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Sincere appreciation can make a difference

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Recently my wife had to go out of town for a week. This meant not only would I have my normal responsibilities, but I would also be covering some of her day-to-day tasks as well. When a wife, who is also a mother, leaves her family for a week, it may cause everyone in the household to think about all that she does. For instance, the family schedule.

My wife is at the center of our family’s schedule; she keeps track of meetings, trips, school, sports, tutoring and many more extra-curricular activities – she never skips a beat. She runs our home like a well-oiled machine, accounting for every detail.

She runs it so well that at times it seems as though it is not that difficult. This could not be further from the truth. In reality, running the schedule is a challenging, 24/7 effort and unfortunately at times it is an unappreciated effort.

Appreciation is defined as the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. I believe that our children and I are always thankful for her, but I do not think we truly appreciate everything that she does. Throughout the course of the week, I was reminded of how difficult it can be to run the day-to-day. To say I gained a deeper appreciation for everything my wife does would be an understatement.

How often do we show appreciation in our daily lives; not only with our spouses or significant others, but also in other relationships as well? What about in the work place? Whatever each of us gains from our work, there may be nothing more valuable than the feeling of “What I do matters.” That we contribute value to the whole and we are recognized for it. Feeling appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It creates positive energy. In turn, an environment where there is a lack of appreciation, and more specifically a feeling of being devalued, will create a toxic environment. When our value feels threatened, which it can from time to time, worry and frustration can set in. This can drain and divert our energy from creating value. In one well-known study, workers who felt underappreciated and devalued by a boss had a 30 percent higher rate of coronary disease than those who felt appreciated and valued.

The importance of showing appreciation to people in our lives is heavily underrated. When people do not feel appreciated, it can have a negative effect on our relationships. As a result, people might start to feel taken for granted, or taken advantage of, and in turn get a sense that we do not respect all that they do or that what they do is unimportant.

Scripture shows the importance that God places on being appreciative of others; As he was going into a village, 10 men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all 10 cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”

Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12-20)

For people to truly feel appreciated our actions must be genuine. Two simple yet meaningful ways to do this are:

Thank people

It seems like this is a given, but people will throw around the words “thank you” at times with little sincerity. Take the time to give a sincere thank you to people. For example, “I really appreciate you making dinner tonight. You really made my day easier. Thank you.”

Recognize the little things

We often pay the most attention to the bigger, more obvious things people do, but opportunity to show appreciation comes in many forms. Take time to recognize the smaller things and make it clear that their efforts are meaningful.

I encourage you to take the time to express your appreciation for others. Doing so will strengthen the relationships with your family and friends and increase the productivity of those you work with.