Rewards for Trash

The resident housedog was fishing about in the trash container in the kitchen. Finding a treasure she headed for the living room to tear it into tiny little pieces. Instead of taking it from her, her master decided he would be a good guy and trade her the trash for a dog goodie. She was very happy with the trade. Actually she was so happy with the trade she immediately went to the kitchen trash container to find another item to trade for a goodie. Dropping the trash at her master’s feet she waited for her goodie. Thinking this was most clever he rewarded her. That was a huge mistake. Back she went to the kitchen trash container. If only we could learn that quickly!

Behavioral psychologists maintain that humans are not much different than house pets. If we are rewarded with a pleasant sensation or experience for particular behavior we will keep repeating the act as long as the pleasure continues. The problem is we soon tire of the reward and want a bigger or more intense one.

Fortunately for most of us there is more to being a human than behavior followed by rewards. We are also capable of intelligent thought that enables us to choose positive life-building behaviors. However, sometimes we need help. How grand that it is available. Whenever we ask, God hears and is eager to help.

Written June 24, 2004