Thursday, January 3, 2008

Incentives

Yesterday and today my niece and nephew came to visit while my brother and his wife were on a several-day cruise in the Caribbean.

I think I deserve a cruise.

Anna, my three-year-old niece, whose standard volume is eleven, was giving my mother some difficulty during supper last night. My mother, a Baptist, said "Anna, don't you want to eat your carrots and be an angel?" Anna replied, "NO I WANNA BE A PINK POWER RANGER!!!!"

Anna's Catholic.

Today Max was playing the game Scramble with his cousin, Stephen. They had each won one game. The timer was ticking as they were both furiously trying to put their shapes into the holes. When Stephen finished first, Max burst into loud wails and ran from the room.

I began putting the game away. After a minute, Max returned like a beaten and pathetic puppy. He appeared to be expecting sympathy.

I took his hand, "Max, you are what is called a sore loser."

"You're calling me a loozah?!" cries he.

"No Max," I said, "A 'sore loser' is a person who likes to win all the time and cries if he doesn't win--A real winner is a person who, even when he loses, stands up and shakes hands."

He was unmoved.

I decided to use the method we often employ to get him to eat any non-peanut-butter-and-jelly-based meal: "Max, you can't grow up to be a Gamecock if you don't eat your food."

So I said slyly, "When the Gamecocks lose they still shake hands..."

Max: "But they always lose."

Sad but true. Still Max shook Stephen's hand.

So there was a win for the Gamecocks today.
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