Most people probably do not enjoy receiving recognition in a way that is gushing or reeks of flattery. But I think most people do appreciate being appreciated.
And I think the above truths apply to our children, as well.
Right before Christmas, our P.T.O. gave gifts to teachers and staff. Some parents chose to go out of their way to give Christmas cards with kind notes to staff and others gave gifts. Among the generous and thoughtful things that came my way, the most meaningful was from a student who expressed appreciation for my teaching efforts. Being valued made those staff members (and me) feel uplifted.
Next week in chapel students who worked hard second term will receive recognition with Honor Roll and High Honor Roll certificates. In addition, students who did not reach honor roll level but still improved will get awards. Having their work noticed will be a good thing for these students.
These are all things that take some significant effort. But there are other things we can do that are short, sweet, and non-taxing to the wallet or our calendar.
How about noticing little things? And simply saying you notice and appreciate them.
Did your child actually pick up his socks? Notice and give a little shout out.
Did your recalcitrant student put in some good effort (regardless of the grade earned)? Let him or her know that you are proud.
Did your teenager answer a question with more than a grunt? Maybe a simple thanks would go a long way (but do not expect him or her to let you know you did something good.)
And that really is the point. Do not do this to accomplish some bigger purpose. No one likes to be manipulated. Do it because it makes someone else feel good.
I know there are many who subscribe to the philosophy that people do not deserve praise for simply doing what they should be doing anyway. And I understand that sentiment. Quietly and quickly noticing that someone went beyond expectations or even simply improved, however, is of real value. Consider adding it to your repertoire this new year.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd