Praise is a double edged sword. If you won’t acknowledge it you look arrogant; if you seem to be visibly happy people may think the other way. I always remember Basavanna a great saintly scholar of Karnataka who said “Hogali honna shoolakkerisuvaru”; ‘praising is like piercing with golden spear’. Though made of gold; spear will kill you anyway, is it not?
Handling praise is tricky as such. I go blank when people say your article was nice or you spoke very well, I don’t know how to show them how much it matters to me to get those compliments. I just smile and at times people may think am arrogant. One of our Family friend handles this very beautifully, he quickly acknowledges the compliments with an endearing smile or brushes it off mildly with crediting it to almighty. Even at times we will be trapped by people who want to get a work done or who want to have psychological hold on us; ‘I praised you and you must be grateful to me’ sort of.
I first try to figure it out why my client is praising me, few praise genuinely which is not outright but subtle like their mannerisms and grace. They are the most endearing ones. Few bring in their family and friends sure way of admiration. But few think on praising I may take special interest; take good care of them. It’s an obligation you have to help the person who has praised you. But who praise me on first instance is always taken with a pinch of salt. They make me nervous because those types of people are already prejudiced: does not work on basis of merits of the matter and cannot be satisfied by any amount of good work. These are the ones who propagate Homoeopathy is no good soon after their first consultation without even bothering themselves with following the course properly or still worse not even touching those medicines; since I did not fit into their Ambit.
When it comes to praising children one should be very careful. Children tend to recognize even noticing their actions is also praising. If you are telling to your neighbor that your child cried for a pizza and your husband reluctantly bought it, child if happens to hear your conversation is convinced that crying and gaining what you need is an achievement. He tends to follow the same pattern in all future endeavors. And children brought in constant praise environment think they are invincible or that of royal birth or even sometimes are of special powers. They cannot make out that at times those compliment seeming gifts are targeted towards their parents who are in high positions. So, saving one’s children from ‘praise’ is very essential. When my Father or father in law praised their sons I wonder really did this exist in them when we were young. Praise was a rare commodity especially for Boys in those days and after retirement all fathers set on a mission of praising their sons. At an matured age Praise has no negative effect and just lightens your heart. But the ones who were constantly marketed by their parents in their childhood, as good in studies, in the way of creating history or who seemed royal by their pampering now are nowhere in sight. Most of them could not even get hold of decent jobs. Such parents are still defending their progeny in Public why their son failed in life with stories of bitterness.
Don’t read too much stuff on parenting. Telling one’s daughter that she is most beautiful girl in the world means instilling superiority complex or still worse inferiority trigger bossing in her. Because children cannot face the harsh realities when someone comments on their hairs or looks, cannot make out difference between subjective parental feelings and reality. But children are conditioned to ’no expectations’ tend to take comments in their stride and compliments always inspire them to touch new heights. Each compliment which is a bonus since its real and from third party. Keeping check on feelings of parents is essential as well as praise should be subtle and in action. But gifts should never be in gadget form for very young children. Gadgets at right age and time could prove to be good choice. Providing every other thing available in market is no fun and value less for kids. Just like addicts who consume more and more stuff for that ‘kick’ children tend to demand for new arrivals in market to get the kick or just to show off. Spending money on kids just because you have surplus, does not make a excellent parent,right?
In India ( based on western,” theory of good’s”) even film magazine review writers are brought to News rooms as saintly knowledge dispensers and they will preach whatever they think they know. Follow your instincts; see what worked for your parents or your friends. What are your priorities in child upbringing? Forget those Ads on happy families nicely dressed kids, loving grandparents etc., It’s all made up not day today affair. And Westerners are talking of co-sleeping, eating together and we are shifting to buffet lunch at our homes.
For good upbringing may not be flashy, sweet, dreamy, fairy-tale sort of things done but keeping our children grounded, If they learn least expectations, equal to their peers not materialistic but by logic, recognize their individuality and to handle comparison with peers; our job as parents is done, is it not. So, be honest, realistic to yourself and to your child tell them harsh truth and prepare them for the big ruthless world out there to take both sarcasm and compliments such that it helps in their progress.
Have a great weekend and set on a mission to save your children from perils of praise.