So we congratulate our children a lot, don’t we? It’s great. There’s always a first this, that, or the other to give them a high five or a hug for. We come from the generation of keep their self-esteem up and make sure they feel pride.
When it isn’t overdone, when it’s deserved, it’s a great thing.
But what about us, huh? Who’s going to congratulate our successes? Well, how about our children.
I launched a company recently. Something I’ve wanted to do for 5, maybe 6 years. My son, the cynic, who had been a witness of me talking about it for years, did not hide his disbelief in me. I worked and worked on it, but I never pressed publish. And he noticed. He made comments like, “Oh, you’re still working on that? I thought you’d forgotten about it…” Most times it didn’t bother me. His pessimistic attitude bothered me more than his actual view of my progress. Most times. Sometimes it hurt.
My daughter is a bit more oblivious but the eternal optimist. She’s got hope, confidence, a well of positivity. The last thing I wanted was her telling her future children that grandma had this dream that she never “got to” fulfill. Or worse yet, that she still talks about. Yikes.
I wanted to be an example for both of them. To prove one wrong and to prove one right. And maybe it’s good to have both sides of a mission. I was aiming to achieve silence and applause simultaneously.
So this January, I did it. I pressed Publish and my site was live. I come home from work and I work some more. I move with my computer. It’s become an appendage. And I’m not complaining. I normally have the attention span of a goldfish, but here I am for hours– being creative, working through tediousness, reading, researching, stretching my brain and troubleshooting endless technology issues. It leaves me wondering if my brain has actually been pushed at all in recent years. Who knew I was so capable?
But I’ve noticed something: When I accomplish something big or small, it’s usually a solitary celebration. That tech issue I’ve been fighting to figure out for days? The complete overhaul of my design for a more obviously effective one? That creative eureka moment? Alone. I do a little dance, cheer myself on, tell myself I’m awesome. Yes, I do that.
What I’m trying to figure out is when I became too old to get high fives and hugs for my successes? When did I get cast out into the cold praiseless world of adulthood, and should this be what’s expected of adulthood anyway?
Where’s that skeptical kid who always threw his two sense in? Oh yeah, he’s relaxing on the couch. Where’s the girl who’s been rooting for me? Watching a movie. I think it’s about time we start including our kids in our successes. It’s time we adults start getting some high fives and good jobs and hugs and looks of admiration. We’ve given them plenty and now the chickens have come home to roost.
How else are our darlings to know and appreciate and admire? Let’s make congratulations a two-way street. Maybe we’ll even go out for ice cream.