Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Don't be Stingy: On giving compliments and sharing good things

An unexpected compliment, from an unexpected source, and my unanticipated joy led me to ponder a bit about compliments… 

This week I had the gift of spending time with Anthony (11) and Anna (2) while the other two little loves spent a few hours each morning at gymnastic camp.   One morning, we we went on the hunt for used books for Anthony's 6th grade book list.  My favorite used book store is attached to a cafe of sorts.  It was 11:00 so we stopped there for the kids to get a snack and for me to refill on coffee.  The place was busy, but we found a seat next to a handsome 70 year old gent who seemed amused by my talkative eldest and my constantly mobile youngest.  The seats are super close to one another so it was pretty easy for him to ease-drop as we discussed sharing the soup, added ice cubes and let it cool.

Once the kids got settled, I left them for just a few minutes so that I could check the classics rack against the reading list.   Striking out rather quickly, I returned.  The kids were doing as well as expected and we hung out another little while while they finished, but I got something unexpected as we got up to leave.  The gentleman next to us extended his hand to me with a big smile and, among other things, congratulated me on the job I was doing as a mom.  

Giving a complement takes just a moment and is one of the nicest and easiest things you can do. 

I can not express enough how great it feels to be complimented on my parenting.  I touched on this briefly a few months ago in Preaching by our Deeds (click here).  Parenting is the most public job is the world and measures of "success" are few and far between.   Even then, often we don't take credit for the success as I pointed out last week in the discussion on Locus of Control (click here)

We all know how amazing it feels to be given a genuine compliment,  so why are we so stingy when it comes to sharing our own compliments and other good things?

Why don't we speak up when we see someone doing something great, or when we admire a quality in a friend, or even when we like someone's earrings? How many times did you complement your kids today?  I certainly didn't do it enough.  Just typing this I can think of a handful of missed opportunities I need to catch up with. 

We see this in social media too.  How often do you hit "share" after reading a nice post you see on Facebook?  I recently found a lost dog and was looking for its owner.  I posted her picture on Facebook and in 24 hours had only FOUR PEOPLE share the status.  It doesn't cost ANYTHING to hit share.   I will have people read a blog post and say they LOVE IT - but they don't share it on Facebook.  What does it take to share things?  Why don't we share more often?  Are we afraid our sharing 'power' will be diluted?  Maybe we are worried people will think we are like "that friend" who says every movie is "wonderful" and then no one ever takes her advice on movies.    

But compliments and sharing can't be diluted.  When you read something on line that benefits you -SHARE IT.  When you see something good happening in life - ACKNOWLEDGE it.  

Don't be stingy with the good things in life! 
Embrace them, recognize them, rejoice in them!

I appreciate you taking the time to read this.  I thank you and rejoice in the fact that you are reading this, and thinking, and working to be a better person.  How do I know that?  Well otherwise you wouldn't have read all the way to the bottom of this post. And guess what?  That didn't cost me anything to say and it is 100% true.  I value you and I am glad you stopped by today!

What is the nicest compliment you have ever been given? 

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