Last week it took me 45 minutes to post the picture I used for my blog. The reason I kept searching for another photo was because although I loved the picture of me hugging my daughter, I wasn’t thrilled with what I looked like and so I thought if I used it for the blog it would be settling for “just ok”. It was only after exhaustion that I finally caved in and used the image. I knew I’d get a few “Likes” on Face Book but I wasn’t expecting the compliments that I received. I was surprised and flattered!
In my opinion, compliments are complicated. I have always been the WORST at taking compliments and more importantly, I am not the best at giving them either. I read somewhere that if someone gives a compliment the last thing they want to hear is, “Yuck, I feel gross!” or “This dress is so old.” Essentially you are telling that person their taste sucks. Whoops! Not my intention at all but I do see the point. So lately (only within the past six months) I have tried really hard to accept compliments by saying “thank you.” If I value the person who pays the compliment then I have to value how they feel and what they say. I get why most women don't know what to do with a compliment. Insecurity is a big part of it. Or maybe guilt because they skipped their workout so their hair really DOES look good. However, I think my problem is that I’m always so absorbed in what I’m doing that when someone stops to compliment me - it throws me off guard and I usually say something like, “Oh no, I look horrible.” Because in my mind I’m thinking that I could look much better if I just wasn’t so busy. On the flip side, I have one pet peeve when it comes to giving out compliments. I think it's annoying when I give a compliment to someone and they immediately look me over so that they can return a compliment back to me. Although the gesture may be completely genuine, it makes me feel as if I just went fishing to catch a compliment for myself. Eeew! That is the last thing I need or want! Furthermore, the compliment boomerang effect has now diverted the conversation away from my original compliment and that really bothers me. Bah humbug! Why does giving a compliment have to get so complicated?
Weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, the second graders at our school are busy because of a unit they have on friendship cards. I love, love, love this unit because the kids are asked to write at least two compliments about everyone on their class list. Not only does this strengthen their writing skills, but it’s an opportunity for the students to think about others. The task to find great qualities, which they may not have thought of until they were asked to write them down, is a lesson in opening the mind and HEART. I kept all the friendship cards my daughter received when she was in second grade because reading compliments about her from her peers is so precious and rewarding.
Every Friday the second grade parents receive a note from the teachers with updates, news and inquiries. This week, she shared examples of the compliments she saw while the kids worked on their rough drafts. Yes, you read that correctly. First the students write a basic list of thoughtful compliments for each classmate. Then they are asked to expand their thoughts and write rough drafts. They edit and edit and edit. Next, they make their own cards for each classmate - 19 students not including themselves. And finally, the piece de resistance, they handwrite their final draft of compliments directly onto the cards. It’s an amazing process that involves lots of erasing, spelling, glitter glue, ink stamping, scissors, tape, construction paper and time! Here’s a peek at what my son said about some of his classmates:
* Your headbands are cool, but when you put them on, they're amazing!
* Your skating abilities are amazing. If there was a figure skating competition, you would win it.
* Is your name Mr. Funny? Because if it isn't, it should be!
* I have not seen you break dance, but I know you're great at it because you're great at everything!
* Ice cream is great and so are you.
*You're a master at the Fit Bit!
Are you dying? I know I am. My hope is that my son warms the hearts of not only his classmates but their parents too. I can't wait to see what they write about him.
On National Compliment Day, which is today, Tuesday January 24th, I’m giving out a bunch of thoughtful pinches via compliments. There is no cost to give a compliment. No gift-wrapping. Gift receipts are not necessary. They are one-of-a-kind gifts and one size fits all. Oooh, oooh and they are also calorie free, gluten free, dairy free and nut free! Wow, that’s a thoughtful pinch that anybody can give to anyone at anytime. I am glad National Compliment Day exists because handing out compliments is very thoughtful indeed.