Praise can motivate a person to make an extra effort in order to perform better in a task they are assigned to do (Fisher 204). As a child, while growing up, I received praise from my parents and teachers alike when I did well in my school work. I remember that this worked as a major boost to my writing skills because as the praises continued flowing my way, so did I work hard to perform better and prove to them that I deserved every bit of the praise. But one sad thing is that even with the praises, I always felt that I was never good enough. There was this thing, which was deep inside me that kept reminding me that I was not good enough. This always made me feel inadequate and not good enough. Sadly, I never realized that I was good because every time I submitted a written assignment I always anticipated for a grade that was either average or below average.
This feeling of inadequacy still lingers on today. I never feel like I have written the best piece of my life. Every time I sit down to write, I always want to produce the best, better than the previous writing. Even when I have been given an A grade, I always feel like it was not the best I could do. I know the good grades and positive remarks I receive are supposed to increase positive behavior and performance (Gill 19) and therefore motivate me to do even better. But then I am not always confident. This feeling is always made worse when I get down to doing an assignment. This has not happened once or twice but always.
I remember one time I received a gift from my teacher for performing well in a writing contest in our class. I was on top of the world as I received congratulatory remarks from my teachers and parents too. I went home overjoyed and feeling very confident that I was the best student in my class. This did not last very long as I realized that there were students in my class who were also very good. While going through their writings for that competition I realized they were very creative and for a moment I felt like I knew nothing. The same happens today. I always come across creative writings by various writers on the internet and while reading through them, I feel like there are talented people out there. This then reminds me that I need to be as good as them because I feel like my writing is not comparable to them because they are better than I am.
In all this I have learnt a few lessons which I am learning to live by. One of them is that praise improves behavior and not a person’s personality (Dowd & O’Kane 93). I remember one evening my mother coming home and found me watching television and told me she had realized that I had become too lazy because I could not do nothing but sit before the television and it was not good for me. She said that instead I should be seated somewhere with a book in hand reading. I fail to see where laziness, watching television and reading were connecting. Today, I sit back and reflect and think that for sure too much television watching could have ruined my writing skills because it is a proven fact that too much television is not good for the brain development of a child (Gore & Amend 103). All in all, I must admit that my teachers, more especially my creative writing teacher helped bring out the writer in me. Yet the lack of confidence in me may be as a result of my personality.
Dowd Tom & O’Kane, Susan, E. Effective Skills for Child-Care Workers: A Training Manual from Boys Town. Omaha: Boys Town Press. 1994
Fisher, Robert. Teaching Children to Think. 2nd Edition. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd. 2005
Gill, Robins. Praise, Motivation and the Child. New York: Routledge. 2012
Gore, Janet L. & Amend, Edward, R. A parent’s Guide to Gifted Children. Scottsdale: GPP. 2007