Cow and pig

The cow and pig were discussing life in general. The pig noted that the cow was so happy all the time. After a little discussion about it, they finally decided that it was because the cow was so generous.

After all, she gave milk, cream, butter, cottage cheese, ice cream all sorts of good things. So people were always praising her and that made her happy.

The cow noticed that this seemed to affect the pig quite a bit. She tried to cheer him up and said, “But you are very generous too. Think of the great variety of things you give, like bacon, pork chops, barbecued ribs and so forth.”

“Yes”, complained the pig, “but nobody ever says anything nice to me unless I’m dead and gone!”

Kiss from Beethoven

Andor Foldes is now seventy-two, but he recalls how praise made all the difference for him early in his career. His first recollection of an affirming word was at age seven when his father kissed him and thanked him for helping in the garden. He remembers it over six decades later, as though it were yesterday. But the account of another kiss that changed his life says a great deal about our inner need for purpose.

At age sixteen, living in Budapest, Foldes was already a skilled pianist. But he was at his personal all-time low because of a conflict with his piano teacher. In the midst of that very troubled year, however, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to the city to perform. Emil von Sauer was not only famous because of his abilities at the piano, but he could also claim the notoriety of being the last surviving pupil of Franz Liszt.

Sauer requested that young Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged the master with some of the most difficult works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead.

“My son,” he said, “when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, ‘Take good care of this kiss — it comes from Beethoven, who gave it me after hearing me play.’ I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve it.”

Little House on the Freeway, Tim Kimmel, pp. 41-42.

(My question is, how did Beethoven hear since he was essentially deaf? Perhaps this happened prior to his deafness)

Lady pilot’s family

A man was boarding an airplane one day. As he came on board, he happened to notice that the head of the plane’s cockpit flight crew was a woman. That was no problem. Still, it was a new experience for him.

As he found his seat, he noticed three persons sitting immediately behind him. One was a young boy about six or seven years of age. Next to him was a man in his early thirties. And next to the man was a woman in her early sixties.

The man could not help overhearing the conversation among these three persons as the plane made final plans for departure from the gate. It was not long before he realized that they were the woman pilot’s family. The boy was her son. The man was her husband. And the older woman was her mother. Suddenly he realized why the family was on the plane. This was the first time the woman pilot had been the head of a flight crew! They were there to honor her promotion.

The plane taxied down the runway and poised itself for takeoff. The engines began to roar, and the plane gained speed quickly. Within seconds they were airborne. As the plane began to ascend then bank to the south, the six-year- old boy began to applaud! “Way to go, Mom. Way to go!”

Old Vermonter

It may be that praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value to its scarcity, as
Samuel Johnson said, but most of us would prefer to err on the side of giving too much praise than too little. One who would agree was the wife of an old Vermonter named Eb.

Old Eb was, like many of his breed, rather stingy with words. He said very little, and then rather grudgingly. One evening he was sitting on the front steps with his wife. The long day’s work, the good supper, and the peaceful sights and sounds of dusk must have softened him up.

He took his pipe out of his mouth and said, “When I think of what you’ve meant to me all these years, Judith, sometimes it’s almost more than I can stand not to
tell you.”

— Bits & Pieces, October, 1989, p. 8.

I Know Something Good About You

Wouldn’t this old world be better
If the folks we meet would say,
“I know something good about you!”
And treat us just that way?

Wouldn’t it be fine and dandy
If each handclasp, fond and true,
Carried with it this assurance –
“I know something good about you!”

Wouldn’t life be lots more happy
If the good that’s in us all
Were the only thing about us
That folks bothered to recall?

Wouldn’t life be lots more happy
If we praised the good we see?
For there’s such a lot of goodness
In the worst of you and me!

Wouldn’t it be nice to practice
That fine way of thinking, too?
You know something good about me,
I know something good about you!

— Louis C. Shimon (before 1936)

Self Esteem

“I’ve got 2 A’s,” the small boy cried.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very bluntly asked:
“Why didn’t you get 3?”

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done.”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said:
“And did you sweep the floor?”

“I’ve mowed the grass,” the tall boy said,
“And put the mower away.”
The father asked him with a shrug:
“Did you clean off the clay?”

The children in the house next door
Seemed happy and content.
The same thing happened over there,
But this is how it went:

“I’ve got 2 A’s,” the small boy cried.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father proudly said: “That’s great!
I’m glad you live with me.”

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done.”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said:
“Each day I love you more.”

“I’ve mowed the grass,” the tall boy said,
“And put the mower away.”
His father answered with much joy:
“You have made my happy day.”

Children deserve a little praise
For tasks they’re asked to do.
If they’re to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you.

— Charles W. May

Violin students

Recently my wife and I sat charmed at an outdoor performance by young Suzuki violin students. After the concert, an instructor spoke briefly on how children as young as two, three and four years old are taught to play violin. The first thing the children learn, he said, is a proper stance. And the second thing the children learn–even before they pick up the violin–is how to take a bow.

“If the children just play the violin and stop, people may forget to show their appreciation,” the instructor said.

“But when the children bow, the audience invariably applauds. And applause is the best motivator we’ve found to make children feel good about performing and want to do it well.”

Adults love applause too. Being affirmed makes us feel wonderful. If you want to rekindle or keep the flame of love glowing in your marriage through the years, try showing and expressing your appreciation for your mate. Put some applause in your marriage and watch love grow.

— Dr. Ernest Mellor, in Homemade, November 1984.


Attention is like a daily bouquet of love. — Bob Keeshan, “Captain Kangaroo”

I can live for two months on a good compliment — Mark Twain

I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough. — Mark Twain



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