TBS: Well-behaved children – Use the stick or (discounted) carrot approach?

Check out my 'Smoke and Mirrors' piece at The Big Smoke! A little bit snarky and cynical, but hey... ;) Screenshot 2014-06-30 16.28.05


Have we lost the ability as a society to do good without being incentivised for it?

Or is that me being a little too cynical?

Hearing of a “well-behaved kids’” discount at a cafe (GET A DISCOUNT OFF YOUR FOOD BILL FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR? IN CALGARY AND NICE, YOU CAN! originally published on Lost @ EMinormade me cringe and roll my eyes simultaneously (a strange sight on a train, let me tell you).


Well apparently there are now cafes in Calgary where you get a $5.00 discount for having “well-behaved kids.”


At first glance, I can see why this is a catchy idea. It can be argued this will encourage people to keep their kids in check. After all, what motivates people more than a discount? The recipients of the discount expressed their joy at being rewarded for their well-behaved daughter, which is delightful.

Yet, it seems slightly judgemental, slightly misplaced.


To answer that question, another must be asked. What does a financial incentive for good behaviour say about us as a society – particularly when it comes to the behaviour of children?

Granted, we live in a capitalist society where behavioural change is swift if it affects the hip pocket. Still, is this the best way to deal with a perceived “problem,” particularly in the case of well-behaved children? What is the problem that we are trying to solve with this type of incentive? Is targeting the parents the best way?

These café owners clearly think so.

Perhaps it is a little old fashioned to want society to encourage and espouse good values and behaviour for the sake of it, rather than for financial gain. To be fair, this seems like a well-intentioned move by the café – a “thank you” to parents for controlling their children.

However, not everyone will be fortunate enough to have well-behaved children, and it may be more effective to have “family friendly” hours.

I could be completely off the mark. It might be argued that I am hating for the sake of hating.

I do know, by all reports, that was a discount my parents never would have had the pleasure of receiving…


Check out the original piece here, and spend some time on the site, it has some awesome reading!

The Perception of Heroism

Sometimes I wonder what the fine line is between celebrating heroism and punishing or shaming similar behaviour in certain situations.

For example, if a lady running late at night for exercise was abducted, commentary may run along the lines of personal safety and the opinion of “well, she shouldn’t have been running out that late anyway”.

However if say, the same lady aspired to be an athlete and ran at night “so she could train as often as she could, or when others weren’t” people may instead see that as inspirational.

What is the difference?

Another example may be the heroics of civilians in dangerous situations – a non fire fighter running into a burning house to save a child: if he comes out safely with the child, he is often lauded as a hero, whereas if he is injured or puts others in danger, again the commentary will be quite different.

Perhaps our current society’s emphasis on personal and individual heroism is at fault – it makes people believe they need to be the ones who make the difference, the individual who inspires or is the hero, regardless of how that may affect the people around them or the risks that they take in the interim.

Isn’t it almost selfish? To want to be the “hero"?

…or is it simply human nature?  Simply a way of finding meaning for our lives?

On another scale, when does fighting for a cause, such as overthrowing a government (think Arab Spring) go from “crazy” and “putting yourself in undue danger” (because of the likelihood of capture and torture) to becoming “heroic” and acceptable…and “worth it”?

Is it different because it is a cause?

Or is heroism just in the eyes of the society of the day, or the society that matters to you?