And so, Kor Kor has completed the eight sessions of the Pebbles programme at The Rock School. I am very happy to report that he no longer has any mental obstacles and is able to scale the walls without much difficulties. YAY! There is still a lot of room for improvement with regard to his skills, but I believe that is a small issue. Mind over body, all he needs is technical lessons and more practice.
Given the drama we had at the beginning, how did he manage to go from CANNOT to CAN in five lessons? I shall be very blunt and honest – yes, I bribed him, in addition to lots more scolding. There’s a Chinese idiom called 狗血淋头, which literally translates into ‘drenched in dog’s blood’, meaning berate harshly. Yep, that’s what I did for the first three lessons – scold scold scold after each lesson, all throughout dinner and the way home.
Very luckily, some toys which I had ordered online arrived then and I decided to use them as bribes. I told Kor Kor that he would be allowed to choose one toy if he managed to climb to the top of the wall. After he succeeded, I told him that at the next lesson he would have to climb the wall twice during the class to get another toy.
By the sixth lesson, there was no need for any more bribes or scolding. Kor Kor looked forward to the lessons and would skip and dance on the way to class. He often said that he liked rockclimbing during the interval between the weekly lesson.
I guess the thing is, I KNEW he could do it, but he did not know it. He thought he could not, and the lack of confidence contributed to his fear and reluctance to try. Thus, once there was some external motivation spurring him on, he was more willing to put in effort and could do it without much difficulties. And once he knew he could, the problem was solved.
Hmmm.. perhaps bribery in itself is not such a good idea. Personally, I would not be willing to provide constant bribes. Huh, I would be mighty pissed off if Kor Kor had expected rewards for doing what he should be doing anyway at every lesson! I am glad Kor Kor did not even ask for any reward himself when I stopped offering him bribes. I think a bribe or two as a push is ok, much like the reward system for daily chores – once the boys got used to it, there is no longer a need for stars and they do what they are supposed to do as a habit.
I hope Kor Kor has learnt a life lesson here – that he has to TRY before he knows whether he can, or whether he likes it. Well, if he hasn’t learnt this lesson by now, at least I can remind him of his rockclimbing experience!
[I am also really happy that Kor Kor was very well-behaved throughout the course! (other than whining and crying and refusing to try la) He was able to understand instructions and obeyed the teachers, never getting too rowdy with the other students, always queued up and waited patiently for his turn. Allow me to show off and feel proud of him!]