Sunday, September 18, 2016

Brownie Bribery

Mr. Devin has talked to me since the day he was born. He would just babble non-stop and now there are times if I'm lucky to say anything because he just keeps talking. Because of his constant mouth motion, it was surprising to me that he has extreme stage fright.

Earlier this summer was his first opportunity to give a talk in Primary. And it didn't go so well. He basically played with the cupboard doors behind the podium the entire time. If I could get him to say anything, he would drop the last syllable of the word and put an ee on the end. He reverts to this ee sound when he is nervous or being cute.

About a month and a half later, he was asked to say the prayer in sharing time. He prays all the time at home. All by himself. I thought he got this. But his prayer experience proved worse than the previous talk. He refused to say anything. No talking by himself. No repeating what I whisper in his ear. He would not fold his arms. Nothing. I just said the prayer for him so Primary could carry on.

Granted his Primary teachers tell me he talks in class. And participates. But sharing time.... Sharing time he is basically just warming the chair while listening. At least he is listening! Forget when he is asked to speak into the microphone, he really doesn't talk much at all with all the kids. He knows the words to EVERY single song they have learned. He sings them at home. But during sharing time, not so much. I'm sure hoping he will grow out of this. But I wasn't sure what to do with him until then. And what if he never learns to open his mouth in front of others--that is a life skill!

That brings us to today. He was asked to share the scripture. Given his past Primary speaking track record, I can already guess what would happen. I needed a plan. Something to convince him to open his mouth and speak the words correctly. No funny ee business. Just repeating after me.

I'm all for intrinsic rewards. Where the feeling of doing a good job and pleasing yourself are enough. But given the situation, extrinsic rewards (aka bribery) seemed like a better option. I'm not above bribery for the moment so hopefully he can have a good experience and eventually find the intrinsic value.

Before church I told Devin if he said his scripture, correctly and with his normal voice, he could have ice cream when we come home. We have tiny cups in the freezer that I can just grab one and give to him. But no. He didn't want ice cream. He wanted chocolately chocolate brownies. Alright. Fine. We can make brownies for the whole family if he shared the scripture. However, if he didn't then no one would get brownies.

As I dropped Devin off to Sunbeams, I told Devin that I would come back to help him with the scripture. I reminded him about the box of brownies we had at home and asked how he could earn them. He told me that he was going to share his scripture, talk into the microphone and use his normal voice.

Still not sure what to expect, I returned at the end of sharing time. We got up to read his scripture.

And this happened when we got home.

Brownie bribery at its finest my friends.

Did he pronounce everything correctly? No. Was he still nervous? YES! Did I have to remind him to not put the ee sound on the end? Yes.

But. BUT did he share his scripture? Yes. And could the other children understand him? Yes!

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