Pack meeting weeks or months later. I was working to become a Bear (f''rinstance), and the goal was being met, gradually, as indicated by the books signatures. My folks and DL made sure I saw that , reminded me of it. sat down with me and reviewed it with me. I knew it was coming (like Christmas?).

    My generation knows that the mortgage is a gradual thing. We (and the bank) own the house, and eventually only we will own it, after alot of self denial and putting off and score keeping. Now, young folks seem to want everything RIGHT NOW. There is very little sense of working toward a goal. Don't worry about research, wikipedia it. The kids I sub teach to wait for me to tell them what the answer is, heaven forbid they should figure it out for themselves.
    When did this change? When did we start teaching our kids to EXPECT their reward right now, and not to work for it for later?
    The internalization of the approval of our parents approbation was, I think part of our generation's education. Putting off the reward for our efforts til later, because we knew it would come, it would be there, later. Taking pride in what one can do alone, rather than taking pride (?) in what one can repeat......
    Could this be part of our societal troubles? The need to see the result of our efforts and desires RIGHT NOW ?
    Then too, I wonder if my memory of things past is really that much different from things present. Is the percentage (amount? number?) of kids having trouble in school doing math the same as way back when? It can't be all that harder. Geometry and Algebra hasn't changed, only the imposed need to learn it RIGHT NOW... By tuesday.....

    Any sense in my ramblings? What am I trying to say?

  • #2
    I have no idea what you are going for. But as a member of the generation you are analyzing I might be able to give you a little insight.


    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, hurry up S, we ain't gonna wait all day.

    • Sentinel947
      Sentinel947 commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry Qwazse I had to go to work. Gotta pay those college bills (and maybe new Hiking boots before I hike part of AT this summer)

      I'll put my perspective in a new post.

  • #3
    I have scouts who miss meetings, that's going to happen, but I ask them meeting after meeting if they completed the missed work yet. I then ask the parents and email continuous reminders. Sometime they don't arrive prepared or complete home assignments. Now, when I plan my meetings, I bring everything that is needed and do the "home assignment" with them.


    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      I hope your talking about Cub scouts

  • #4
    I think that it's a product of parenting and culture. My parents have been very disciplined about finances. I wasn't given everything I wanted as a child, even though my parents probably had the money. At the same time, consumerism is rampant in our throw away culture. New IPhone? Buy it. Hot new toy? Buy it. Millennials have been bombarded with ads and the consumerist culture since they were little. Many of my generation were practically raised in front of a television screen. A lot of Millennials have a flippant attitude towards school and education. Part of it is their role models at home, but it's also to fit in. Kids who get straight As are resented by their peers. Not caring about school is pretty common. I'm not sure how different that is from earlier generations. I don't think it's a majority of mine. I think the irresponsible, yolo, I do whatever I want, when I want party children is a small obnoxious minority of my generation. What are you seeing OP? I didn't understand what your point was.


    • #5
      I too am lost in your post. I will tell you how we do it and it seems to work. miner awards (belt loops, beads toward rank etc) are awarded at the den meeting. Normally the den meeting following the activity (the meeting after the activity/event) Rank or major awarded are awarded at the next pack meeting. There may be one scout or 10 being awarded rank at a pack meeting. If we are close to the holiday party or the end of year party we might delay the awarding of the rank by a week or two. Is this type of process what you are talking about or is it something different?


      • #6
        Maybe I am trying to get a sense of how the kids today operate versus what fuzzy memory I have of how the kids in my way back when operated. The kids in the classes I sub teach , even the "advanced" classes, seem to not want to get it for themselves. They mostly (20 out of 25) seem to expect to be told what to say, not have an opinion of their own. I get alot of "is this gudnuf?" from them.
        Math, english, reading, it is a rare class where I get more than a absolute minimal answer. Case in point: Last week, 8th grade algebra. My instructions were to "review" the last nights homework and go over the worksheet in preparartion for the test friday. Write the probs up on the Promethean board (no more chalk board), ask for answers (they did this last night?) . you could hear the wood in the chairs shrinking. 2x+y=6 ? anyone? I had to pull it out of them.
        Were there kids that never grasped algebra in my day? Sure, but SOMEBODY would attempt an answer. Not here. "well, what should the answer be, Mr. SSScout?" I ultimately had to pick out a student for each problem, and even then I thought it was strange how slow these kids were. Same with every class that day. Similar to many other classes. I don't have these kids every day, don't know them. Sometimes there is an "a-ha!" moment but oh. so rare.
        One can google almost anything. The big encyclopedia or dictionary on the stand is not even considered. It is expected that ANY answer to ANY question (even in fifth grade) will be given, at finger tip, why even bother to learn HOW the answers in Wikipedia were originally found?

