Celebrating successes whether at home or in a classroom is essential to the emotional well-being of every member. I think that most of us know this. After all, what kind of feelings flood your heart when you receive a compliment? Don’t you want to share that same feeling with others? Even though we know this, it can be difficult to know what to do. Or worse — to do it and possibly embarrass ourselves.
Speaking as a lifelong member of Introverts Anonymous (not a real club – as far as I know) – I have struggled with attention. I don’t like to be part of the attention. I don’t like to give it. I don’t like to receive it. Don’t throw a surprise party for me. I wouldn’t be happy about it. I like to simply disappear in the background -for the most part. Knowing this about myself, it makes it very difficult for me to acknowledge the successes of others. It is a downfall -as far as I am concerned because those around me need the attention and the opportunity to really be celebrated. It’s a precarious balance!
First, I had to convince myself of the necessity to celebrate which means that I will, of course, thoroughly research the topic. I read several different article and books on families, classrooms and how to celebrate. My motivation came from a book by Sonia Nieto and Patty Bode. They state that feelings of success and the experience of each success are essential to every individual (2011).
I took that information and made it my motto. I thought about the self-esteem that would be created. Relationships would be strengthened. Fun could be had. Stress abated. The list continued on -I did actually have a list! If I didn’t have a list, I would never have moved forward!
What do we celebrate? Times have evolved and celebrations have grown. We now celebrate family events -such as religious and national holidays. We also celebrate the small things — like learning goals. Here are a few of our other fun and silly things:
- wall of joy -We’ve done this several times. We cover a door, wall, kitchen cabinet, etc with sticky notes full of fun compliments and things that we admire. We’ve used it for gratitude and even for holidays -like Thanksgiving. We love to use fun shaped stickies in different shapes, other than simple squares.
- Use positive feedback in silly ways. Like giving a round of applause -clapping in a circle. (The scouts have an extensive list of fun things to do. We use them often in our home.)
- Do the dance of joy.
- Be silly -like having funny noises for certain types of accomplishments.
- Put good words and good grades on the refrigerator door.
- Create a celebration flag or poster to put on the front door.
The main point is to simply be silly and fun. I have learned that I can still be an introvert and have fun celebrations without embarrassing myself. I’ve created safe environments. I started just being silly at home. Then, it moved to my car, too. Next, I added silliness in celebrations to my classroom.
What have you done to make it your own?
Nieto, S. & Bode, P. (2011). Affirming diversity: the sociopolitical context of multicultural education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
By Tracy Atkinson
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.