By Sandye Linnetz
It’s funny how naturally, how often and how easily we acknowledge the children in our lives. Wouldn’t you love to have a dollar for every time you have given an ‘attaboy’ to child… every time you said ‘good job’ or ‘yay’ or clapped with delight at the antics of a child?
My grandson, Max, is 4 years old. Everyone who meets him calls him the “crowd pleaser” because he makes people smile wherever he goes. He’s such a remarkably funny, happy, smiley little guy – spreading good cheer like a warm knife spreads butter. We love that he does that and we want him to keep that outrageous sense of humor and cheery disposition. We also want him to keep trying new things to become more self-confident and independent. To help foster his high self-esteem and positive self-image, we give him lots of positive feedback… lots of clapping and “Yay, Max”! It’s easy to see that it works.
In the Urban dictionary, “YAY” is defined as an exclamation of pleasure, approval, elation, or victory. It’s a fact, ‘yay’ is exactly what we want to say to a little fella who is doing something that we want him to do again.
It was Max’s uncle, my son, Mike, who suggested that a rousing “Yay” (complete with extended hand clap) might also be inspirational for the over 30 set! Hmmm… I have to admit that I hadn’t even thought of that before.
Shortly after this exchange I walked into a restaurant (a very upscale restaurant) on time (not a rarity – but not a habitual thing, either) and my son, “Yay, Sandye’d” me -to the delight of everyone within earshot. Yes, I was a little embarrassed, but, if truth be told, also quite delighted.
Two days later I taught a leadership seminar to top level executives and, as an experiment, instituted the “Yay, and *clap*” with them. By the end of the meeting EVERYONE was doing it! The general consensus was that, yes, it’s a little silly and embarrassing, but, down deep it just feels doggone GOOD!!
It’s instant gratification that takes us back to the happiest times of our childhood… those wonderful times when people liked what we did and let us know! Try it. Let the people around you know when they do something to be proud of… give ‘em a “Yay YOU”. It works!