In 2017 I began giving out jolly ranchers occasionally to children who came to bible club, or studied Scripture with me. Over the years, children have learned those who best followed my rules (look up, sit up, listen up, hand up, zip up) would be rewarded with a jolly rancher.
Having an incentive to obey is a good thing, but eventually obedience must be based on something other than a jolly rancher.
There are children who occasionally come just to get a jolly rancher. But they soon leave since I don’t give them a jolly rancher every day. That’s actually a good thing since I want children who obey because they care about me instead of getting something from me.
Thankfully I have something much better than jolly ranchers…..
A genuine concern for the children, and a Godly influence upon their lives
I’m sure most children come wanting a sweetie every day, but they keep coming even if that doesn’t happen.
- Because I give them my full attention
- Because I am fair (anyone who refuses to obey is sent home)
- Because I am a consistent part of their life, they know that I will be there
- Because I make learning about the Bible fun
- And because I show them love
Eventually my jolly ranchers always run out, and lots of kids stop coming. One that keeps coming is a kindergartener who used to give me all kinds of trouble (her attention span was understandably short) and would cry when I didn’t give her a jolly rancher. Today she sits quietly, recites memory verses, and gives me much less trouble than the older kids! This is because in her heart she knows Mr. John loves her, and that love motivates her much more than candy.
May the Lord help us pour our lives into children so that they won’t have to be bribed into obedience, but would gladly obey because of the influence we are upon their lives.