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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Of motivation & rewards

Some intrinsic, some extrinsic.

So, are we less worthy of a human being if what propelled us to elevate to greater heights tend to be motivated by extrinsic material rewards?

Cannot be la, hoh? At least not in all circumstances.

For example - how can you say your child is less worthy of a child if what motivates him to study hard and obtain good grades in his exam is a Sony Ericsson handphone, with a camera & web access function in it?

To cut the long intro short, that was what Abang Idin had been eyeing for. And eyeing so for one good year, he had.

Of course I had a part to play in it. Being the not so generous Ibu that I am, no way would I just senang lenang buy a handphone for a 12 year old who most of the time cannot even remember where he last placed his wallet (which, in the first place, should have been easier kept in his pocket, shouldn't it?!!) So I said, if you want it, you go get your 5As for UPSR.

So, yeah... my Abang Idin was deprived of a handphone. And we kept dangling it as an invisible carrot. Handphone? UPSR! Handphone? 5As! Muahahaha....

Come to think of it, I'm sure he must have been wanting it since umpteenth years ago.

When he was barely 6 months old, we registered him for a baby crawling contest (at Jusco Wangsa Maju that time). It started off as just for fun. When we saw the other babies & their kiasu parents, Ayah & I looked at each other and thought...opps! Would we be exposing our child to the concept of failure & frustration too fast too soon? But then we thought ... hehh... he was just a baby lah! He wouldn't understand. So we thought. When the race was about to start, we noticed the other parents were all geared up, ready with teddy bears, teethers, pacifiers and other toys to be used as motivation for their babies to crawl forward! Alamak... we brought nothing at all (other than his milk bottle!). And sure enough, when the whistle was blown, all the other parents started to motivate their not-as-cute-as- ours babies(hehehe) and most of the babies started to crawl towards their toys instantly. Abang Idin? He just woke up from his afternoon slumber and he just sat there at the starting point, heavenly sucking his thumb, oblivious to the fuss of the cheering crowd around. Alamak anak aku nih, tengah mamai lagi la agaknya? Thinking on his feet, Ayah reached into his pockets and pulled out his wallet from one pocket and one heavy as a sepatu Nokia handphone from another pocket (imagine macam hero cowboy pulling out his guns ready for a showdown... hehehe...). He started to dangle the wallet & handphone in front of Abang Idin's eyes and voila!! Abang Idin instantly moved his diapered butt, got down on his knees and started crawling. Ayah moved one step faster. Abang Idin followed. A few more steps even faster. And ... you wouldn't believe this, Abang Idin lifted his knees and started crawling like a bear! Two arms, two feet, no knees at all and yeah!! He was fast!! He started to catch up with the other babies and even got to the leading top three crawlers in no time at all. The crowd was cheering loud. I thought... Oh yes! He could be winning this. Oh yes... Oh dunia! Lihat lah.. That's my boy!

But then suddenly, he stopped midway. Eh? Apasal?! Oh dear! He stopped midway sebab 'dok' looking at a cute chinese baby girl trailing slightly behind in the next lane. We tried calling him a few times, yet he ignored us and just kept looking (drooling?) at the girl. Oh my, what a sight! Aiyaya.... kecik2 dah pandai distracted by a girl? The crowd actually laughed at the scene. I'm sure at that minute it was ayah's turn to be cheeky; claiming 'That's my boy!'

Apalah Abang Idin!!

After a few good laughs, I nudged Ayah and he came right back on to his senses and started to dangle his wallet and phone in front of Abang Idin again. Thank goodness Abang Idin came back to his senses too. He dashed forward with his bearish style crawl and managed to catch up again. As soon as he reached the finishing line, Ayah rewarded him by letting him 'play' with his handphone. Hmmpphh!! Habis dia gobbled up the phone! (Would you use a hand phone covered all over with a 6 months old baby's saliva? Euwwwwww..... exactly!) But oh well! He deserved it. He finished off as a runner up, the only 'boy' winning. Not bad at all, considering his late start. Won himself RM200 Jusco vouchers and a big hamper (jimat sikit poket Ayah masa tu, no need to buy diaper for 2 weeks or so). I think we have a photo of it. I'll try dig his baby years album and post the photo later (tahun depan boley?).

Much later when he started primary school, he wanted a hand phone still. By then, he could come with some creative reasons for the need of it, I tell ya.

Once, he said he's too short to reach the public phone at school. So he argued we should buy him a handphone so that he could easily call us in case there was an emergency at school. Yeaaahhhh right!

