Have you ever had someone compliment you, and then, if you thought about it later, wonder what had specifically inspired the compliment?
I read an article a few years ago that addressed “empty compliments” and it struck a cord with me. Before reading that article, I would have said, “A compliment is a compliment!” But after reading it, I have taken its advice to heart and have tried to remember, especially when talking to children, that a compliment will mean much more if I am specific about what I am complimenting! And, of course, I’m talking sincere here. I think an insincere compliment is easily detected and dismissed by even small children.
Which would feel better to your child?
GOOD: “I’m proud of you.”
BETTER: “I’m proud of you that you’re being neater.”
BEST: “I’m proud of you because I’ve noticed that you’re keeping your room alot neater, and putting your clothes in the hamper. Good job!”
And, by the way, I would suggest that if you aren’t already a “complimenter,” you look for opportunities to become one. Don’t we all know that nothing feels better than a sincere compliment? And they don’t cost the giver anything! But, they can definitely make the day of the person on the receiving end.
May God bless all of us with a talent for seeing opportunities to give sincere compliments.