October 12, 2010

Praise and Recognition

Hamilton loves praise. He especially loves my clapping for him and saying, “Yay Hamilton!” He usually joins in the fun and claps for himself along with me; I suppose self-praise at his age is as rewarding as Mama’s.

He claps for himself when he puts his milk back in the correct location on his highchair’s tray. I began clapping for him when he did this to encourage him not to throw his milk on the floor. Amanda gave me the idea; she said it had worked for her with Grady. And, just like Grady Hamilton places his milk several times in a row just to see me clap for him.

I taught Hamilton to crawl backwards out of the porch, since the step down is too large to accommodate his gait safely. After a few demonstrations, Hamilton began safely leaving the porch for the backyard. Since I began by clapping for him when he finished, he often still claps for himself when he crawls correctly across any threshold.

Praise and cheering have proved to be useful motivational and instructional tools for Hamilton. I have a similar affinity for praise, though I prefer recognition to blatant cheering. Many times I know already and can tell myself that I’ve done a “good job”; I just like people to notice. I don’t think recognition is my initial and most primal motivation for doing most things; however, recognition encourages me to continue even if a task is difficult. I’ve enjoyed working for bosses who recognize the accomplishments of their employees, but now that I’m at home working for myself and my family recognition looks different. I’m thankful for a husband who recognizes the work I do most all the time, even though he remarked on the same, recurring task the day before. He’s a big, necessary encouragement to me as I muddle through some days.

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