It’s that time of year again: Awards Days and Graduation celebrations! I’ve lost count of the number of photos I’ve seen in recent days filled with happy faces in caps and gowns with all of the family snugged in tight for the quintessential photo shot. I’ve seen posts from many proud parents about the honors their child has received and I’m really glad they’re saying something about it and showing the world how proud they are of their child’s academic achievements for the year. That’s important.
Later today I’m going by to get my mother and we’re going to head toward a local school gymnasium to attend my youngest nephew’s Awards Day ceremony. Now, he’s a smart one and we already know he will receive several different honors. We’re proud of him—of all three of them, actually—and I’m glad I’m near enough to participate today.
Academics are important. Education is crucial. It’s a good thing to celebrate how far they’ve come. Building a child’s self-esteem is both a duty and a privilege. Every year I go to these events, however, I always wonder about the children who don’t receive the top honors or get recognized for outstanding achievement. You know, the ones who may not be academically gifted and are squirming around in their seats because they have to go and sit through the event without hearing their names called. How are they celebrated? Is somebody doing that for them?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot in the past few days—especially in light of the recent destruction of those elementary schools out in Oklahoma. My heart breaks for those who have lost so much because they’ve not only lost those children, they’ve lost all those celebrations…the big ones we look forward to like graduations and weddings…and the ones that show up unexpectedly like learning to be kind and finally understanding how to hit that ball or play that instrument.
It makes me think that we ought to celebrate a little bigger today…maybe even every day. Perhaps we should make time in our schedules to tell the people around us that they are loved and admired and praise them for the things that we notice…but usually never say anything about. Maybe it’s even time for us to slow down and LOOK for things to celebrate about the people around us.
So, here’s a mid-week challenge for you today: Keep your eyes open and when you spot someone being courteous or giving great service, doing well in a presentation or taking extra care of the people around them, being consistent in their work ethic, looking good in that color or just having a great smile…TELL THEM. Let them know they’re appreciated! Express your thanks, your admiration or just wish them a great day with a smile in return. Celebrate the people around you. Celebrate the now.
It’s all we’re given and that means that every day should be an Awards Day.