Praise: Your Gift to Someone Else
Give the gift of praise.
Two brothers together....easy to find words of praise.
Praise is one of the most powerful ways that we can connect with others.
It is a way to validate to another individual that what they have done has been completed well and deserves recognition. It reaches to the core of the recipient and can lead someone who may be questioning their value to feel confidence they may not have felt previously.
It is important to let someone know what they are doing well. It is equally important to let them know what needs to improve..
Giving sincere accolades for a job well done will encourage desired behaviors to be repeated and even improved. For some individuals it is a highly motivating incentive.
Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it' when things are tough— Richard M DeVos
Balance is the key
Children and adults alike can read our body language and the tone in our voice. Use of sarcasm and curt remarks creates an overall tense atmosphere so when praise is finally used it falls on deaf ears.
Establish early on a positive. sincere tone and demeanor with those with whom you will come in contact. That does not mean you need to gush all of the time. Correct when you need to and praise when it is appropriate.
As I grew up, my parents liberally praised me for a job well done. They did, however, scold me when it was called for as well. I believe that is what is required...balance . Praise, encourage, cheer on while being willing to scold and fuss when someone is not trying to do his or her personal best. To be more politically correct, I should have said, redirect as needed .
Give this gift thoughtfully and judiciously.
As he learns, I learn how to praise him.
No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.— Mary Kay Ash
Super -praise is an extremely effective type of praise. Praising someone sincerely and effusively in front of at least one other person is known in some circles as super praise. It verifies for the recipient that the work, task, job, favor was well done. Done so well in fact that is should be publicly acknowledged. That is powerful.
It is one thing to be privately told that you did a great job. It is quite another to have those words said in front of at least one other person. And, while it may make the recipient feel a little ill at ease for a moment, the message is out there: 'You have done such a good job that I want others to know it."
A Remarkable Young Woman
She was a remarkable young woman and I know she still is although time and space separate us. She knew how to praise so that those who were on the receiving end of the praise felt they were a key part of the whole school and without them things would just not work well.
As the principal, she laced up her tennis shoes that she wore with her shirtwaist dresses and headed out onto the campus to actively oversee all that was happening. She was definitely hands on and knew what was happening in our school. So, when it is was time to praise, she could do it sincerely because she really was aware of what was happening. To be praised by her was meaningful for that reason.She often would put a hand on your shoulder or on top of your hand as she was praising. There is no doubt that the words she spoke were said with sincerity
Peromnia Grant, someone who gives the gift of praise effectively
It was almost twenty years ago that I was working with parents at a small school in Daytona Beach. There are people that you meet in your lifetime that even if you lose touch with them temporarily, you can contact them and it as if all of the years fall away. Just the saying the name of the person brings back a flood of remarkable memories. Peromnia Grant is one of those special people. She is the first person that I have ever known that used super praise.
Peromnia is someone with whom you can always rekindle a relationship even if time has passed. She is someone that, when you are in her company, you just automatically feel better. Better about yourself. Better about every thing.
Neither too much nor too little
In the brief video that follows, the speaker says ...
We should treat praise like food...no child should starve from a lack of it and no child should become obese from too much of it
Carefully chosen words
That little school closed a few years ago. Peromnia is no longer a principal. She has moved on to serve her county as an Assistant Superintendent for Volusia County Schools, Florida. I am not surprised. She was destined to make a lasting mark on the educational system. She has made a lasting impression and feeling of success in the hearts of those with whom she came in contact and I would imagine she still does so today.
All of these years later and I can still feel the way it made me feel when she would comment about some writing assignment I had completed. I remember too how I felt when I witnessed her praising someone else. It had a ripple effect; we all felt worthier because she carefully chose her words and did not falsely praise.That is why I have chosen to include Peromnia in this article about praise.
She definitely got it right.
This candid short video is well stated.
Children and praise
Children are a little tricky when it comes to praise. There are books filled with ideas on when you should and should not publicly praise kids.. There are even 'cut off ages'...ages at which it is recommended you privately praise.
I found while teaching grades K-8 for many years that beginning about fourth grade and continuing through eighth, the less public praising I gave individuals , the better. Group praise for these grade levels was fine...no ONE person was singled out...so it worked. Truly I do not remember if I read that somewhere, heard it in a class I took, or just discovered it, but I found it out early in my teaching and it proved to be an important tool for me throughout my career. It worked out of school as well.
The little guys on the other hand loved for me to call them by name and say what it was that I liked that they were doing. "I like the way Henri Lee is forming his O'", I would say. And, everyone would scramble to do her or his personal best.
Be certain the accolades you give are sincere and well deserved. Otherwise the praise will not have the power that is desired.
Praise for Kitty Sitting
Still More Ways to Praise
- let's give ____ a round of applause (make a circle with your hands while clapping)
- Look how much you have improved...
