June 24, 2011 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"Who Do You Appreciate?"†† † There is a cheer echoing across the land these days wherever Little League games are played. After the game, win or lose, players are chanting, "2-4-6-8--Who do we appreciate? Yeah..... Tigers (insert the name of the other team here)" This small good sporting gesture is a great reminder of both the importance and the power of appreciation.
†† † I looked up the definition of appreciate and here's what I found:
†† † † ap∑pre∑ci∑ate [uh-pree-shee-eyt] verb, -at∑ed, -at∑ing.
†† † † 1. to be grateful or thankful for. -verb (used with object)
†† † † 2. to value or regard highly; place a high estimate on.
†† † † 3. to be fully conscious of; to be aware of.
†† † † 4. to raise in value.
†† † When it comes to the importance and power of showing appreciation to others, I wold like to expand just a little on each of these four slightly different nuances regarding the meaning of appreciation.
†† † 1. "...to be grateful or thankful for......" When we say to someone "I so appreciate the effort you made for our group," we are letting them know how grateful we are for what they have done. It is so easy to take others for granted, and often it is the people who mean the most to us that we often take most for granted.
†† † 2. "...to value or regard highly; place a high estimate on...." For example, "I appreciate a good meal, or a well-pitched baseball game." With this nuance, expressing appreciation to others says to them that what they do is valuable to us. "I really appreciate the patience you show to your aging mother" is not just expressing gratitude, but saying to the other person, "I admire and place a high value on the way in which you handle yourself."
†† † 3. "...to be fully conscious of; to be aware of..." An example of this would be, "I fully appreciate the challenges involved in this situation." This meaning helps us to understand that being appreciative begins with a shift in consciousness and awareness. It shows that we understand the challenges that others around us might be facing right now. Empathy begins with being conscious and aware of what others are feeling. What a wonderful gift we give to others when we let them know that we appreciate, that we understand what they are going through in their lives.
†† † 4. "...to raise in value..." For example, "This antique has appreciated a great deal over the last fifteen years." This nuance of the word appreciation is important when it comes to appreciating others because it makes it clear that when we appreciate others we are increasing their sense of value and self-esteem.
†† † In summary, when I show heartfelt appreciation to someone I care about, I am doing any or all of the following: I am thanking them, I am telling them I value highly who they are, I am being conscious and aware of who they are and/or what they have done, and I am raising their self-esteem! In Little League terms, I have the potential to hit a grand slam every time I genuinely appreciate someone.
†† † Thank you to all the Little Leaguers out there who on a regular basis remind us of the importance and the power of appreciation. They also remind us how simple it is to show appreciation and how little effort it actually takes, if we will only remember to be aware and conscious of the importance of doing so.
†† † So.......2-4-6-8--who do YOU appreciate? Don't tell me the answer to that question, instead make a special effort to tell the people in your life. Tell them today, and everyday.
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