Conversations: Paying Kids to Learn and Church Music

Dear Reader,

These are two separate topics that came up in conversations I had recently. One friend was telling me how she is now paying her son for correct math problems. He was making careless mistakes and his proficiency has increased a lot now that he gets cash (which he uses to buy legos) for correct answers. Now on one hand, people do get paid for their work. But on the other hand, isn’t it better to be motivated by other things? Maybe a real enjoyment of one’s work or a desire to help others? But the truth is that my kids have never really struggled with motivation so I don’t know what I would do if one of them was truly unmotivated.

And then I sat quietly through another conversation in which two friends discussed hymns that get sung at their churches. One of them knows I am a psalm-singer; I don’t think the other does. They talked about how they loved some of the old hymns. How they can be poorly done if they are slow and to organ music. How one of their churches manages to do them well musically. And then the topic came around to hymns they don’t like. How some just have no theology or bad theology. How at grandma so-and-so’s church they just don’t sing because the hymns are all so bad and they can’t agree with them. Is there ever an appropriate time to jump and say don’t you see this is why you should sing psalms? Yes, some hymns are good just like some Christian books are good but even C.S. Lewis and Calvin are not Scripture nor are the best hymns the Word of God. And what if I like this hymn and you despise it; who decides what is good, what is true? When we sing God’s Word we don’t have these issues.




5 responses to this post.

  1. I have never attended (or visited, that I know of) a church that just sings psalms. I do know that my church/family history has a lot of psalm-singing in it though. The old Dutch “Koraals”. I am wondering, do you also ever sing other songs with words taken directly from scripture? Just curious.


  2. That’s a good question, Hannah. We don’t but I have heard there has been some controvery at times about at least singing the other songs that are in the Bible but outside the book of Psalms, things like Miriam’s song after crossing the Red Sea or Jonah prayer. I really don’t know what the pro and con arguments would be. Our denomination’s publisher, Crown and Covenant, does both our psalter and CDs of the psalms being sung but I find hearing live people sing them is much much better than any recording I have heard.


  3. […] the motivation was not material wealth for its own sake but to be able to serve God and man. I had been thinking recently about motivating our children to do their schoolwork and whether it is … (not that I was thinking of doing so myself). Charlotte’s take on motivation is that grades […]


  4. […] find that certain topics tend to come up a lot for  a while? One recent one for me is the issue of how to motivate kids to do their schoolwork. Now, thankfully, mine don’t have much of a problem with this, but I still think about it. I […]


  5. […] it has as a topic a subject I also have been considering a lot this year. that of motivation (see this earlier post or this […]


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