I once heard a true story about a woman who would always nag at her husband to un-bunch his dirty socks before throwing them into the laundry basket. For years, she nagged at him about this and for years, he kept to his same old habits. Although it was just a small thing, it annoyed her to no end because he simply ignored her requests. One day however, the woman found her husband’s socks neatly un-bunched in the laundry basket. She could scarcely believe her eyes. He had listened for once! She hurriedly rushed to her husband and showered him with praise.
“You helped me out this time and did what I asked! It makes my life so much easier,” she gushed. She made sure to really lather on the praise and he beamed like a little child, holding a lollipop. From that time on, he made it a point to un-bunch his socks every time.
It’s amazing what a little praise can do. It is such a powerful motivator. The nuns understand this and often use praise to guide people along the righteous path in an encouraging way. Most people use praise to uplift little children and innocent pets who are learning their way through the early stages of life. But how quickly this method is abandoned once adults are in the picture or when two married people are concerned. Nagging often takes the place of praise and negative sentiments quickly fill the home while two vastly different people with vastly different habits must learn to coexist. This is very sad because praise on the other hand, can be so effective and inspiring. It can bring out the shiniest parts of someone and fill the home with positivity.
I remember experiencing the effects of praise myself one time. I had just gotten married and felt a bit overwhelmed with how neat and clean my new house was expected to be. I grew up in a family of “free spirits” who didn’t mind a little dust or clutter here and there. But now, in this new setting, I was expected to maintain the upkeep of the spotless place. With two stories of hardwood floors and four bedrooms, I felt overwhelmed with the household chores. It seemed like I could never get the place clean enough for some people’s standards.
Then one day, my husband’s aunt came to visit from Taiwan. When she walked in, she looked around with delighted eyes and said, “Wow Shani, you’ve made this place so clean! You’re so good at making things neat.” As she spoke, I felt my face blooming like a flower in the warm sun. I was completely elated. I felt like I could clean the house endlessly for her just to please her further.
From that instance, I understood firsthand the power of praise and why the nuns actively utilize this method. I felt how strongly I wanted to change for my husband’s aunt simply because she had recognized my efforts and had given me encouragement for the journey. If you want someone to change or to do a certain thing, praise them. Praise them often and sincerely and watch them transform before your very eyes.