Research from the fields of social psychology, behavioral economics, and business management suggests monetary rewards for wellness program participation are not effective in promoting long-term well-being. A new HES white paper — How Financial Incentives/Disincentives Undermine Wellness — supported by more than 20 studies, concludes:
Have you wondered what happened to pickup games, bike rides, and playing catch in the back yard? What about tag, or throwing a ball over the roof to a waiting friend (there’s a name for this game that I’ve forgotten), or building a fort in the woods? Have we filled all of our time and our children’s time with structured activities that leave little space for spontaneity?
“Why is lettuce in our prayer?” (… let us thank Him for our food) asked our then 4-year-old before digging into his favorite breakfast of “scream cheese and bagos.” When the kids were young we started daily family breakfasts because it was the one time we were all together when the house was reasonably quiet. The early struggles (getting out of bed at 7:30 on summer mornings was not fun for our preteen daughter) subsided, and then there was disappointment on the rare morning we didn’t eat together.
With summer and family reunion season approaching, we’re reminded that rituals, customs, and family traditions add a rich texture to life. They restore balance in a society pushing us toward imbalance.