If You’re Inside the Jar, You Can’t Read the Label

anneThis is the week for Thanksgiving, a time for reflecting on the things and people we are thankful for. Some will enjoy families and LOTS of food (sensual pleasure). UGH – I remember one Thanksgiving I had to literally lie down after the feeding frenzy in order to breathe (humor). I thought I was going to just die right there!

Now, getting back on track. Some will travel to the homes of people they love and who love them (belonging to a group) and some will attend to those who are not as fortunate as others. However you spend this day, you are in the process of giving thanks and receiving thanks for all the things you do.charliebrown

How many times have we ever pondered this question: “I wonder if my boss or teacher is thankful for the effort I put forth every day at my job or in school?”

Yeah, that has crossed my mind several times throughout my career, and I venture to say that it has crossed yours also. How good does it feel to have that bit of validation come from a co-worker or teacher? Great, doesn’t it?

wrong-way-go-backOur school has initiated a program called Starfish. In this program, we can raise “flags” for poor student performance in class, etc. but they can also receive “kudos” for all the progress they are making. One day I realized that I spend much more time recording “flags” than “kudos.” It also seemed that in my emails all I ever received from Starfish were messages identifying students who were on the brink of failing or those with laundry lists of performance issues. It seems as though calling attention to a student’s need to step up their game or quit playing (surprise) is more effective than praising a student for rising to the challenges of class and being successful. I have my doubts about that one!

Returning to the title of this post, we are inside that jar. We cannot read the label to know just exactly what is in that jar, can we? A simple kudo:

  • “Job well done.”
  • “This was a hard lesson to master. Wow, you did so well!”
  • “I knew you could do this.”
  • “You are a very dedicated student.”

These comments highlight the pleasures of achievable challenge and autonomy and could tend to counteract some of those “flags” our students get so often. If we don’t read that label to our students or co-workers, they may never know what’s inside the jar!Good-job
Give those thank yous, praise those good performances, and pass out those stickers! Remember how that smiley face on your kindergarten paper (owning something of value) made you feel… and how you felt when you didn’t get one? That feeling is still there even in our adulthood.
To all of you, have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. You are all amazing at what you do!!


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