Bribery is Essential for Good Parenting

Six months ago I was worried about Big Son’s academic commitment. Or lack thereof. While giving him treasures of wise counsel, I also, attempted to bribe him with the promise that IF he did well and scored himself a university scholarship, then I would gift him with a trip to Hawaii. In my head, I thought, ‘HA, that aint never gonna happen!’  Well, Big Son was so inspired by my treasures of wise counsel (ie.lecturing, shouting, ranting, guilt-tripping, crying, threatening), that he worked hard enough to earn himself not one, but TWO full academic scholarships to TWO different NZ universities. Of course he wanted to know if that means he gets TWO trips to Hawaii. #EverHopeful.

Im very proud of Big Son. And very grateful, because I was psyching myself up to take out a new mortgage so we could afford to pay for his university education next year. Now, it seems I just need to take out a much smaller mortgage so I can pay for him to go gallivanting around Hawaii…

Today was the school prizegiving/graduation ceremony for Big Son and Big Daughter. My wonderful niece and nephew came over last night to help make lolly leis and then I spent the morning making more of them. And also trying my hand at making a money lei. I had grand visions of me embracing my #fiaShow #fiaProud #fiaFierce Samoan mum’ness…cheering very loudly for my children…drowning them in layers of lei’s…busting out a siva dance move or two as I stormed them on the stage…hitting the furniture…hugging the Principal…crying…

Then I got to the prizegiving. It was reserved and very businesslike. Students weren’t allowed to cheer and there were set times appointed for clapping. Not a single other parent came up with gaudy lei’s for their child. As the ceremony progressed, my inner #fierceProudMum got a little more restrained, a little more quieter, a little more shy. So by the time my kid went up, I was dying a little inside as I walked up front to put lei’s on them, feeling  101 pairs of eyes on me. ‘Ewwww look at that fob mother!’ Is what I was imagining they were saying. So I comforted myself with the thought that I would never have to see any of those people ever again – and went ahead and put leis on my children. Every time their names were called.

Big Son had to go up three times and the final two were reserved for the end ‘finale’ as they announced him as the recipient of each scholarship separately. Yes, I cried a little bit. And when I pulled out that red garland of US dollars, there was a combined indrawn breath of awe from the audience and it was a total #slamDunkSamoanMum moment.

But I couldn’t relish it or take lots of pics of my  children covered in lei’s because I suddenly realized that the ceremony had gone on so long that I was waaaay late to pick up Bella and Little Daughter from school. I dropped everything and ran out of there, hoping and praying my daughters hadn’t been abducted by child-stealers. Or (more likely) that they weren’t huddled in a bedraggled heap by the side of the road, sobbing their hearts out.

I broke every driving regulation and speeding limit but I was still super late to get my little daughters. And yes, they were crying. And they gave me those pleading, bewildered eyes that say…”Mum, how could you abandon us? Why??? Don’t you love us?” And Little Daughter kept crying all the way home – “I thought you got in a car accident and maybe you died. Or maybe youre in a coma in hospital and we have no Dad and now no Mum and we will be orphans here in New Zealand and nobody will get us from school and nobody will take care of us and I will miss you forever!”  Yes, stab me with a blunt bread knife. Repeatedly in the heart. And it still wont equal how bad I felt.

So what did I do? What any parent with half a brain would do. I took them to Wendy’s for ice cream and dinner. And more ice cream. Then back at home I let them watch their fave TV show even though its a school day and they’re not supposed to watch TV. And apologized profusely and hugged them repeatedly.

So yeah, a day of incredibly highs. And lows. And absolute relief and prayers of thanksgiving because nobody got abducted or car-crashed or orphaned.  And all is well in the Young House.

I blinked and my baby is all grown up and graduating from high school! How did this happen? – The only student at his school awarded two full university scholarships today. #Proud #FiaShowMumRightHere!


8 thoughts on “Bribery is Essential for Good Parenting”

  1. Oh…you make me laugh so much!! I think you are Mother of the Year Lani, so don’t beat yourself up. You have done a great job to raise your fine babies, and become a world famous author too, and thank you for sharing, it makes us realise that yes – even a super woman is human too…..

  2. I absolutely loved this! Read it twice because its everything I would do & it’s inspiring!

  3. What a wonderful story Lani and good onya for having the courage to walk up and faaula your kids, if only school’s here in NZ were like schools in Samoa when it comes to prize givings & graduations…A big faamalo and congratulations to you proud parents and most of all to your kids…Lord Bless.

  4. I love it!!! Next time throw caution to the wind and just DANCE your fobness out there haha.(#whocares#LOL) …but then you might get outta control and be even more late to pick up little daughters. So proud of you and your children’s wonderful achievements and ever-so insightful rationalities of what made you late (hee) ..just goes to show how much they value and treasure you, your counsel and wisdom and also reflects that you’re both wonderful parents to raise such bright children. I look forward to the next chapter..in child-bribery haha..or when we get to see Big Son here in Hawai’i nei…oh ..they have good universities here too 🙂 xo

  5. congratulations Mum what an outstanding achievement for your son, and that was soooo funny thank you so much for sharing, I really enjoy your blogs of your family xxoo

  6. Congrats! I wish my parents had given me that option. Only they didnt because I was a a/b student all my life and they knew I’d get it, so instead, they promised to get me a computer (that they already bought and had stashed). Smh…. I’m jealous…

    This is a good tip to remember though….The fiance and I are talking about kids soon (after the wedding of course)….and well, I’m a pushover so I’ll need some good bribes up my sleeves…

  7. Whew!~ i was getting dizzy a bit there reading. I am Laughing Out Loud. You are so crazy-funny. You have just earned the super mum award. I guess bribing works, but I think he’s naturally brainy like his mum. So when is the Hawaii trip? let us know. Remember you have ‘aiga(s), ohana here. And I’m glad you were brave enough to walk out of that horrible so called mexican food, restaurant, taco bell. hahaha

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