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The Power of Praise

I was doing my bi-annual dusting (don’t ask). I fluffed my feather duster over the myriad of trophies in my sons’ rooms … trophies for soccer, basketball, ice-hockey, canoeing, t-ball. You name it, they got a trophy for it. Participation trophies. Just for showing up. One year EVERY kid on my son’s hockey team got the MVP trophy.


How does that work?

I have received one trophy in my lifetime: The John Phillips Sousa Award.The Sousa award is restricted to one award per school, per year. “The award recognizes superior musicianship, dependability, loyalty, and cooperation.” I worked my buns off for that award. It. Meant. Something.

It was real.

Can we please be real when we praise our kids? Over the years I have observed many teachers praising  students for unimpressive efforts and behavior that really required a reprimand. Everyone knew it. Unearned praise breeds mediocrity.

So how should we praise our children?

  1. Make it real. Don’t praise halfhearted efforts.
  2. Make sure the task or behavior merits praise. Don’t give kids stickers or prizes for basic expected foundational activities such as hanging up their coats, finishing their homework or behaving in public.

Here comes a key factor:

Praise effort rather than brains.

Instead of saying, Wow, you are really smart! That was easy for you!, say  Wow, I love how you didn’t give up! You really pushed through that hard problem.

Not sure you believe me on this? Watch the following short video. The information is critical to the well-being and health of our children.

Pretty powerful isn’t it?

Let me know how this video affected you. Do you plan to make any changes in how you relate to the children in your life?

Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

By Mary Kay Kane

Assistant Principal

all rights reserved. copyright 2016congratulations


A Christian woman who wants to make a difference in the world.

2 thoughts on “The Power of Praise

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