For all of us we each place a different value on various things. What in your life do you appreciate the most? The word appreciate means “to place a value on a thing.” Appreciation for each of us in the areas important to us is a powerful motivator. When people place a high value on our lives or the services we provide it causes great positive emotions.
Dr. Mellor tells this story, “Recently my wife and I sat charmed at an outdoor performance by young Suzuki violin students. After the concert, an instructor spoke briefly on how children as young as two, three and four years old are taught to play violin. The first thing the children learn, he said, is a proper stance. And the second thing the children learn–even before they pick up the violin–is how to take a bow. ‘If the children just play the violin and stop, people may forget to show their appreciation,’ the instructor said. ‘But when the children bow, the audience invariably applauds. And applause is the best motivator we’ve found to make children feel good about performing and want to do it well.’” Adults love applause too. Being affirmed makes us feel wonderful. If you want to rekindle or keep the flame of love glowing in your marriage through the years, try showing and expressing your appreciation for your mate. Put some applause in your marriage and watch love grow. (Dr. Ernest Mellor, in Homemade, November 1984.) These kids were taught the importance of applause and shown appreciation.
Morris Mandel in his book Jewish Press tells a story of a group of elderly, cultured gentlemen who met often to exchange wisdom and drink tea. Each host tried to find the finest and most costly varieties, to create exotic blends that would arouse the admiration of his guests. When the most venerable and respected of the group entertained, he served his tea with unprecedented ceremony, measuring the leaves from a golden box. The assembled epicures praised this exquisite tea. The host smiled and said, “The tea you have found so delightful is the same tea our peasants drink. I hope it will be a reminder to all that the good things in life are not necessarily the rarest or the most costly. (Morris Mandel in Jewish Press.)
There may be times that we place too much emphasis on look and appearance and not enough on “the tea itself.” We don’t realize that we caught up on style and forget about the actual substance. What are the things that you appreciate most about your loved ones? What do you appreciate most about your life today? What are the things that you place the highest value on? Why are those things valued highly to you? How highly do you value your spouse, your children/grandchildren? How much do you appreciate your job… your home? How valuable is your American citizenship and your upbringing in this great country?
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Prov. 15:1-4)
May we express the value we see in other people through words of appreciation. May we applaude the work and effort of people and allow them to bow for their efforts.
~~ Andrew Burns