Friday, December 08, 2006

Punishment and Reward

I believe punishment offers the reciever no chance to change the act that promted a punishment. The deed is done, the punishment administered, in my opinion nothing is learned except when you screw up, it is painful.
Another layer of bitternes added to the skin of the receiver.

Ever notice how our mistakes seem to count more than our triumphs.
As children most of us are punished for the things we do wrong, and receive little reward for the things we do right.
I wonder what this world would might be like if right from the start of a persons life they were never punished, corrected yes, taught dicipline by example, yes.

What if our lives were based on the reward system rather than punishment.
Sure, there would always be the individuals who would deviate but, would the majority of us feel better about ourselves, find more joy in our lives.

I remember in college hearing a story about Thomas Edison.

Out of the many attempts Mr.Edison made to create the light bulb there was a situation when one of his young assistants, upon completion of a light bulb, had accidently broken it.
Rather than punish the assistant, when the next light bulb was completed Mr Edison handed it to the young assistant to carry over to the table...
The assistant was problaby amazed that he was given a chance to try again without any punishment.
Of course, this time, the assisstant was extremely careful.

Giving others an chance to make mistakes and learn from them without condemnation might be the biggest reward we could ever have to offer.


At 8:19 AM, Anonymous my backyard said...

So true about the emphasis on mistakes over triumphs.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger m.m.crow said...

I'd like to suggest a book by Alfie Kohn called Punished by Rewards. It talks about the repercussions of both punishment and reward systems as applied at home, school and in the work-place. It's a totally different way of thinking, culturally and a really good read. I read it while I was working in a group home for teenage boys and it clarified alot. It's also been helpful in parenting.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Rethabile said...

True enough. We end up with people cringing at the thought of trying and failing (punishment), instead of people bursting and hoping for the chance to try reward).

At 5:10 PM, Anonymous khambagirl said...

Thank you so much for this post. I used your story about Edison today with some students, and it helped open them up for a discussion. And then I wrote about the experience. Thanks again!

At 6:27 PM, Blogger NuttersNotes said...

Nice thought....I liked the Edison story. In handing the bulb immediately to the student, there was Positive no means was it a reward.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger R's Musings said...

This is an interesting prompt. I like your response.

At 12:35 AM, Anonymous tinker said...

So much truth in this post! Natural consequences are usually enough punishment on their own. Positive reinforcement (even if only in the form of a second chance) can work wonders if given a chance as Edison demonstrated.
Great post.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I love that story about Edison - of course you're right, reinforcing positive behaviour is more profound than punishing bad.
Much peace, JP


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