Our rebuttals: Who ask you to skip your lunch & dinner too often and be too choosy of your food? You eat a lot more laaaaa so that you grow taller faster! Besides, if there was an emergency at school, just run to the teacher, pakcik canteen, makcik cleaner, gardener, jaga or bus driver and shout for HELP - whether they have teeth or not, it should not matter! That's what you called emergency. (Mean parents, no? hehehe)

But what about if it's emergency outside school? He tried still.

Our rebuttals: What outside school? After school, you come right back home, straight home, in Mrs Jaya's van, you hear?!! (Mean still, yes? yes, yes, yes....)

Another time, after coming home from a school trip, he related the incident of his friend who lost his handphone during that trip. His friend called his parent using another friend's phone and then related to Abang Idin, "Mak aku kata tak per lah... nak buat cam mana? Nanti dia ganti lain." And so Abang Idin questioned, why was it that other parents could easily provide their children with handphone and his parents could not?

Our answers: Oh! If you want parents that could easily provide you with a handphone, you could easily change your parents! Just go la try ask if they want to easily adopt you. Then maybe you can easily move to their house and after that easily ask if they could easily buy you a handphone. (Meaner? definitely, hehehe)

Not so generous maybe. But mean? Actually, no, I don't think so.

To Abang Idin,

It's not that we could not afford one. I'm sure there are plenty of 'under water' handphones somewhere kat Pekan Rawang tu. We know but we don't care if others can easily provide their children with material rewards without demanding some kind of efforts & achievement. And even if they do, we don't want to and we choose not to understand why the bar is not raised as high as what we've set for you. One thing you can't change - you are our son. Tough luck! And as our son, you've got to start learning from now on, boy;

No pain, No gain!

And we want you to learn this, not because both your parents were not born into this world with silver spoons. Our childhood is our childhood. Yours is yours. Eating roti canai outside once in a blue moon was already a great childhood reward for us . You? You got to eat McDonald's every so often without much Q&A. Be thankful. We've come a long way.

But one thing you've got to learn early, the world out there is not one holy charitable organisation. And since you may not be sheltering under our roof forever & ever, you've got to knock this into your head, heart & mind: You want something? Work hard for it, dear! Earn it with your own sweat & tears. Your own stripes & strides. You will then truly appreciate the reward. It tastes much sweeter that way, you'll savour the after taste.

The intrinsic part of it would come naturally indeed, I would think. That you would challenge yourself to proof that you can do it, that you have what it takes, that you are not easily susceptible to negative influence and distraction for short term gratification. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, provided you move towards the end of the tunnel!

Having said that, the ends does not justify the means.

Don't go cracking your head overtime strategising to rob a bank to get the money to buy a handphone!!! Duhhh....

If the ends is a much longed Sony Ericsson handphone with camera & web access function, and the means is by way of you scoring 5As in UPSR - then I must say, you've earned it very well my boy!

Congratulations on a job well done! You deserve the reward. We're proud of you, Abang Idin.

Don't forget to say Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah.

Let me say one thing; THIS is just the beginning!


p/s I heard next is Manchester University? So that you can watch live Man U football match every so often? ( Hmmm... that's not that far from my wanting to study in US so that I could go to Disneyland? hehehe....mana la nak tumpah nya kuah kalau tak ke nasi? ) So I would say, GO FOR IT, BOY! You've got 5 years to prepare. Muahaha....

p/s If you haven't, you should thank Ayah ok? I invoked the motivation & dangled the invisible reward. He's the one paying for the tangible one. hehehe... pandai Ibu kan?


Pp said...

IbU :-)

This entry - is full of lessons lah. Baca pun best jer....tersenyum jer saya membacanya.

that part abt abang Idin being distracted cute lah!! I am proud lah of him like that. Sure jadi seorang yg gentleman abang Idin nanti.

CONGRATS abg IDIN for ur 5As and for winning the handphone. You so deserve it!!!

Focus time, keep ur eyes on that Man U stadium!! yes you can!!!

Akmal said...

Alright abang Idin! Congratz congratz! Dah dapat henset baru tu, lagi la seronok hehehe.

rad said...

Congrats to Abg Idin! He must be smiling widely now with the new hp!

What a relief now for you & Ayah!! Till the next round...hehehe

Madam Tai Tai said...

Abang Idin,

Congratulations on the 5As! I'm so glad you managed to get the reward yg di idam-idamkan tu.

D said...

yes, i understand your idea and concept of bringing up children. It's not an issue of affordability, but just raising children with the right values. Once in a while, extrinsic motivation in the form of material objects is apt. applause! applause!! congratulations to Idin and parents for the 5As. Can I sing Man United now? ;)

tireless mom said...

Dear Ibu

Congrats to Abg Iddin. In 12 years, he has changed his taste from a Nokia handphone to Sony Ericson eh. Good decision!

