Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

rewards September 11, 2012

Filed under: anecdotes — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:48 pm
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This is a true story…  I am required not to give out any names.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wasn’t a very good reader.  She could read all the words, but she couldn’t make sense of sentences.  She was convinced she couldn’t read.  One day, her school decided to have a read-a-thon to raise money for their new playground.  They would give prizes for the students who raise the most money and who read the most books, in primary, and in intermediate classes. The little girl, who was in primary, indicated an interest in participating in the contest.  Her mother and she sent out messages to every adult they knew, inviting them to pledge per book read.  The friends, knowing  the little girl needed encouragement in her reading, gave generously.  The little girl read as much as she could, and she raised a lot of money.

Another little girl (let’s call her B), also in primary raised more.  The girl who had earned the most in intermediate had earned less than half what our little girl had, but because the primary girl B had earned more, our girl missed a prize.  The four winning students had their pictures taken for the newspaper.

The little girl coveted the fame of appearing in the newspaper.  She determined that the next year, she would win the contest and get into the newspaper herself.

So it happened, that the contest ran the next year, and the little girl did earn the most money.  She waited for the newspaper photographer to come.

Days past.  Weeks past.

Eventually, her mom asked why she was so gloomy, and the little girl explained.  She had done all this work because she wanted to get her picture in the paper, but they weren’t going to get their pictures taken this year.  She sniffed, and a tear rolled down her sweet little cheek.

The next day, her mother phoned the principal and explained.  The principal said that they had completely forgotten about the newspaper, but that indeed, they would definitely call them to come take a picture of the winners.

And so it was that the little girl showed up in the paper, cut up many copies to send with pride to the people who had sponsored her.

Her reading phobia had disappeared, because the accomplishment had proved to her that she was a good reader.  One of the best in the school.

No one knew the real desire and motivation behind her achievement, except her mother.  Luckily, the mother was able to go behind the scenes and ensure that the desired reward was received.  The accomplishment was a big deal.  It had changed her outlook on reading, and her belief in her ability to do things.


We all deserve to have our accomplishments recognised.  A small symbol of achievement means something, whether it’s an Olympic medal, a Girl Guide badge, or a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship, we stand proud in knowing we have earned this status.

Playing fields are not equal.  What is a casual thing to one person can be a monumental accomplishment to someone else.  So help them celebrate!

Listen for the cues.  Try to acknowledge great achievement when you see it, even if to you, it doesn’t seem like a big deal.  Maybe it’s a much, much bigger deal than you think.  Don’t put off recognition.  If it’s not timely, you’re minimizing both the effort and the accomplishment.


One Response to “rewards”

  1. I think it’s important to give praise for even the smallest accomplishment to offer encouragement. Some need it, some don’t but for those who do even that little recognition is a boost. Yours was a lovely story to illustrate the point Shawn. x Hugs

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