You Only Deserve What You Earn

This phrase has become my daughter’s favorite recently.  She says she read it on a T-shirt of one of her classmates.  In this day of participation medals and trophies I cannot be more pleased that she relates to and appreciates this adage. Unfortunately, we live in a society of entitled weaklings who know no respect for others and are convinced they should be given every advantage in life without working for it.


Granted, positive reinforcement can be a strong motivator, but blatantly lying that someone is great or did a wonderful job when they clearly didn’t is counterproductive.  All this does is encourages the recipient of false praise to continue in their same pattern even if it is detrimental to themselves or others.  In the real world you don’t get a raise or promotion or bonus for doing a crappy job.  You fail, you get demoted or fired.  We must be kindly realistic with our kids, friends and family and tactfully provide correction and guidance when needed.  Off handed, wide sweeping negative remarks don’t help much either but leave one feeling useless, stupid and incompetent.  We don’t want that either.  We need to strike a balance of praise and discipline.

This is where knowing how to give proper discipline is key.  Discipline often carries negative connotations, but that needn’t be the case.  Discipline can be stern, admonishing or encouraging.  In either case the purpose should be for the individual to grow and learn from the experience.  Ever have a kid feel down about their performance on a test?  Properly applied discipline can both admonish and encourage.  There have been many times I’ve simply asked my girls if they liked how the outcome of their actions made them feel.  Typically, in those situations the answer is most often ‘No’.  So, instead of feeding them the answer or telling them they are still number one in my book I ask them what they could have done differently.  Generally, the response is, “Ask for help,” “Pay closer attention in class,” or “Do a better job studying” (which usually comes with a side of ‘ask for help’).

We have to empower our kids, not by babying them, but by helping them to learn the consequences of their actions.  Learning to reason for themselves why something went wrong and what they can do to fix it can do wonders for their self confidence.  It shows that even if something does fail or gets them in trouble it doesn’t always have to be that way.

Obviously, I still tell my girls I love them dearly.  What I want for them is to take positive action to improve so they truly deserve what they earn.

10 comments for “You Only Deserve What You Earn

  1. December 16, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    This is the best: “we live in a society of entitled weaklings”. Likely because it’s true! What ever happened to working at things?

    • December 17, 2015 at 11:16 am

      Glad you liked that. It really is sad that it feels like the days of working hard to build character regardless of our lot in life have gone by the wayside.

  2. Bev
    December 16, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    I think discipline has a negative connotation because people often interchange it with punishment, when the two (in my mind) are different things. Discipline, as you said, should help a child learn there are consequences for negative behaviors or actions, and as parents we need to help them understand why we don’t say or do or act in certain ways. I feel part of being a loving parent is disciplining our children, for it helps them to understand boundaries. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 17, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Thanks Bev. I’m sure your little daughter appreciates your view. I’ve learned that even though I’m grown and out of the house I still receive loving discipline from my parents and other older ones. We always need readjusting.

  3. December 16, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    That is such a great saying. So true.

  4. December 17, 2015 at 12:42 am

    That is great that you ask your daughters what they could have done differently in various situations rather than simply complimenting them to make them feel better. They learn so much more with your thoughtful and heartfelt method.

    • December 17, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Theresa thank you so much for your kind words. My mother always has taught that discipline is more than just punishment. Without reflection on how things could have been done differently the whole process becomes useless.

  5. December 18, 2015 at 10:59 am

    This is a great saying and I could not agree more with teaching our children that failing is okay and you will still get a trophy. I never understood the participation award. If my daughter doesn’t do her best and we know it we push. That is what good parents do in my personal opinion.

  6. Pamela James
    April 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    I love this post. Its great that you spoke without condemning or ranting. I see so many turn a deaf ear to others because they are being so negative, even if a point is valid no one hears. You took a different approach & managed to say it beautifully through the eyes of a child. Please don’t be offended if I worded my feelings incorrectly I don’t always explain myself well. Anyway awesome post & you have a smart little girl there. 🙂

    • April 28, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      No offense taken. You expressed yourself well. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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