Fr. T.O. Sebastian
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]raise is just a word of appreciation or encouragement for some thing good that you have “done or you have achieved. The whole world seems to move around either on the twin principles of praise and blame or on reward and punishment. Some call it the stick and the carrot. We humans can be encouraged, motivated or inspired by others. We need a push or a pat to get moving from our inertia. Once set in motion our mechanism needs fuel to run on. It is this praise, appreciation or encouragement that does the work of fuel. These we call the positive strokes that have the magical effect. On the other hand we have the negative strokes like the blame, the stick or the punishment. The negatives are expected to instill fear into the minds of the subjects and force them to do what we want or what we expect from them. It is amply proved that one may be forced to work under threat but the subject never commits himself to the task with full energy and commitment. It is only love, kindness, praise and encouragements can draw out the best from others. The successful teachers and parents are constantly making use of positive strokes in their dealing with the children in order to get the best out of them.Praise is a genuine appreciation, approval or admiration for someone or something. Praise is different from flattery in as much as it is not a genuine expression of praise or admiration. Therefore it lacks credibility. It cannot therefore motivate any body. In our social life we come across people who use genuine praise, flattery and some others use blame or criticism. There are those who threaten or punish thinking that these too serve a purpose. One needs to be judicious in accepting praise or blame or flattery. Those brought up in the school of humility could not accept any praise even the most genuine. They start denying or at least play it down. To-day we say that true humility requires that you accept graciously the praise that is your due. Thank them for their praise and acknowledge it without denial. To-day people are impressed by those who can accept a praise for its worth and also accept a blame when blame is due.
Those with vested interest do shower praise on someone in order to have their business furthered or their private agenda carried through. You hardly find genuine praise where there is a conflict of interests. Genuine praise comes only when one objectively admires the person or his works, for his own sake. These are rare in our ordinary life. Instead there are occasions we have where we have to be generous with praise. These occasions start with birthdays, weddings, victory celebrations and of course at funerals. In these occasions some use praise, others use flattery. Tradition has it that we do not blame or punish a person who is dead and no more. If praise works like a tonic or an energizer, \’thy not use it more frequently to charge those depleted with rejection or distress? If a word of appreciation offered can act as a fuel and take the exhausted individuals miles ahead, why not experiment it?
All want to move forward. All want to progress. Then why not encourage those who feel lonely and overburdened? Your positive stroke can sometime be a life-saver. It can prevent someone from falling into distress and discouragement.