Friday, November 1, 2013

Where have all the gold stars gone?

Can you remember a day when you were in school and the teacher gave you a gold star?  I bet you can.  A little gold star, stuck at the end of your homework.  That proud moment.  Acknowledging that you had done well and tried hard.  You were probably so excited to get home and show your mum.  It meant a lot.  It was a wonderful feeling. " I have done well". A reward for my effort. All from a little sticker.  

So where are all our gold stars now?  No one seems to give them out anymore, now that we've left school. No little rewards for achievements and effort.  Not even a sticker.

Just yesterday I was emailing someone who had been told how well she was doing and it came into my head that I wanted to give her a gold star! She has been doing so well. She's made so many changes in her life in a very short period of time. She is amazing. A little gold star could have been a little reminder of her effort and achievement. A boost.  Something tangible so that when next she was feeling overwhelmed, she could glance at her star and know that really, she is doing fine. 

What if we all went out to the store and bought some gold star stickers and started using them?  

Who would you have given a gold star to this week?  I would have given one to my teacher actually. He did a great job in my lesson this week.  I would have also given one to our gardener who laid some new paving slabs in the garden. It looks fabulous.  Then there was my friend who was brave going for a scan......  and then the stranger that just smiled at me and lifted my spirits?

I could have given out plenty of gold stars if I'd had them.  But as I didn't have any, did I still give the people a reward?  Say something that acknowledged that they had done well and tried hard? Let them know that I appreciated them? No. I didn't. It was left unsaid.  No star given.

What if you got a star tomorrow for something you did? How would you feel?  Maybe a little embarrassed, but probably also grateful that someone had noticed that you had tried.

It is a way of connecting, to see one another, to listen, to notice, to appreciate.

And maybe sometimes we need to give ourselves a little gold star too.  On those days when we've put in the extra effort.  When it hasn't been easy.  

So go out there and start giving out some gold stars - either literally or verbally! Make someone's day, especially if they have helped make yours.   Let's acknowledge each other more.  A gold star for effort.

Who would you have given stars to this week?


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