While coming home for lunch after picking up my kids from school Navneel was in full excitement. He did a quick mathematics and told me that another 3 red stars will get him a gold cheque. He also quickly listed his friends name who are almost at the same level. He was very optimistic about accumulating the remaining stars in coming days. I looked at his ‘treasure bank’ to understand the matter better. Class teacher gives red stars to the children for good behavior or doing some task well and black dots are for bad behavior or indisciplinary activities. A back dot also erases 3 red stars. Once you accumulate 10 red stars you are eligible to get awarded with a gold cheque during assembly. A very proud moment indeed.
After my analysis and understanding Navneel asked me, “Baba, where is your treasure bank”.
I smiled and said, “I don’t have any.”, I found it as a silly and childish question and thought of explaining him that these things only matter to kids. Adults do not care for such things.
So I asked, , “Why do you get the red star?”.
He immediately replied, “Because we behave well or do our task properly. Like one day teacher instructed to keep quiet and I kept quiet until teacher asked to speak. So I got red star for that day.”
He did not stop there and asked, “Why don’t you behave well in office so that you will get red stars. They will give you gold cheque. It’s so much fun”
I laughed and agreed, “Yes I will next time onwards.”.
Although I could avoid him and his simple questions by agreeing but it raised hundred questions in my mind. Are we giving importance to small but very essential things in our life? We get pleasure out of small things, small achievements, small accomplishments but we do not give importance to them because we feel we have grown much above these achievements. A simple act of doing our work diligently, behaving respectfully with our colleagues/friends, listening to every conversation before making an opinion, greeting people whom we meet, following all etiquettes, listening to parents, children, thinking about others in every situation and many other things like this make us good human being. We become more worthy to the society than burden. But these acts are never appreciated so adults gradually ignore these and run behind big things which they think might get appreciation.
We all have a never quenchable thirst for appreciation or attention, when we don’t get attention for small things we try to do big but if we don’t achieve big or don’t get appreciated for the big we try doing attention seeking things which might be harmful to the society, organization or self. But appreciating or getting attention for small things will let us do more of such things and remain good for the society, organization or family.
Appreciations now a days are done in various innovative ways. emails, public verbal/written accolade, monetary awards etc. But this is the area which needs constant innovation and creative thinking because like kids we don’t like to get the same things again and again. We want things to become big, beautiful and better as we do more of them. Most of the times money is the least factor in an award but the way it was presented matters a lot.
But when we look outward for appreciation we mostly get disappointed as there is absolutely nobody who can appreciate you the way you can do yourself. There is no better judge who can always give verdict in your favor other than you. While we are kids and still learning basic maths of life we need others to tell us what we did right and wrong, I feel as adults we have enough knowledge and capability to appreciate self. If we do so, we can remain content and motivated. We can capture small acts of good work or even good thought in a small book called, ‘Treasure Bank’ and keep on adding stars with reason why we gave star to ourselves. We can give black dot to self and deduct 3 red stars when we did something wrong. Once we accumulate 10 red stars then we can treat ourselves with something that we wished to buy or have.
Life is full of small achievements and happy moments. There is abundance of these moments. But unfortunately we only look for big moments which is mostly not in our hands or sometimes bigger than our our stature at that moment. While aiming for big is good and worth but must find happiness from the journey not only at the destination.
– Stray Dog