Thursday, June 14, 2012

30 Days of Joy: Day 14-Appreciation

There have been several things over the last few days that have made me start thinking about appreciation.  At first, I thought that appreciation was the same as being thankful.  However, that didn't feel complete to me.  It seemed to me that appreciation means so much more, and I was right!

When you look at a definition of appreciation, you find the following:

  • gratitude; thankful recognition
  • the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value
  • clear perception or recognition, especially of aesthetic quality
  • critical notice; evaluation; opinion
Being thankful is certainly a part of appreciation.  It may even be the first step in the process or the way that we realize that there is something to be appreciated.  However, to truly appreciate something, you must go further than being thankful.  You have to place a high value on it.

In considering appreciation, I have realized that there are many types of appreciation.  In fact, you can go to school to develop some appreciations.

There is music appreciation.

There is art appreciation.  How many of us took this type of class in college?

There is food appreciation.  This can range from being appreciative that you have a meal on the table to making a living as a critic or chef.

There is also an appreciation for accomplishments.  This is probably what started me thinking about this particular topic.  I'm sure that you have heard about the commencement address given by an English teacher to the graduating class of 2012 at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts.  If you haven't done so, I encourage you to read his full commencement speech.  He has received a lot of reactions for beginning his speech by telling the graduating students that they are not special.  What he is really telling these students is that, while they have accomplished a lot already, they have to work hard to make their way in the world.  They have to make a difference in the world.  Yes, they are special, but everyone is special.  We all have something to contribute to this world, but we have to work at it.  There is a popular acronym out there right now-YOLO (You Only Live Once).  He says that is wrong; instead you live only once (YLOO) and that you should live every day to the fullest.  I wholeheartedly agree with his message and think that graduates need to hear this as they enter the world on their own.  They need this as a balance to what they have heard throughout their lives thus far.

As a parent, it is important that we tell our children how wonderful they are and that we encourage them.  As fledglings, they need us to believe in them so that they develop a strong belief in themselves.  This is why they receive certificates of appreciation in school or trophies when they play soccer.  We need to teach them to celebrate their accomplishments.  By doing this sparingly, we help them recognize that feeling of pride in a job well done.  Over time, if we are appropriate in showing appreciation for their efforts, they will develop their particular talents and will start to develop intrinsic rewards that will carry them into the work world.  I always put up artwork, read stories, listened to music, watched homemade videos,and ate the baking/cooking experiments of my children.  Did I let them fail?  Of course.  Did they excel in all of those areas?  No, but they do excel in some of those areas.  This experimentation, encouragement, and appreciation provided a nurturing environment for them to grow and develop the talents that have made them wonderful, contributing adults.  This was my job as a parent.

We also live in a youth-conscious society that has a tremendous appreciation for beauty. Sometimes I think that we have gone overboard in identifying a particular age or physical look as the ideal form of beauty in women.  I recently heard Tyra Banks say that the perfect size for models when she first started was a size 6; now model size is a size 0.  She is working hard to try to change that.  I think most women do not think they are beautiful.  We use words like cute, attractive, and curvy to describe ourselves on our good days.  However, I think all of us are beautiful.  There is an inner beauty that shines through the eyes of a confident woman who has an appreciation for life no matter her age.  We just need to look for it!

This weekend we are celebrating Father's Day.  We will take the time to show our appreciation for our fathers and for the fathers of our children.  I know it sometimes feels commercial, but I believe that the intent of the day is a good one.  I am very blessed.  I had a wonderful father.  I was lucky to meet a wonderful man who became my husband and the father of my children.  I have two wonderful sons one of which is now a father himself.  I should show my appreciation for them every day but that doesn't happen in our busy world. I think it is good to have a designated day so I can remember to show my appreciation for all that they have done to enrich my life and to nurture me as a person.  Their love is a beautiful part of my life.

I am very fortunate that I am surrounded by exceptional people who are my friends and family, and I truly appreciate that they are a part of my life. They bring me tremendous joy!  I am thankful that I have met them, I recognize the value that they have in my life, and I am wholeheartedly appreciative of their friendship, support, and love.  It is important that we look around us to find the people and things that bring us joy and then to show our appreciation for them.  I have joy in my life.  I hope that you will take the time to look around and discover the things you appreciate!

Have you found your joy today?

No comments:

Post a Comment