My daughter Claire's friend got an award at school a while ago. It was a big deal. I could hear the envy in Claire's voice as she told me all about it and asked when she might get her own award. It's amazing what a little piece of paper can do.
All that talk made me remember the awards we had growing up.
They were just pieces of paper that had the acronyms of what they stood for written in my Dad's best artistic hand. The ones I remember most are "SS" for "self-starter," "WWJD" for "what would Jesus do," "LFR" for "leader for the right" and "NAP" for "neat as a pin."
We'd sit around at Sunday dinner and have the "awards discussion." My parents would ask us who was in the running for each award. We'd pipe up and tell about things we or a sibling did to be a "Leader for the Right" that week (great things came out that may have never been heard otherwise), or my parents would make comments on who they thought was particularly good at being a "Self Starter" with their jobs or homework, etc. Then my Dad would award the awards to those he deemed the "winners." We'd proudly get to display them on our doors all week until the next Sunday dinner when they were up for grabs again.
I loved it. I think it really taught me to want to be better...to try harder. To be my best.
So we started doing it with our kids years ago. It stuck for a week or two, but they were too young to really get it. But after Claire's little "award envy" this year I decided we needed to give it a try again.
Well guess what? They get it this time. Some weeks we're better at doing it than others, but I love it because it gives the kids a chance to really think about what they're doing that's good...and a chance for us to praise them about it.
Shawni Eyre Pothier is first and foremost a wife and a mother to six of her favorite people. She enjoys photography and writing which has led to publishing her first book co-authored with her Mother, Linda Eyre called "A Mother's Book of Secrets." Her personal blog, Life, chronicles her day to day. She has recently started an effort called the "I Love Lucy Project" to help raise funds to go toward research to help fight blindness since her youngest daughter has been diagnosed with a syndrome that causes vision loss.