How We Express Value
So far I have shared with you the first two elements of the Blessing... Meaningful Touch and Spoken Words. Today I want to describe what the third element is... Expressing High Value.
Our oldest son is one of those kids that seems to be good at almost everything. He’s great at sports, he’s smart, he’s fast... and he knows it. I find myself trying to downplay his accomplishments for the sake of our middle son who isn’t quite as strong, or quite as fast. I begin my laundry list of worries...
I don’t want to inflate his ego...
I don’t want to hurt his younger brother’s feelings ...
I’ve been praising him too much, or too often...
But what I’m realizing is when I withhold praise, my sweet son begins to beg for it. "Mom, do you think I did ok?" Or he assumes he didn’t do well enough, "Mom I didn’t do so great, did I?"
What’s wrong with me?!
Why am I withholding praise when this precious child yearns for it? We all yearn for it.
This truth slapped me hard in the face when I read "The Blessing". I realized that most of the praise I was giving my children was performance - based. Even though it was unintentional, I was giving conditional praise. Now don’t misunderstand me, it’s still perfectly ok to praise for a job well done! But what we all really desire to know is that we have value; value that isn’t conditional on what we do or don’t do... value simply because we ARE valuable.
Trent and Smalley say, "We need to find a better way to communicate a message of high value and acceptance, a way to picture a person’s valuable qualities and character traits apart from his or her performance."
To “value" something means to attach great importance to it. Each of us have specific gifts that make us valuable. That is absolute truth. Let me repeat myself... each and EVERY one of us have gifts that make us valuable. This is the good news. The not - so - good news is that some of us have never been told what those gifts are. For some reason, we are usually better at seeing gifts in others than we are seeing them in ourselves; meaning, that we need someone to tell us what our gifts are in order for us to see them.
I have a challenge for you... I want you to think of a special person in your life. Now, think of one thing that you admire about them. Can you formulate a sentence that describes this admiration as a gift?
Here’s who came to my mind…
A few weeks ago Paul and I had the honor of meeting a man named Steve. He very quickly became one of our favorite people in the world. I’ve never met anyone who communicates with people like Steve does. I admire his “E.Q.", or emotional intelligence.
Here’s what I want to tell him…
Steve you have a gift for being able to see a person’s heart. You are like a caped superhero that sweeps into people’s lives not just to save them, but to catapult them to where you know they can be. Your heart is genuine and I greatly admire you.
By the time I publish this post, I will have sent this message to Steve. Would you consider doing the same to the person who came to your mind?
Hearing this type of praise is very different than being praised for a good performance. This is a true gift of Steve's. It has nothing to do with something he has accomplished; it simply is something that makes him extraordinary.
There is so much more I want to tell you about how to express high value. I believe this is the absolute most important element of the Blessing. There is something specific that Malcolm Privette said often to Paul as a child that Paul still recalls almost daily. I will share more about what Malcolm said and how we can use this technique to get a person to see their potential, their purpose and their true value.