When veteran child-evangelism fellowship missionary Betty Hoover retired, she gave me ALL of her material to reach the children of Saint Vincent with the Gospel.
I found some incredible treasures in her boxes of material…..
But none were more precious than her “funny money.”
These were different colored bills that could be given to children who were being quiet, they eventually were given the name “quiet dollars.” And the person who had the most quiet dollars at the end of Bible club usually got a prize.
Of course, these dollars helped keep kids attention
but more importantly they allow me to recognize the obedient.
Sadly, in the educational system the children who get the most attention are the disobedient ones. I don’t blame teachers for this because they should try to reach the rebellious students. However, a huge amount of time and energy is spent on children who don’t obey, and in a way gives them the attention that they want.
Meanwhile the student who always does the homework, and never causes trouble gets very little attention!
The answer isn’t to completely ignore the problem students of course. But instead look for opportunities to honor and encourage those who are doing the right thing. Something as simple as a compliment in class goes a long way.
I have learned giving a strong compliment to a young person whose sitting quietly, and giving them a quiet dollar has a DRAMATIC impact on the other children! Suddenly everyone stops talking, sits straighter, and gives their direct attention. Even better, as this kind of reinforcement is repeated over time the children will act that way even without quiet dollars!
Miss Hoovers funny money is a powerful reminder that children just want to be loved. They long for someone who will give them strong eye contact, a warm smile, and uplifting words. These encouragements will cause the child to flourish and grow like a strong plant.
The world has enough children who get attention for misbehaving. May the Lord help us find opportunities to catch children who are doing something good.