I think time has changed. The generation Y prefers the tangible rewards as opposed to our time, if dapat 5As, please allow us to go to boarding school or can we go to PD for picnic,... something in that line. Whatever it is instilling the right values is of utmost important. Have a good weekend dear.

13may said...

Thanks IBU for visiting my blog :)

arsaili said...

salam...congrats to abg idin and also ibu and ayah. Sujud syukur tak Idin?

This is a good parents is not as generous as other parents. Usually I wont get what I want..yealah selalu dipengaruhi kawan2...kekadang fikir my parents tak sayang kat kitakan. Tapi satu incident berlaku..bila kena major operation, my parents sanggup bergolak bergadai for the best medical treatment i can get.. it cost them about 25K kat private hospital with the surgeon from singapore. My mum pun last2 admitted sekali coz too worry abt my condition. After that..its change my perception 360 degree..kasih sayang bukan di ukur dengan kehendak kita, hadiah yg best, pakaian yg mahal etc..tapi kasih sayang ibu bapa ni memang sincere. Setiap apa yg mereka lakukan adalah untuk kebaikan kita, mengajar kita hidup abg idin, study not only for hadiah, tapi yourself..nanti dh berjaya bole beli apa yg kita nak with our own money. Beli dgn duit sendiri lagi best tau..ehehe. Teringat first time pakai handphone masa kat Uni..tu kira lambat..semua org dh well more advance...kita baru nak rasa pakai hp.

wokey ibu..nanti kita buat laksa penang sama2...tapi my version guna sardin dlm tin jer..tak cukup rajin nak rebus ikan dan buang tulang..ahaha

jabishah said...

Congrats Iddin! If I were you I'd ask for the latest frm SonyEricsson hehehe.. X1.

Now that's what I'm aiming for....hmmm.

ms hart said...

Congrats to Abang Idin and Ibu dan Ayah Abang Idin! That part on 'go ask if that rich parents would easily adopt you'..sooooo lah familiarnya!!! Tak mo pulak tu tanya!!! he he

Mummy Rizq said...

ibu... kalo abg idin study kat MU, bleh saya tompang umah dia sebab nak jimat travelling budget tak?? hee.. hee.. CONGRATS abg idin!

Anonymous said...

to iddin;

first of all, auntie KC says a big congratulations on yr recent UPSR. one down, 2 more to go...

to the groovy ibu;

i've got 2 words for you - positive reinforcement. good job! tee hee hee...

KC lah who else...

Helena said...

Congrats to abang iddin for getting 5As!

Ibu, Helena pun not keen nak kasi handphones pada the kids at such a young age. My primary children would always be the only one in class yg tak ada handphone tau.....

But obviously hadiah 5A they all nak handphone.... kasi chan la..... hehe

Kmar said...


Congratulations with Abg Idin´s achievement!! You must be one proud mom.

Tak sangka Abg Idin masa kecil dah menang hamper baby!! Cool!! .. eerrghhh... so kalau ada rezeki both of you dapat another baby (insyallah), boleh le enter lagi baby competition.. (wink..wink...). For sure jadi Juara!!

manlaksam said...

Terima kasih kerana ziarah blog Pak Man.
Tahniah untuk abang Idin.

Waterlily said...

Congrats to Abg Idin, to Ibu and Ayah too. That reward & motivation strategy works! Yeay..

Ibu, things like this only works when both parents stick to the rules and agree to the concept of no pain no gain. In my case, benda ni tak boley jalan lah Ibu.. the only villain at home is moi.

I baru je lepas bersilat tepis menepis pasal PS3. No..not with my son, with my other half :0. After eight hundred times of saying NO to his question 'I nak beli PS3, boleh tak?', I finally relented - ok lah, its DH750 kan? ', its about DH1,900'. 'WHATTT?! Why do you need this? Why is it so special?' 'Syafiq can play games with it..' 'He has X Box already.' 'err..we can access internet with it..' 'Well, we have 2 laptops, yours and mine.' '..err..we can also play DVD with it..' 'we have 2 DVD players, upstairs and downstairs'.. 'err..err..' '..ok lah, nak beli tak pe, but I want a nice garden set for the backyard. I saw one on promotion - only DH1700, harga sebenar kalau tak promo is DH2600.' ' kalau camtu, tak jadi lah nak beli PS3..'

'??...what the fish..? '

p/s Camtu lah keadaannya Ibu kalo sorang je strict..

Cherry said...

Aduhhh my "carrot" was a Laptop. Now Mak & Ayahandanya baru nak simpan duit for the "carrot"

IBU said...

Dear All,

Thank you for the dropping by & for the congratulatory messages for Idin.

Apologies for not being able to comment individually - maklum lah... era tanpa maid baru jer bermula masa tu.... huhu....aduh.... siksa jiwa raga!