My son just got offered a promotion. It would mean working more hours in a congested city away from those he loves, but he is proud of the offer and should be. In his case, a promotion means a significant raise and a leadership role in his profession. It is a vote of confidence, a round of applause, a hat’s off, and any other idiom that means “good job!” His company is offering him praise in a tangible way.
And a chance to get his parents’ affirmation.
He called both my husband and me to give us the news individually. He then visited us at home and gave us more details. It was THE topic of conversation through the weekend. Why? In addition to our advice, my son wanted our praise.
Likewise, my youngest son, knowing that his older brother was coming to visit, casually placed his last two trophies earned on the coffee table. In May, he had been awarded “Best Pitcher” from the varsity baseball coach; the next day he was named “Best Actor” for his role as the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast.”
He has since graduated from high school and begun college, but he thought enough of those accolades to get them from his bedroom and place them conspicuously in the family room where they were sure to be seen.
When his older brother didn’t seem to notice them anyway, my youngest son pointed them out.
“Did you see my trophies?” he asked, as he lifted them for his brother’s inspection while explaining their significance.
“You graduated, right?” the older one said, as if the significance of these trophies had diminished with the passing of a few months.
My youngest had just wanted his brother’s affirmation. I’m not sure he got it.
This week at work, the Marketing Associate began sending emails to celebrate the number of inventions that our office had licensed or optioned. My job is creating marketing campaigns for those inventions, and I was curious as to whether our marketing campaigns had influenced the various companies’ decisions to purchase the licenses to market our inventors’ ideas. Part of my desire to know is just good business: Does marketing make a difference? Is the paper campaign effective or are we attracting more potential licensees via our online efforts and social media?
But part of me wanted credit. I wanted at least the personal knowledge that my efforts had contributed to the numbers marking our company’s success. I wanted praise.