What we Appreciate Appreciates

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.

W. Clement Stone

Recently, Angela and I as well as other parents attended “Back to School Night” where our son, Jaelan, started his freshman year in high school.

One of the meetings was with the geometry teacher. During the meeting she pointed out she realizes there are some students who believe they are not good at math. She went on to explain to the parents how she is able to get her students to feel o.k. with their ability in math regardless of what their skill and knowledge level might be.

She noted that everyone is good at some things and not others – some students are good at math, others in music, others in English, others in art and so on. She used the analogy that each subject is like a rubber band in the brain. Some of the rubber bands are large for areas they are good at and other rubber bands are small for areas they believe they are not good at.

She went on to explain that when a student is praised and acknowledged in a subject area, the rubber band for that area expands. When a student is put down or criticized for not doing well in a subject area, the rubber band in that area contracts.

The teacher let the parents know that her job is to not only praise students for what they do well, but to also find the positive things they do well in the subject that they believe they are not gifted in.  In this case, it’s math.

When she does this, it changes the student’s attitude about math from a negative perception to a positive one. What they viewed as a weakness is now seen with a new perception.

Inevitably, students who think they were not good at math improve their math skills.

It was a wonderful demonstration of the power of appreciation. Whatever we appreciates expands; it becomes more than it was before the appreciation took place.

This is the quest for us. We are to wake up every day with joyful enthusiasm and appreciating what’s working in our lives. This is particularly so when things are not happening the way we would like. We can begin by giving our attention to even one small positive thing. We can then build on that one small positive thing,. And because energy flows where our attention goes, we amplify that which we give our attention to.

Sometimes we get caught in the trap of trying to perfect ourselves. When we attempt to do that, we end up placing our energy on what seems to be wrong in our lives. But we are here to recognize we are adoring and adorable beings and expressions of God.

To put this principle of appreciation in action, here are a couple of things you can do:

  • As you go through your day, act as if everyone can read your thoughts and see everything you are thinking. Then consciously place your attention on the qualities and the presence of God – peace, joy, wisdom, love, etc
  • Watch what you say about yourself. Be gentle and less critical of yourself. As you become less critical of yourself, you will discover that you are less critical of what’s happening in society and with your fellow spiritual beings.

Simply practicing these ideas can be the little difference that makes a big difference.

As we begin to see, appreciate and embody how God is operating in our life and in our world, transformation begins to take place. Divine Ideas are revealed and they unfold in the most magnificent way.

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