Want More Positive and Fun in Your Life? Add a “Praise -O-Meter”!

I was counseling a woman a couple of weeks ago and she told me about the “Praise-o-meter” that she has in her home.  It is a tongue in cheek communication descriptor that is used by her family. It goes like this: when a person does something that is additive to the functioning of the homelife, s/he announces it to the rest of the family who, in turn, praise the person for the effort. Is there value to such a “Praise-o-meter”?  Yes!

One, it encourages all members to be thoughtful (mindful) of others and how s/he can do something nice for their benefit.  No matter what time you introduce the “Praise-0-meter” into the home it is a positive reminder that each member has a contribution to make, should do it, and be recognized for it.

Two, it encourages a person to ask for what s/he may want.  This is being assertive. Everyone needs “attaboys” and “attagirls”. I always encourage people to know what they want and then to ask for it.  It doesn’t necessarily mean one deserves or will get everything desired, but at least make an effort to communicate what is desired.

Third, it reminds everyone that giving praise and recognition is an important communication gesture in a family andelsewhere. “Catch” someone doing something good and laud them for it. It feels good to give and receive compliments.  Positive  reinforcement begets further continuance of the noted behavior. (Basic Skinnerian operant theory for those of you who took Psychology 101). Most people have not had a life filled with compliments and positive
recognition.  Good karma. (Karma definition used here: The Golden Rule = what you give out you will receive back)

Fourth, it brings smiles to family members. Can’t you just see it when: 1) Dad emptied the dish washer on his own.  2) Mom cooks a particularly elaborate and tasty dinner. 3) Son mows the grass without being told. 4) Daughter vacuums the house on a whim. Each person after doing the thoughtful deed then announces it and says, “praise me.” (To quote Larry the Cable Guy: “I don’t care who you are, that’s funny”) Most homes can use a bit more humor, especially the positive kind that teaches and reminds members of contributions made by each family member.

Needless to say the “Praise-o-meter” has application in other settings as well.  Not too long ago I attended a farewell dinner for a couple who had greatly contributed in the positive formation and development of their community.  Many compliments about them were spoken publicly and privately.  There was a warm caring feeling in the
environment as the couple’s contributions were recognized and praised. (In this case they did not ask for praise.  That part of the “Praise-o-meter” is only applicable in the family setting). I believe most of the crowd walked away feeling good and vowing to make more of a positive effort for the well being of their community. This couple’s efforts,
and praise given, had a carryover effect.

Anyone who has worked in any type of business environment knows full well the value of recognition and praise for a job well done. Significant research has noted that most workers value such positive recognition over a pay increase. A positive environment creates good worker morale and output. Managers and Supervisors, take note!

I hope this article in some way inspires you to buy into using a “Praise-o-meter”.  It doesn’t cost a penny and it never needs to be replaced.  In fact, it works better the more you utilize it!

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