The wizardry of praise
|June 11, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Guest bloggers, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Pup culture, Training/Behavior, Videos|
Ahh, life’s ingrates. We all know folks who don’t say or send thank-you’s, don’t we?
How do they make you feel? I suspect that a self-actualized soul would be at peace with the mere act of giving. I’m getting there, though I do love to see smiles @ the other end of a present. But to many of us, including my mom, the seemingly ungrateful are confounding. After all, in an online retail world, a nagging question about long-distance giving is bound to surface: Did they even get my gift?
I admire my mom’s creative attempts to persuade people that thank-you’s are the polite thing to do.
Recently, she asked a friend of hers, Bob Scala, if she could share his piece on manners with her “ungrateful” crew (and me). I was charmed by it, so I asked Bob if I could share it with you, and he generously agreed. This is one in a series of self-published essays that he wrote for his grandchildren:
“BopPop’s Thoughts” by Robert Scala, PhD
“Grammy and I were talking the other day about the importance of three very short phrases, “Please, Thank You and Good Job”. In this short note, I want to emphasize “thank you”. It seems that many folks think that good manners are optional. You use them if you have time or if it’s convenient or if it might give you some kind of “edge” over another person. But, good manners are the lubricant that makes every day contacts with people go that much smoother and easier and avoids unnecessary friction and resulting heat. “Thank you” is especially important because it recognizes the worth and value of the other person – the one who gave you something or performed a service or otherwise aided you. It also says to that person that you are not such a big shot that you can look down on that person and ignore his or her presence once they’ve completed their task. In the last several months, Grammy and I have sent wedding presents to three couples – a neighbor child and two couples from our church. No acknowledgement. How does that make us feel? Like we’ve been used; like all we are good for is a gift and once that’s given we disappear? It takes very little time to write a “thank you” note; even less time to say the words to someone who waits on you or otherwise helps you. Keep “Please”, “Thank you” and “Good Job” in your active vocabulary.”
So how do you feel when you aren’t appreciated? Confused? Frustrated? Angry? Sad?
At the very least, will you repeat the gesture? Not likely? Exactly. Now carry this lesson over to training your pets, who feel similarly without fair feedback. Well-timed rewards are a major cornerstone of successful, positive training. Notice & reward desired behaviors the instant that your pet offers them, either on her own, or at your request. Go about your day with treat-filled pockets & a keen eye, and you’ll see that in truth your pet behaves more than not. Suddenly, praise-worthy moments appear everywhere. Presto! Your pet will repeat rewarded behaviors so often that they soon replace undesired behaviors (with some preventative measures). Think of your praise (“Yes!” or “Good!” or click!) followed by a treat as a “Thank you” to your pet. It is the polite thing to do!
Praise is a magic wand & ruby slippers all wrapped up in a simple phrase. Cast your spells wisely.
What’s my mom to do? She’s free to keep giving – or not. The trick is that it’s her choice. She’ll do what feels right & natural for her, as would an unrewarded dog. (So sorry for the canine comparison, Mom. It’s for a good cause.) My loving advice to my mother: Praise the thank-you’s you do get, and release the ones you don’t. Now, how about you? Practice gratefulness & well-placed praise to bring out the best in others, 2 or 4-legged. It’s an instant mood boost for you, a true self-gift. The recipients of your thank-you spells will happily repeat their gestures. In my crystal ball, I see you charming well-trained spouses, partners, children and pets. Abracadabra!
Jimmy Fallon is a praise wizard.
In his weekly practice of writing Thank You Notes, he’s mastered the art of praising anyone for anything. Thank you, Jimmy, for making thank-you’s “classy”, “sophisticated” and, yes, even a little “sexy”. You give us “something to aspire to”.
©2013 The Soulful Pet