Compliment Parents—Make Their Day

by Donne Davis on June 8, 2009

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My daughter was taking her two-year old to a pediatrician appointment recently and a woman came up to her and said:

“I was watching how lovingly you held your daughter’s hand and spoke to her. There should be more moms like you in the world!”

My daughter said it made her day. The woman told her she was a grandma. Of course, who else would realize the importance of complimenting a young mom who’s doing her job well?
Compliments are often remembered long after they are spoken. They can lift, heal, and inspire great things. In his book, Focus on the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation, Mike Robbins says that acknowledging others is one of the best things we can do to have a positive impact on the people around us.

He explains that there are two types of acknowledgments, reactive and proactive. “Reactive acknowledgment is based on something that someone has already done, not on who they are. Proactive acknowledgment makes us the appreciator in a central responsible place. We’re responsible for looking for, finding, and communicating in a proactive way what we like, appreciate, and admire about other people. We do it for no apparent reason and we do it in a creative, passionate, and genuine way. When we admire qualities or actions in others, we actually bring out those positive qualities and actions, both in those whom we acknowledge and in life in general. Proactive acknowledgment is very powerful and can be both magical and transformational.”

That’s exactly the effect that grandma’s acknowledgment had on my daughter. And why we should look for more opportunities to acknowledge parents. They have a tough job and they get very little acknowledgment for all the hard work they do.

I try to compliment parents whenever I can. When I’m in a restaurant and see a family enjoying each others’ company and the children are well-behaved, I’ll tell them what a joy it is to observe their family. You should see the parents’ faces light up.

Mother Teresa said:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

So grandmas, remember her words and be proactive. Look for opportunities to acknowledge your children, your grandchildren and anyone else you see doing “good stuff.”

{ 1 comment }

Sally Wendkos Olds June 12, 2009 at 6:53 am

This is such an important post! Young parents get criticized so often for so many things that sincere compliments are so welcome. I remember when I was a young mom and would take my babies out and would get told a variety of things — like my non-walking infant should be wearing shoes instead of being barefoot on a summer day, or I should take my baby who had a “wandering eye” to the doctor (as if I hadn’t noticed that and hadn’t taken the necessary steps!), or … or … or.

I make it a point to congratulate moms when I see them breastfeeding in a restaurant or museum (usually so discreetly that only someone who’s especially interested in nursing would know what they’re doing). I tell them how great it is that they’re doing the best thing for their babies.

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