Benny: Man, you think too much! I bet you get straight A’s and shit!
Smalls: No, I got a B once. Well, actually it was an A minus but it should have been a B.
Benny: Man, this is baseball, you gotta stop thinking! Just have fun. If you were having fun, you would have caught that ball!
(from The Sandlot, 1993)
I got a lot of A’s as a kid. A lot. I was, like, a genius. Gifted even. (/snark)
After hearing my classmates brag about their monetary awards for good grades ($20 an A, $10 a B and so on), I was rather annoyed. All I got for my good grades was encouragement and praise. Who wants that?
When I was 11-years old I found the courage to bring this up to mom and dad. I offhandedly suggested that they get in line with other Glenelder Elementary parents. Mom laughed. She must have done the math in her head and realized she’d be paying out over $100 each quarter just for my grades.
“No, mija,” dad replied.
Then he started with the lecture. Oh no. When we got to a certain age, we no longer were spanked. We were lectured. That was worse. While a spanking only affected the wrongdoer and was over in a few minutes, the lecture often involved all siblings and lasted half an hour. Whenever Danny got in trouble or decided to talk back, I’d have to sit through that lecture too. The time paled in comparison to the guilt. Dad was good at making us realize how much we’d disappointed him and mom. I still dread those lectures. Actually, dad didn’t lecture this time. He told a story with a lesson (close enough).