- .Phenomenal.....You deserve a hug
- Give me five...
- .You've got it!,,,
- You're our shining star.....
- Two thumbs up
- You are so special....
- That's incredible....
- Hooray for you....
- Wow...look at you
- You are so honest...
- .I love it....
- Great effort.....
- You tried so hard.....
- You make me smile
- Good try.....
Choose the way you wish to praise...
- Awesome ....
- That's the way...
- I knew you could do it...
- You did it...
- I knew I could count on you....
- Way to go....
- Give me five!!...
- Keep up the great work,,,,
- Remarkable work...
- You have been hiding your talents....
- You rock
- I am so proud of you...
- Great job
- Wonderful job....
- You shared nicely.....
- How kind..
- How generous
- How thoughtful....
Pretend that every person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, "Make me feel important....You will succeed in life."— Mary Kay Ash
Feeling Valued is Empowering
The words were in the quote from Mary Kay were spoken to those who were training to sell Mary Kay products. I have attended some of those meetings and you are made to feel important and valued.
Being made to feel valued is very powerful. It can build confidence and empower the recipient.
Be careful about extinsic rewards
Praise sometimes becomes confused with rewards...like stickers, or, toys from a Treasure Box. Be careful.
If you establish from the very beginning with your children how important you think praise is with no reward connected to it, children will buy into it.
The significance of the praise needs to be deemed so by you.
As a teacher, I would tell the children after I praised them, that I would be letting their family know of their deed that warranted the praise. That was very effective. And I did contact the family either via email, phone, or take home notebook the day I praised the child.
As a teacher I did give out some stickers, I did 'stamp' some papers with cool stamps, I did give some extrinsic rewards but not with great frequency. The children never knew when I might offer an extrinsic reward. I believe that was a huge reason why it was effective.
They learned that words of praise were far more valuable than any THING I could give them.
Even Kitties Like to be Praised
False praise produces undesired results.
Praise also can be ineffective or produce undesired effects if it is given without purpose. If a child does not do his or her personal best, it is not okay to give false praise. False praise is saying 'great job' when your child clearly had not tried or had made little effort to be successful.
You have a big role here. Whether in sports or around the house or in the school setting if you home school or if your child goes to school outside of your home., you have a huge impact on what happens. Your child listens to that little voice echoing those words you have said before undertaking whatever it is they may do.
Praise for a Job Well Done
Redirection and correction is very important.
. After the event, providing redirection and more support to a child who did not do as well as was expected is important. And, far more meaningful than false praise, telling your child, what they can do to improve is so much more valuable than telling her or him,' it is okay' when in fact you know the task could have been completed at a much higher level of competence.
Do praise effort. If your child has struggled with a task or skill praise improvement and encourage continued efforts to become very skilled.
Over expecting excellence is as harmful as underestimating it. Provide the atmosphere, the tools, the interest, and the support. Be the safety net for your child and you will find you are able to sincerely praise on a regular basis.
Make your own decisions about praising.
Volumes have been written on this topic by experts on this topic.I respect that. I also reserve my right as you will to agree or disagree with the conclusions that are drawn from their experiments or with their beliefs. My personal experience on the topic of praise is shared with you here. Thus, I did not reference anyone's work. What is cited here is my personal experience with use of praise on the job and at home experience for more than forty years.
You may wish to read some of these writings. There are books on both sides of the issue. There are those who will tell you exactly how to praise. In these books will be things you will choose to do and things you will not choose.
Here are a few titles:
Developing Positive Self Images and Discipline in Black Children by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
'Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job' Parents Magazine 2001
Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
'The Power and Peril of Praising Your Kids' New York Magazine 2007
Outside the box
There are so many clever and creative ways to praise outside of the box.
Each one of you can certainly come up with ideas of your own that will make your employees, spouse, children, friends...feel the love.
It is with a cautionary note that I suggest any of the following. They should only be given at great intervals, maybe even as infrequently as once a year. Definitely, only for some very unusual accomplishment. If used to often they become expected or somehow seem to be earned and lose their power. Those with an asterisk can be used at your discretion with greater frequency than others.
- Gift cards
- A catered luncheon
- A party
- A handwritten note or card*
- A fanciful e-card*
- A bouquet of candy
- A bouquet of fruit
- A bouquet of flowers
- A basket of stuffed animals
- A basket of gardening implements and seeds/plants
(the type of acknowledgment is limited only by your budget and your imaginaion)
Praising is a gift
Far more valued than a tangible gift, praise can validate feelings of self-worth. Whether we want to admit it or not, knowing that we are valued is important to us. When someone sincerely praises our work, they are telling us they recognize the effort and thought that went into achieving the desired result.
Giving the gift of praise is powerful and effective if used appropriately and sincerely.
© 2012 Patricia Scott
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