Worthy of attention

broken heartYears ago, I read an essay about how a person would make a point of always complimenting each dog to its owner as they passed by.

“What a good dog you have.”
“Such a handsome fellow.”

They did this because after doing so, the owner would often reach down and pat the dog. It was a way to give the dog some love from a stranger.

To this day, I always compliment people on their dogs and yup, those dogs get a little more attention.

Everyone likes to feel that they have something that’s worthy of attention.

Eventually I figured out that if this worked for dogs, it would probably work for other things. There’s not a baby out there that I won’t say to the parents – how strong she looks, what beautiful eyes he has, or simply what a clever looking child you have there.

The parents smile and usually pat the baby or hold it a little closer.

Compliments are a gift, I’m not saying you have to be insincere (that’s not a gift, that’s a scam), what I am saying is that if you can find something positive to say about a situation, a person, or an animal, go ahead and say it.

Yesterday I received this comment on my blog post about telling stories:

The things I love most about your “stories” are that they are so real and believable. They are stories about the simple, ordinary things in life that we often ignore or miss in the hurried-up hustle and bustle of today’s world. They often take me back to the yesterdays of raising my six children and often call up memories of even earlier times when I was growing up in the country in East Texas with my five siblings, in the days of chicken yards, gathering eggs, running from the rooster, or sometimes encountering a long chicken snake in the hen house, one of which didn’t like the fact that I got to the eggs in the nests before him and slithered down out of the rafters as I was stepping out of the little house. He dropped down over my shoulder and into the egg basket. Needless to say, in my surprise and horror, the basket, eggs, snake and I went in all different directions. Before I could regain my senses to run, my dad came running into the chicken yard with his gun, thinking I had encounters a different kind of egg stealing critter that often raided the hen house. When he saw the snake and the fact that it was harmless to humans, except a 9 year little girl, guess who got a spanking for over-reacting and breaking all the eggs. I love your stories because they help me find my way back “home” through my own memories and stories of my own, but also the stories my mom and dad used to tell of their childhood. Keep telling us the stories, Wendy, and God bless you.

You can’t imagine how much this meant to me. When we write, we expose our creations, our babies to the world. We’re nervous and wonder how they will be received. When I sat down to write this morning, it was easy to smile and hold my work a little closer because everyone, myself included, likes to feel that they have something that’s worthy of attention.



Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.


20 thoughts on “Worthy of attention

  1. I too believe that a little compliment goes along a way. I make a conscious effort to give someone a compliment at least once a day. As a teacher, I will often e-mail parents when students are doing something WELL and you have no idea how much more well behaved those students become.

    PS. We raise chickens as well. What an interesting animal to observe 🙂

  2. It’s amazing how far a kind word can go. In this day and age where snark seems to be rewarded more than sincere admiration, it’s refreshing to read and hear how one person’s kind words made another person’s day. And it tends to snowball because I know after I receive a compliment, I want to do the same for someone else. Even my six-year-old has caught on and regularly tells people she meets that she likes their shirt (if it’s her favorite color, which changes weekly).

    Thanks for the uplifting post. It made me smile, too.

  3. I believe in paying kindness and compliments forward, but as to writing, don’t always have the time to go through my reader. “When we write, we expose our creations, our babies to the world. We’re nervous and wonder how they will be received. ” I can certainly imagine how much it meant to you, and thanks for the post. Comments, compliments and even “likes” on our posts are like gold, and the one you received is platinum and good for your fan for putting a little something in the kitty..

  4. How lovely. And i was so entranced reading this genuine and positive piece of work that i forgot that i had the last batch of oatmeal cookies in the oven. So not only do your friends have lovely dogs and sweet looking children, and not only can your write with soft and gentle authority but you also burn cookies! (I like them that way though, I call it cajun).. take care.. c

      • burnt! that is what my mum said.. and in her defense she never traveled anywhere at all. she just decided that if we overcooked and over spiced something we would call it cajun.. i never really thought about it before. hope I did not insult anyone…c

  5. There’s always something nice there if you look – and it can diffuse many a difficult situation…what I’ve noticed, though, is that those who realize this “secret” are often the givers and for some reason don’t receive the same in kind very often. People don’t realize – or think the “giving one” is so “put together”/complete, they don’t need affirmation/kindness from others, too?
    Smiling along with your last paragraph – nice post – gold star!

  6. Oh, definitely. I feel about compliments the way I feel about smiles: only good can happen when you share (sincere versions) either – especially to a stranger. You never know how much someone might need a kind word, and how much that sincerity will turn their day around. Beautiful thought.

  7. I often complement dogs and babies because I genuinely admire them. I’d never considered the impact of my words–the owner/parent giving a little extra love to the cuties, but looking back on recent experiences I see that it’s true. Realizing that I can make the world a slightly happier place for dogs and babies is a great start to my day! Thank you!

  8. Yes! I love this article. It is so important to be positive and to share your happy thoughts. There are so many people who forget to praise and brighten someone’s day with a happy genuine compliment. Plus dogs and babies are the cutest excuse for admiration!

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