We always celebrate large happenings in life, whether good or bad. I have a student writing her Original Oratory (persuasive speech, for those of you not part of our little world) for competition on the neglect of everyday tragedies. The outpouring of help during 9/11, Katrina, and most recently the bridge collapse is admirable, but millions of people go without food and shelter in America every day; why don't we help them? Even Angie (sorry, hon) was compelled to give blood after the bridge collapse, though she's never done it before. People need blood every single day, therefore we should give as often as possible. Same with donations to the Red Cross and others, they always need money, not just in times of tragedy. It will be an excellent speech.
Anyway, my point is that we do the same thing with victories. We celebrate weddings, birthdays, holidays, graduations: big, exciting things that only happen every once in a while. But we would be happier being proud and honored at little things, more often. Now, I know some people are authentically humble and don't like praise of any kind. I am not one of these people, as you very well know, dear reader. But praising others for small things has become a habit as a teacher, and should be more common.
My husband is putting in the ceiling in our basement; I'm proud of him. I tell him so. I finish a chapter of my alternate plan thesis (which is what I'm now calling it, as it is a mini-thesis of sorts, and will be much longer than any alt plan paper I've ever seen...Chad says, "If anyone would've turned their APP into a thesis, it would be you, Emily."). I'm proud of myself. Today, my final car payment came out of my bank account. I bought a car. By myself. It took five years, but still, I'm proud. Many people sent me cards on my birthday, but Molly sends me cards almost every week, just because. It makes me happy. I mailed my sister a gift to remind her I love her. It made her happy. Someone put up Breast Cancer Awareness Month information in the staff bathroom. Such a small effort that could really make a difference. Doing little things for people unexpectedly and offering praise for the small things often seems to make so much more of a difference than only doing things when expected.
So, I offer a challenge to my readers (a small audience to be sure, but still...): think of five things you've done in the past week that you can be proud of; think of five things people close to you have done that make you proud of them...have you told them?; and think of five things you can do for other people that will make a difference (even if it's just packing a lunch for your spouse so he/she won't have to). Then, write about it on your blog so we too can share in your small victories.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."--Margaret Mead