On Teaching Our Kids Values: Should we put impetus on rewards and repercussions?

Some Sundays ago, Pastor Ernie Aragon of Victory Christian Fellowship Calamba preached at our mother church Victory Los Banos.  Although my husband and I both love our Pastor Jon, Pastor Ernie’s “guest appearance” was refreshing.  And may I just say that I just love a speaker who has good voice, diction, and grammar (I know it’s wrong but I am often distracted when the speaker in front of me mispronounces words or uses the past tense of a verb even with the presence of do, does, or did…anyway, moving forward…)

I liked Pastor Ernie’s preaching on that particular Sunday afternoon.  I, however, have forgotten the topic and wasn’t able to fully concentrate on the Word because of a squirming baby boy na itatago natin sa pangalang RAV4.  But I caught snippets of his preaching, and they struck home.  It was basically about the things we do for God…do we do these things out of fear/obligation and anticipated rewards, or do we do these things because we love God and want Him to be happy?  In tackling this, he  gave some examples of situations when we choose to be honest or serve God, and asked us our motivation was in doing/not doing things.

Honesty, for example.  More often than not, our parents have taught us to be honest because we will be in serious trouble if we got caught telling lies.  Diligence, for example.  I was taught to be a diligent student so I can get good grades and get ahead of my contemporaries.  I used to think that these were the right ways to teach values:  tell your kids about its pros and cons.

But I had a change of heart after listening to even snippets of Pastor Ernie’s preaching…the problem with the Pros and Cons doctrine is that often, the expected rewards and repercussions do not happen.  In fact, an expected reward of a good deed may become a punishment; an expected repercussion of a bad deed may result into something favorable.

Cheating, for example.  We were taught that if we get caught cheating, we will get kicked out of school or that we will have failing marks.  But what if we don’t get caught?  We can have the best of both worlds:  we can afford not to be diligent in our schoolwork and get good grades!  Face it, with just a little creativity, one can actually get away with cheating.  Same goes for stealing:  if you don’t get caught, you’ll be rich!  And I don’t really buy the “Lalabas at lalabas din lagi ang katotohanan” (trans: The truth will always come out)crap…until now, we still do not know what really happened to Amelia Earhart, nor do we know 100% who actually masterminded the killing of Ninoy Aquino (if you ask me, I’m more inclined to believe it was Danding Cojuangco and not the Marcoses).

Another example is studying diligently.  Again, face it.  Being a diligent student is not a guarantee that one will be #1 in his class, as we have to factor in a student’s inherited intelligence.  A student made to believe that he will become #1 if he continually strives will feel betrayed and confused if and when he does not.  Actually, I believe this is the reason once-diligent-students  became lazy…because they no longer believe that diligence in studying equals being on top.

So how should we do it?  How do we teach values to our children?  I guess we first have to make them love God and put Him on the pedestal.  Then let them know that sins hurt God and doing one’s best makes God happy.  After all, everyone does not want to hurt the one they love, and everyone always wants to please the one they love.


8 responses »

  1. I agree with the dilemma in using the pros and cons scheme in teaching our kids the right values; however, I find the solution to make them love God first a little vague. Our kids, I believe, won’t be able to understand and digest that easily. Nevertheless, another nice entry. 🙂

    • I know that it is. In fact, even we adults have difficulty in doing fully loving God, right? However, that is the way that kids will really grow up to be upright people. Teaching our kids to love God is indeed THE challenge.

      Any suggestions? 🙂

  2. Hi, Ernie here. Thanks for the compliments. You may gain more insight when is to listen to the whole podcast which is downloadable here http://www.mediafire.com/?kqeazahjv8w1u13 .You may have missed some essential parts. My focus wasn’t on loving God and doing things for Him to make Him happy. I guess my whole point was that we miss the point when our focus is about doing things for God and focusing on obeying Him and even loving Him. This is because we will always for short. We will get tired and burnt out.

    I mentioned verses that actually pointed out that the focus is on what He did for us. Sounds selfish but it isn’t. The Bible says that our love for God is responsive in nature. We love because He first loved us. So by fixing our eyes on Jesus and His love for us as expressed by His sacrifice on the cross to save us, our love for Him grows and our desire to serve and obey Him grows.

    So by actually NOT focusing on loving Him and serving Him but on how He loved us and served us, we actually end up loving Him and serving Him. It’s totally counter-intuitive but that’s how the Bible put it. It’s too long to explain here but you will get the whole picture and how I laid the verses to show how this all works. Here is the link again http://www.mediafire.com/?kqeazahjv8w1u13 .

    I also recommend listening to the whole series because a lot of people have been set free from wrong mindsets about Christian living, the nature of God’s forgiveness and the nature of God’s will.

    Thanks again for following my blog. Oh and by the way, I also like your writing style as well.

  3. I’m also currently reading a book by Elyse Fitzpatrick entitled “Given Them Grace” which is a book on parenting from the perspective of God’s grace rather than law and rules. It doesn’t throw away rules but reveals a very interesting and insightful approach to correcting our children when they fail to live up to our expectations. You can google it or search it in Amazon. I bought the Kindle version.

  4. You know what, after much thought, it turns out that the approach I mentioned isn’t counter-intuitive at all.

    Our own children learned how to love us not because we told them to obey us or love us. When we told them, “Don’t hit, Mommy” or “Always kiss Daddy” this gave them some rules to do but this is not what grew their love for us.

    Our children grew to love us because we showered them with our love and care. As they experienced love, they grew to love us as well.

    The same is true for the love of God. How do we teach our kids to love God? The answer is by showing them how much God loves them. When they understand that and that even Jesus took upon Himself and that God blessed them with so many good things, they will grow in their love for God.

    Hahaha, one time I was bit creative in disciplining my daughter. There was a time that she was so defiant and deserved a spanking. What I did was that I took my “spanker” and talked to her privately in our room. She was on the brink of tears. I told her that what she did was wrong and somebody deserved a spanking. Then I took my “spanker” and started delivering several sharp blows to MYSELF. She was saying, “No, Daddy, no!”

    I told her, that I loved her and that was why I took upon myself the punishment she deserved. I also told her that that was what Jesus did for her. Then we hugged and a kissed her and she remembered that (at least that day 🙂 )

    I’m not saying that’s the way to go. I just did that a few times. But the key to teaching them to love God is by showing them how much God loved them.

    • Hi Pastor Ernie! Thanks for reading my blog. I like your disciplining trick—it really shows that you don’t hit your child because you’re mad. I will copy that technique when the time comes, hehe.

      Having a baby changed my life 100% These days, I find myself welling up just looking at my baby or whenever someone compliments him. I just love him so much!

      Did you know the miracle that God performed on my baby? I had the LB church praying and fasting for him when he was a month old…after a few days, it was I who gave a testimony during a prayer meeting. I’m planning to create an entry about it when I have time. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Now That I’m Already A Mom, Gets Ko Na! « momsterteacher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s