Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Kid Lessons or Where I Use My Blog As Therapy

My 6 y/o taught me something last night.

He is very motivated by positive reinforcement. In fact, it is difficult to get him to do anything without the promise of reward. Whether it's a sticker, plastic frog, an extra story at bedtime or dessert, he won't do anything you ask unless he gets something in return.

Now before you tell me it's our fault for always giving him stuff, you have to realize we are raising three other boys. None of them are fueled solely by tangible rewards. I'm not sure what makes him different.

At his parent/teacher conference last week we found out the thought of him and his lack of motivation keeps his teacher up at night. "In a good way." Yeah, right.

He will not be challenged against other children. He will not be threatened. To say, "If you don't hurry there'll be no story." Does nothing. To say, "If you get ready quick we'll read two stories." Gets him to perform.

Timers and counting work. Threatening punishment doesn't.

Wondering how to teach him to motivate himself. Do things because they must be done. Do things he doesn't want to do without reward. These things made me evaluate the motivation behind the things I do.

• more about what I learned and how it relates to me, me, me

It made me realize how much I do in the hopes of being recognized as someone special.

Many of the things I do that are motivated by recognition are also done in the hopes of someday making money. Photography, scrapbooking, writing.

Once I realize it won't happen in a particular area I grow bored and move on to the next thing. Not to say I give up easily. Photography - six years. Teaching scrapbooking - three years. Writing - six years.

My latest career choice was/is children's book writer. I've been working, learning, meeting people for six years now. I've come close to publication. Not as close as some but closer than others. And now I must ask myself why. Why am I doing this?

Maybe it's time to stop.

If there's no reward at the end - Do I keep doing it? If there is never publication - do I keep trying?

I've asked myself these questions before. Somewhere deep inside I've always thought I would eventually get published. Now - now, I don't think so. I still have a flicker of hope (because I'm and eternal optimist - Why god? Why?) but on some level I'm realizing it won't happen.

It's like winning the lottery. On one level you know it'll never happen. The other level, the one that buys the ticket every now and then, keeps thinking - you never know.

OMG! For FIFTEEN YEARS I have been training, practicing, learning, working, selling myself, trying to make a career out of my creative endeavors. I never realized I've spent so much of my life at this. Almost half my life. ACK!

I think I just had a revelation. Time to suck it up and find a career I can actually make money at. Time to get a job because my family needs me to. Time to work because that is what grown-ups do. Not because I want to do it. Because I shouldn't need the recognition - just the job. Any job.

Anyone have a suggestion for my new line of work?

Anyone have a job to offer me?

• shut me up

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