Praise

Dale R. Reed (dale-reed@postoffice.worldnet.att.net)
Thu, 03 Jul 1997 11:56:00 -0700

I thought some of you would be interested in a letter I just had
published in the local newspaper. Dale

June 20, 1997
12027 10th Ave. So.
Seattle, WA 98168
(206) 243-9129
dale-reed@worldnet.att.net
Letters Editor
The News
P.O. Box 48119
Seattle, WA 98148

This is a reply to David Miller's "Teachers, you deserve to give
yourselves a big, fat A+" opinion on June 18.

I have been reading an interesting book by Alfie Kohn titled "Punished
by Rewards." It is a large book with hundreds of references. Alfie
has concluded that we should be very careful about praising other
people. I think I agree with him when he says praising and artificial
awards tend to cause two undesirable changes in the people being
praised.

First, you may damage someone else's spirit by interfering with their
efforts to define themselves. It is similar to growing pole peas. One
can easily break a vine and kill the plant by attempting to change its
path up the strings.

Second, the person you are praising may get "hooked" on the praising
rather than relying on the self satisfaction resulting from doing a good
job.

David Miller writes articles that cause me to think about things of
importance. I thank The News for publishing his ideas.

Dale R. Reed
Boulevard Park