Tuesday, 20 November 2007
What's in it for Me?
Tonight I went to the school with my husband and sister-in-law to hear Barbara Coloroso speak. What an amazing evening. When I heard she had been scheduled to come to town, I was quite excited. I have never read any of her work, although I have had one sitting in my pile of books to read for some time now, but I did see her on Oprah many years ago. It was especially exciting that she came to our little town of 2000 people.
One of the things she talked about really caught my attention. She discussed how we are a society that has taught our young people to do everything based on rewards. When children are in school they are rewarded points or prizes for good behavior. At home they are given allowances just for helping around the house. When these same young people get to college or university, they are still looking for the reward. What job pays the most? What is in it for me? She said when we reward children in this way, we are teaching them to think only of themselves and how they will benefit. Instead we should teach our children to do things for the kinds of feelings they get, and by doing so teach them to be caring human beings.
That got me thinking. My kids are often rewarded at school, in church and at home. I even reward myself. "If I lose so much weight, if I write so many words, etc...I will reward myself with ___ because I deserve it." In some ways I have forgotten how to do things just for the joy of accomplishing something and the satisfaction of a job well done.
There are many times when I question my desire to be a writer. I spend many hours writing and editing and daydreaming new ideas. So far I have very little to show for it. Often I ask my husband if it is worth the time and the effort I am putting into it if I never get my books published. He always tells me to keep going and I do. This is what I realized tonight...even if I never sell a book and always write only to have close family and friends read it, the monetary reward really isn't that important.
I love writing. I love telling a story and hearing the delight in my readers voices when they finish something I've written. Yes, it will be wonderful when I finally get published (positive attitude here), but that is just the icing on the cake. The true reason I do it is for the satisfaction of putting my words down and learning new skills in the process. In the end I have to do it because it is part of who I am and I love doing it. And if you can do something you love, isn't that the real reward.