You Get a Sticker

Brucesnyder 315 003

The Snyder family owes a debt of gratitude to R. Stanton Avery, a gentlemen who passed away 15 years ago. So, thank you Mr. Avery … for inventing stickers. They have become an invaluable tool in our household. The little adhesive pictures of the Wonder-Pets, Dora the Explorer and other lovable cartoon figures are helping Sage and Brayden learn about responsibility. Whenever our kids do what is required of them – such as cleaning up their toys or following proper potty procedure – they get a sticker, or two or three.

This is a concept you’ll find in the world of sports, especially college football. My unofficial count has 35 Division 1 Teams putting stickers on the helmets of players for game-changing individual or team plays. For example, Appalachian State coaches give out a little mountaineer decal for touchdowns or big hits. Similar practices can be found at Clemson with paw-print decals, at Ohio State with buckeye leaf stickers, and at Florida State with little tomahawks pasted on. There are many college teams that do not believe in handing out stickers, with the rationale being that football is a team game and that individual accomplishments should be secondary. Regardless of how you feel about college football’s inner workings, for us, awarding stickers has been an incredible tool.

My wife, Charisse, gets full credit for coming up with the “star chart.” Each member of the family has his or her name on a giant poster. To the right of our names go the stickers whenever warranted. At one time, Sage struggled somewhat with using the potty, but since learning she’d get a cupcake sticker or a Team Umizoomi sticker, she has not only been excited about using the toilet but also has gotten everything in the toilet. She has even gone so far as to offer to help us potty train Brayden.

So the next time you’re having a problem with your kids not picking up their clothes or not doing their duty (literally), just think about R. Stanton Avery’s invention, and I bet you will see your sticky situation peel away.

Bruce Snyder is the sports director at Fox Charlotte. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Charisse; daughter, Sage; and son, Brayden.