Ticks for Bama


Last February after many failed attempts at keeping the kids in Bible club under control (rewarding those who obeyed, punishing those who didn’t) I finally found something that worked…Mr. John’s tick sheet.

There’s nothing elaborate about this system, in fact most of my tick sheets are on the back of a cereal box like the original one pictured above.  I did use a notebook a few times but didn’t continue, (wasn’t big enough) and during the summer went as far as using a posterboard, but find the cereal box works best because it can easily be folded up and carried in a backpack.

Yesterday afternoon after Bible club one of the boys was on my porch scanning the tick sheet, then looked up with shock and said “hey Bama has more than me!”  Now he was referring to “Obama” (not hard to figure out where the name came from) but everybody calls him Bama for short.  He was surprised because Bama  doesn’t answer lots of questions in Bible club (he is younger and it’s harder for him to comprehend what I’m teaching) while he did.

His question was obvious…How can somebody who answers less questions than me have more ticks?  I told him ticks where given out not according to how many answers you give, but how hard you work.


Children today live in a world where the most intelligent and gifted are usually rewarded.  In my opinion this is unfortunate because there are children like Bama who have a hard time with tasks others can do easily, but it’s also necessary because there has to be a standard to evaluate success (if you get an A in the class then you’ve done a very good job). The problem is people like Bama have to sometimes work two or three times as hard for that A as others.

The answer isn’t to lower the standards of success, but instead celebrate hard work and obedience MORE THAN achievement.  Particularly for the Bama’s of the world.

If Bama’s having more ticks than him shocked this young man, then seeing who had the most ticks would have given him a heart-attack.  Currently in the lead with fourteen ticks is a young boy who struggles more than anybody else answering questions, in fact if he ever does answer one it’s because somebody whispers him the answers.

He didn’t ask me why that boy was in the lead but I could have told him

  1. He’s almost always the first one to Bible Club, and almost NEVER misses a day
  2. He LOVES our songs and I can always hear him singing louder than everybody else
  3. EVERY DAY he comes after Bible club for another Bible story at my house
  4. He’s brutally honest with me about the hard questions (confesses openly he will go to Hell right now if he dies)
  5. And most of all he obeys me

One story sticks in my mind..more than anything island children love to eat good food.  And because of this of course they love MY food.  85% of the time I refuse to give any out, not because I’m an evil person, but word travels fast (people found out I gave Bama five peanuts last Saturday morning and were upset).  Because of this I’m very careful about cooking lunch or dinner and eating it outside.  One morning I was cooking some hot dogs (a favorite of the kids) and heard a voice at the door.  The tick leader wanted a story.  I calmly told him I was eating lunch and would have to do it later.

Now the smell of hot dogs being cooked would lead to asking for (or demanding) one almost every time…but he without a word turned around and left.  I was honestly in a state of shock expecting a big argument, but was met with simple obedience (he was rewarded with bread later).

We do live in a culture where rewards are given out to the especially gifted or intelligent and that needs to happen.  But there are moments God gives us to reward others, and we have a responsibility in those moments to honor the Bama’s and Chave’s (my tick leaders name) of the world because they deserve it.

After I announced him as tick leader Chave jumped up and started doing his “victory dance.”  I’m not usually a fan of dancing but let him do it because there aren’t too many opportunities for him to break out a victory dance in front of friends. May we live in a world where the children who walk away even though the smell hot dogs can perform their victory dance.

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