If you'll consider an opinion from a leading international authority about paying students monetary rewards for achieving good grades, start with The Economist which reports on this phenomena. Some of our families at MUS have experimented with similar tactics. It's something for each family to decide, and while cash may seem an uncomfortable goal for students, it is a goal for adults. Again, families should think through the implications of rewarding students for achieving goals. As we like to encourage families around here, each boy has his currency which communicates value to him. Sometimes it may be cash. More often than not, I bet it's something else, like freedom to do something, an experience, continuing some activity which causes the family to sacrifice.
That said, maybe another source for discussion could come from another respected voice, Dr. Peter Gott, MD, who writes about teen pressures in today's column. His take on the subject appears familiar to eyes and ears keen to the realities surrounding college prep school life, and I couldn't improve on his perspective.
I will take this opportunity to give a shout out to the excellent work that our Lower School counselor Catherine Schuhmacher provides on a daily basis with regard to providing council to both students and parents. She keeps a lot of us sane with her empathetic and practical wisdom. My bet is that she would applaud Dr. Gott's words, encouraging a family discussion on the matter.
Summer is a great time for these family "walks and talks." Please listen to these boys, moms and dads. They've earned the right to be heard as maturing young adults. Maybe these two articles can help spur conversation?