There are two types of acknowledgments: reactive and proactive. “Reactive acknowledgment is based on something that someone has done, not on who they are. Proactive acknowledgment is looking for, finding and communicating what we like, appreciate and admire about other people. We do it for no apparent reason and we do it in a creative, passionate, and genuine way.
When we admire qualities or actions in others, we actually bring out those positive qualities and actions, both in those whom we acknowledge and in life in general. Proactive acknowledgment is very powerful and can be both magical and transformational.”
That’s exactly the effect that grandma’s compliment had on my daughter, and why we should look for more opportunities to acknowledge parents. Parents have a tough job and get very little appreciation for all the hard work they do.
I try to compliment parents whenever I can. If I’m in a restaurant and see a family enjoying each other’s company and the children are well behaved, I’ll tell them what a joy it is to observe their family. The parents’ faces light up immediately.
If you’re not used to giving compliments, it may feel awkward or unnatural at first. We may be more comfortable complimenting people on their appearance than their actions. But here are some reasons why it’s important to compliment our adult children on their actions:
- It shows them we’re paying attention and care.
- We may be the only ones who notice — their kids and friends probably won’t.
- We can be mirrors by reflecting what great parents they are.
- We can reinforce positive behavior.
- We can show them we’re part of a team.