A few months ago I received a large manila envelope in the mail. It came from my mother, and it contained an award certificate that I had apparently received. In the 7th grade. My mother, bless her heart, is somewhat of a packrat. And I mean that in the best, most positive sense of the word.
In a way, I’m glad she kept it for so long. You never know when a 20-year-old, partially signed, dubiously worded award certificate will be needed—maybe for a smart-alec blog entry. Or, maybe, if I need another job some day, I can add it to my résumé: contributed to the physical well being of the youth of our nation. Impressive.
Come to think of it, my physical fitness level has been in a long, steady decline ever since I received that “award.” Could it be that Alfie Kohn was right when he wrote the controversial book, Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes?