Star System

Today I went to the January meeting of the Joint City County Committee working session at Durham City Hall.  There were about 9 elected officials there, plus two newspaper reporters, and about 12 concerned citizens. I was there to play a minor role in representing one group that was seeking funds.  The other group was trying to explain its progress in the 2nd year of a 10-year grant that it had received.  The money was largely from the federal government, but through a pass-through arrangement, Durham had allocated it and had some discretion over its use.

The group couldn’t provide any statistical measure of its progress.  Granted, the goal – to end homelessness – is kind of hard.  Certainly, it is a lot for a two-person staff to handle.  The City Council wanted measures, nonetheless.

I think that is why I can understand Rosie’s desire to have us set benchmarks for her own behavior.  Rosie wants “stars.” John already has stars for good behavior.  Its a great means of getting him on board to do the little things that are his “jobs:” brushing his teeth, dressing, cooperating…

Rosie wanted stars, but she changed her mind.  She wants “R’s.” So, “R’s” she gets.  Rosie represents a different set of challenges, though, as I may have alluded to in my Christmas letter.  Here are her “R’s:”

  • drink milk with lunch
  • drink milk with supper
  • carry plate to the sink after meals
  • go upstairs for bath with dad
  • brush teeth
  • put on pajamas
  • settle down quickly for stories

I would note that both Rosie and John are incentived to take their plate to the sink and to brush teeth.

If either gets 20 stars, they earn a dollar.  The dollar can be banked and taken to the “Dollar Store.


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