I believe everything we do consistently is done because it has a pay off. It’s a theory.
Human beings, I believe, don’t do anything that doesn’t benefit them or someone/something they care about in some way: spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially or…you get the point. Human beings, I believe, naturally do what gets them “paid.” I’ve never met an exception.
If we never learn to tie our shoes it’s because someone will do it for us. If we create record contracts that screw the artist financially it’s because there’s no shortage of artists who’ll sign them and give us what’s theirs. If we play solitaire at work all day and don’t get anything else done it’s because we know the boss isn’t watching and goofing off makes us happier than our job does. If we make campaign promises and never keep them it’s because we’re being paid by lobbyists to do so and, besides, what’s the voter gonna do about it for the next four years. If we give ten percent of money to a church and spend the rest on ourselves it’s because, well, that works for us, even if it doesn’t for everyone else.
So, to stop the patterns of bad behavior…Moms refuse to tie a six year old’s shoes. Signable artists go independent. Bosses fire slackers. Voters remember (hopefully). I try to make you feel a little less content from time to time.
What would my life, my character, look like if no one who loved me allowed my bad behavior to pay off?
Would it stop?
This morning, while I’m thinking about why I do some of the junk I do, I’m trying to figure out what one kid’s bad behavior is getting them. Why would this kid of mine keep doing the same thing over and over again? There must be a pay off somewhere. And I think it’s time. I think when this kid does this one bad thing they know they’ll get attention from me, a lot of it. I’ll sit down and talk to them, undistracted. I’m wondering then if I stop acting like a distracted jerk if my kid will stop acting like a jerk too. Of course I have to figure out now what the pay off is for being a distracted jerk…I think it’s enough money to buy organic produce.
Parenting is hard. (Thanks mom and dad.) I should probably figure this out before this kid grows up to run a record label or work in congress.