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Rewarding Behavior

| Learning | August 21, 2013

(At the end of my first year of high school, my school’s annual awards night is coming up. Only those who actually win an award are invited to attend. My brother, having recently graduated, is going to accept his final awards.)

Brother: “Dude, it’s awards night. Why aren’t you dressed up?”

Me: “I’m not going.”

Brother: “What? Why?”

Me: “I didn’t get an invitation, so I’m not winning anything.”

Brother: “Dude, you’re a straight-A student; you’ve been making the honor role forever. Trust me, you’re winning something.”

Me: “Then why didn’t I get an invitation?”

(This goes back and forth for a while. Finally, my brother accepts that I’m not going, and he goes alone. When he comes back, he’s gob-smacked to learn that I was right, and I didn’t win anything. The next day, at school, I see my brother has taken the day off work, and come down to see the principal. My brother shares the conversation he has with my principal.)

Brother: “I want to know why [my name] didn’t make the honor roll.”

Principal: “Obviously it’s because his grades weren’t good enough.”

Brother: “That’s bull-s***. My brother is the smartest guy I know. He’s always made the honor roll.”

Principal: “Well, lots of kids have trouble adjusting to high school. He probably just found high school harder than he thought it’d be.”

Brother: “I don’t believe that. He works hard, and he studies hard. Pull up his records right now and check his grades.”

Principal: “I hardly see the point of—”

Brother: “PULL. UP. HIS. RECORDS.”

(Humoring my brother, my principal pulls up my records, and goes pale. My principal sees my 91% average, which is more than enough to qualify me for the honor roll. It turns out no one at my high school had made the honor roll in years, so the administration just stopped checking. I got my award, and apologies from my principal, a week later. Quite honestly, that’s the nicest thing my brother has ever done for me! Thank you, brother!)

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