I like being complimented (like anyone else). I like it when someone says, “You did a nice job,” or “You seem to be a good person.” My parents and grandparents always taught my brother, myself, and all of my cousins to be caring and respectful individuals. Because of them, people used to compliment us about how well-behaved we were (mostly in public, in private, we were crazy). What I found most interesting was my dad’s response to people’s compliments. He would say, “Thank you. It takes all of us.”
As a child, I did not understand this. I mean, the people were complimenting me, not my dad. As an adolescent, I was even more confused about his reply since I wanted credit for being who I was. Wanting the credit for my successes. Wanting people to see I was responsible for my good fortunes, growth, and evolution into a good person.
Now I know what my father was saying. He meant it takes many people to raise children successfully. Yes, my values and lessons on life started with the life lesson my parents taught me. Lessons are also taught by my aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends, teachers, and coaches. My dad was saying it takes many people to raise children.
It is easy to get caught up in the ego of compliments. We all enjoy praise. It makes us feel good, and it can inspire us to work harder and do better at a job, hobby, or chosen value. The catch with compliments is that credit should be given where it is due.
We do not become compassionate individuals without inspiration from someone to be compassionate. We do not choose the desire to learn without someone else inspiring us to want more through learning. Lessons come from seeing what we want to be and what we don’t want to be. In other words, it takes a village to raise a child, just like my father implied.
Take a moment to thank everyone who has taught you anything on this journey of life. I would bet the list is long and distinguished. It probably includes those you wish to be like, along with those you wish not to be like. The truth is, learning is learning.
Even though you did not get along with an individual, they still taught you something. Perhaps these people taught you how not to be, which is still learning, isn’t it?
Take time to appreciate your village. You will feel better about them and yourself in the end.
With compassion and kindness,
Co-host of the "Act To Live Podcast"
Author of "Let’s Walk Together: The Act To Live Podcast Blog"
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