One of the things that I have noticed while doing the Kindness Kangaroo Project is the value of applause. Applause is not only beneficial to the recipient but is also a feel-good moment for the giver.
Admiration and approval
From ancient days of open air amphitheaters, applause has been used to recognize the work of performers, to show the performers admiration, approval and offer recognition that the audience is moved by the story. But I believe that applause should not just be recognition of the end of a performance but an encouragement that everyone gets a chance to receive.
In the classroom
The second visit I make to the classrooms for the Kindness Kangaroo Project is when I return with the finished book. I get to read the book to the students and reveal their contributions. As I read the book I acknowledge each drawing and the name of the student that created it. At the end of the reading I ask everyone to celebrate the great young artists and give them a round of applause.
It is during this moment that I see not only the pride of their accomplishments but also the gratitude of the recognition. As I applaud I am overwhelmed with pride for these children, I am delighted by the happiness on their faces and I know that I am benefiting equally, or more, from the applause that I and others are giving.
In the book Bravo Bear the big bear with big paws understands the benefit of applause. He visits his friends at their games and performances and offers encouragement and joy in what they do by giving them applause. But he doesn't participate in any of these events and thinks how wonderful it would be to feel that kind of appreciation. Bravo Bear's friends surprise him at the end of the book with a special gathering to give him applause and appreciation for the wonderful friend he is.
Not just for performances
Like in Bravo Bear I think applause should be offered for more than just recognition at the end of a performance. I know after I read a story to the kids I love to hear the applause which is a thank you for the story. When small children are mastering skills we will often clap to encourage their efforts. (my two year old grand-daughter will clap for herself when she does something she feels should be appreciated).
Applause can encourage people to keep up the good work. It can fill people with pride and empower them to keep going. It is a form of gratitude that can improve someone's health and happiness. With applause having so much positive benefit to people I believe we should find more opportunities to give that applause.
If you want your child to witness the good feelings that come from applause you can purchase Bravo Bear from our bookstore!