Manners: compliments and critique

Teaching our children and remembering ourselves to be free with complimenting others for a job well done is key to how others feel about us and our relationships.  For some compliments come very easy.  We are quick to recognize the good the other person is doing and pleased to recognized them for a job well done.  For others though it comes slower and it is not as easy to give the compliment. 

When our children learn to say ‘good job’ to other children they lessen the chance that they will be picked on by others.  It is important though that the compliments that are given are genuine and not empty.  This is an interesting thought when it come to what our children see us do as parents or teachers.  If they see that we are constantly praising, giving praise and compliments when none are deserved they begin to learn a method of manipulation and hypocrisy.  That really raises the question then about how to give constructive critique versus harmful critisism without hurting the feelings or self esteem of your child or friend.

Here is a simple formula that teachers and parents can use very effectively.  It is called PCP. Praise, Correct, Praise.  Simple but it can be difficult to remember to do.  I know for myself I can be in a hurry to get the correction out and have to stop and think about the feelings of the other person, empathy, to be sure that I combine it with praise for what they are doing well.  When praise bookends a correction it is much easier to take to heart.  It is like putting the pill your dog needs between two pieces of cheese. 🙂 Doing so though is good manners.

Appreciation: with respect

Showing respect is just one way of demonstrating our appreciation. When we think about our home, our school, nature and the environment, and the people in our lives we can see that showing respect is an important part of demonstrating appreciation.
You have heard me comment before about not doing things out of fear or anger. This is one of the areas that we can practice that. Respect is treating others the way we want to be treated. How can we show respect for our home, school, environment and the people in our lives?
When I think about this I think about how we care for our possessions. Do we maintain our home? Do we contribute to the neatness and cleanliness of our home, office or school? We live in such a throw away society that it is easy to think that we can just replace this or that. But what if we did not have that kind of resources. How would we treat our possessions then? How would we treat the environment or our bodies, if we recognized that while it does a real good job of healing itself, that we can show how much we value it by taking care of it to the very best of our ability.
Even our friends and neighbors. Do we value them for who they are and demonstrate our respect for them by the way we speak and the kindness we show them. Are we on time for appointments, do we listen deeply when conversing with them, or do we value our own opinion more? Thinking about the impact we have on others with the words we use with them, is another way of being aware of showing appreciation for our companions.

Randy’s ‘Last Lecture”

Today it was announced that Randy Rausch passed away.  Just this past week I read his book, The Last Lecture, by Randy Rausch. It is very inspiring and there are lessons in the book from this very brave man that we can all be reminded of as we face our own troubles.

1. Brick walls are there for a reason:how bad do you really want something?
2. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted.
3. Never lose your child-like wonder!

I know the link I am about to give you will be very much worth taking the time to watch, though the book does a very good job too. But take the time to watch this video as this man facing death in a matter of just a few months points us in a direction that we can learn from.
Thank you Randy for providing this look into your world as it provides us the opportunity to look into our own world as we face different situations in our lives. Check Out This Video!
It is long (1:44 hrs) but well worth it.  If you read the book or watch the video, please tell me what you liked about it the best.  What did you take from it?

Gratitude brings joy

This is the time of the year when all our students are taking part in the MSP testing in the schools. With that brings a fair amount of stress on the students and therefore on the families they are a part of everyday for the next couple of weeks.
This led me to think about the idea of how much joy is in our life? As I see adults go through their life, many times we are so busy climbing the ladder of success that we don’t take time to enjoy the journey. We begin teaching our young ones how to do that very early in their life too. As students, in what seems in younger and younger ways all the time, we teach them to plan and work hard, and as they have accomplishments we(they) see them as good because they lead to somewhere. The kids are constantly planning and working on going to high school, college, a good job, relationship, always with the next goal or challenge in mind, but none of them being relished or celebrated. But are they or we enjoying the journey? Probably not!
We are not machines and when we reduce ourselves to that, we become mechanical and the joy is gone from living. To increase the amount of joy in our kids / our lives focus our attention on all the wonderful things that happen in our day to day experiences. When we are appreciative of the people and the things around us we are filled with a sense of well being and joy.
Take a minute with yourself and kids each day to show gratitude. Make a short list in the morning or evening of things you are grateful for. If you have a hard time at first it is ok. As you focus on showing gratitude in your life, your joy will grow too.