We all have the memory of a time when someone gave us a sticker for a job well done and with this trend still going it seems generations to come will share the same memories.
At school the definition of a good day was getting a sticker from the teacher for something you did well. You’d march proudly to the front of the class to receive this badge of honour and then spend hours telling your fellow classmates, the dinner lady and the supply teacher exactly how you’d managed to wangle this. It didn’t matter that by the end of the day it was starting to get furry from your school jumper and peel off, it was still hanging on and that was all that mattered. By the time the final bell rung the greatest thing about having a sticker was just around the corner-the look on your mums face. Then it was mums turn smugly drop into conversations with the other mums that her child had received one of these rare stickers, to call dad, drop in on the grandparents on the way home and then more than likely let you have sweets after tea or your favourite pudding. Then at bedtime this slightly drooping sticker would be gently peeled off and stuck on the wall for everyone to see. For years this accolade would be remembered, discussed and celebrated throughout generations.
Trips to the dentist
It’s not just schools that keep a stack of stickers for their very best stars, dentists reel them out too for fillings, wobbly teeth and getting through the trauma of braces. If a pupil returns from a trip to the dentist wearing one of these stickers all other pupils know something serious happened in that chair and questions are not to be asked. The only appropriate reaction is a bow of the head.
Badges have their time too
Similar to the sticker is the badge. Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows and Brownies give out badges which have been earned by the wearer through a series of brutal challenges, for example road safety or skipping. There will have been grazed knees and perhaps some tears along the way but never the less a goal has been achieved and a badge has been stitched onto their sash for everyone to see.
Honour the sticker
Stamps in a school book simply aren’t the same, you can’t walk around with your school book open pointing at the stamp because your class mates would simply think you were big headed and probably not talk to you at lunch. Getting a sticker, badge or mini plastic trophy is to a child what a gold medal is to an Olympic athlete and should always be greeted with heaps of praise and a bag of sweets.
Kerry Boulton enjoys working with children, here she looks at very simple rewards which work. Writing for Harris Screen Print