Understanding Appreciation


“Wow, Good Job, Keep it up, I am proud of you, beautiful, so nice…” these are some of the exclamation we offer to our kids to keep them going (encouraging). But is there something beyond “praising”?

Have you ever questioned “Why and when we appreciate?” May be to encourage, to make friends (other will think good about me), when someone is nervous or have stage fright, making them better, do more, to express emotions (impressed, sarcasm), encourage to do better, encourage to keep up the work … and so on

But have you ever wondered “Whose job is to like ME?” If we turn this whole things around and rather than appreciating to encourage our children/coworker to work, can we make other person EMPOWER to praise self?

Do we want our kids around us “self motivated, want to be self evaluated, self encouraged?” Do we really need to make them feel good or they need to make themselves feel good? Well, all this brings a doubt “HOW?”

Here is some recipe

BE SPECIFIC – Praise is nothing but an evaluation, its other way of judging by saying “good, great, wow etc”. But when we praise ‘wow, nice, good’, it really does not tell anything. A praise with a specific, “the composition is good, or I liked the mix of blue and orange shades”, add value to the receiver. Maybe the receiver will also start ‘I hate this orange here but I liked the blue line’. So much to talk, explore, express and know each other. Instead of “that is really very nice”. Instead of “you were terrific in the game today, let’s say, “You handled the ball at the end of the game, and also how hard you were running all through out……

ROLE REVERSAL – How about making a child dependent on self for that we need to reverse the roles ‘You tell me, what are you liking? And to your surprise the child will start ‘I like the way I drew this line, But I am liking that the color got mixed up’. Isn’t self-evaluation is key to understanding self?

EMPOWER – Often means ‘power within myself’. How about making child understand his own strengths. ‘How do you feel? What else you think could have done? “I am a good player. Let me practice more” is the self-praise. Isn’t this so beautiful?

And FINALLY PRAISE – Often I jokingly say to kids ‘so you want me to praise, so say so.”. Either I exaggerate or just praise with a smile.

Three simple steps to attain complete celebration of your young one’s spirit:

1. Invest small (really small) amount of our time to stop and look at what is really nice.

2. Then tell that to them – DESCRIBE something SPECIFIC.

3. Then just sit back and watch the young one shine and bask in self-glory. It works wonders. Do it today!

This week we explored “self – evaluation”, praising self with a specific criteria.

We sang a song in group and each one of us evaluated on different criteria “lyrics, involvement, understanding, tune, sound, focus, meaning, initiative” and so on. The evaluation began with self “It was super/ok/good/average (rating decided by self), involvement (criteria decided by self), because, I was involved in singing throughout the sessions (reasoning).

We attended a session and evaluated self on “listening, focus, understanding, time management, exploration, boundaries… and so on”.

We planned our days and evaluated self on various criteria (commitment, feedback, mistake, habits of mind)

We choose various task from the day and evaluated at the end of the day.

And so on – it was

And that all! We experienced the art of “SELF EVALUATION” as we moved ahead with our living and learning at the campus.

As a family and community we all pondered and explored around evaluating the usage of appreciation in our life. All our understanding and thoughts were captured by questioning ourselves with following questions.

What is appreciation?

Appreciation is wow moments for what we like, positive response, expressing our feeling of nice, good, beauty, joy in the form of appreciation. We also express our hi-fi and hugs in the form of appreciation.

We also do descriptive appreciation in specific to some action or result or an outcome .

Why we give appreciation?

We give appreciation Sometimes to please, sometimes sarcasm, Sometimes real feelings of good, Sometimes to motivate and sometimes to express my emotional response.

How can we give appreciation?

All our emotional response in the form of appreciation stays momentarily whereas when we give specific appreciation with certain criteria, the value of appreciation stays in our journey, helping us to move ahead and work as part of feedback. The awareness of criteria while appreciating is less in practice compared to emotional appreciation.

Is there a need for appreciation?

External appreciation is based on others mood and beliefs and thoughts, where as internal feedback is always truthful to one self and always evaluates wrt some criteria. It helps in developing self confidence and internal joy.

Whereas external appreciation can also make us aware of different criteria or view points which we could have missed.