        So with today's Cub and Boy Scout.... when did it become necessary to reward them NOW, rather than a little later? How is it that we learned our reward would come, but our kids today need it NOW?

        I like Sentinels take on what I tried to say. I guess I am still trying to define what I sense...


        • skeptic
          skeptic commented
          Editing a comment
          I have voiced a similar frustration in trying to get them to plan "their" program. What do you want to do? No answer, or hike, camp, but not a word about where they might like to go or special themes. What about program in the troop meetings? Huh? You understand that these are NOT new scouts; so they have done stuff numerous times.

          As I have said before, it is as if they do not want to try for some reason, but prefer to simply be told. Is it because that is how they are now raised? Is it because not trying means not failing?

          I too sub, and I can feel for you. One of the reasons I now pretty much stay between 2nd and 5th if possible. They sometimes seem more willing to try; and of course I am still bigger than them.

          All we can do is keep pulling and pushing; and sometimes we actually see progress. I have an SPL right now that actually is starting to get it; and I am not as stressed at meetings recently. Still lots of room for improvement, but we are going the right direction anyway.

        • perdidochas
          perdidochas commented
          Editing a comment
          You're a sub. No offense, but the kids don't react anywhere close to normal with a sub. There is no delayed reward if they perform for you. There can be instant gratification, but you wouldn't like that, as it would involve misbehavior.

          I don't understand your reverence for the encyclopedia vs. wikipedia. Most studies have shown that they are about equally accurate (on non-controversial subject matter).

          In terms of instant reward vs. delayed gratification, we need both. Our boys need both. Some things should be recognized instantly, others can be delayed and others shoudl be delayed.

      • #7
        I suspect kids today are not that different than they were when I was one. I had no interest in school, homework, etc. I didn't earn every badge I could by a long shot. I enjoyed being recognized for my accomplishments at a pack meeting, but didn't connect that to actually doing work.

        That said, I think that all the managing of the program to award Cubs lots of bling has reduced the amount of self reliance. I recall as a Cub doing work on my own. The cubs in our pack - they rarely do individual work. Each month you see every boy in a den getting the same awards - those earned by attending den meetings. As a Cub, I remember picking up my book and looking through it to find electives to complete. I doubt very many Cubs do that today.

        I don't think it's a question of today's kids vs. yesterday's, but do think it's a by-product of how we've manage the program today. The boys today know that they just have to show up and they get awards.

        I remember I had a Wolf tell me the other day - "I've not received an award in a few months now" to which I said "you can earn an award any time you want, you need to pick one out and work on it."


        • #8
          To a certain extent, I think today's culture is a bit burned out on the self-esteem issue. They know that if they simply show up they get the ribbons, the trophies and all sort of junk of which they know the real value. It works on the younger boys, but as they mature, they see the program for what it is worth...not much.

          So then how does one continue a worthless program? Beats me.

          What we have trained our youth to do is show up, get the credit and then sit on their hands. If you expect them to "go beyond" the freebies and actually accomplish something on their own, well, that takes more than a ribbon to accomplish that. It begins the process of moving the program from self-esteem to self-respect and that takes time. The process is kinda hard to do, as with anything that involves growing up. As a matter of fact one may have to actually tell the boy to grow up and that's quite a blow to his coddled self-esteem.

          A sophisticated scout may be able to con those around him, but he'll never be able to con himself. One of the big problems with growing up is that the process of self-awareness kicks in and it isn't what everyone's been telling you all along.



          • #9
            Originally posted by ParkMan View Post
            I remember I had a Wolf tell me the other day - "I've not received an award in a few months now" to which I said "you can earn an award any time you want, you need to pick one out and work on it."
            I'm thinking this 2nd grader is still learning how scouting works. This is a good opportunity to teach. Just like the PLs who complain that the "meetings are boring", we try to coach them into planning a meeting that is not "boring".


            • #10
              each generation is the product of the one before. and each generation has questioned why the next one is full of a bunch of slackers.