I remember when my parents bought me my first computer when I was in junior high school. At that time they didn’t know anything about computer. Neither did I. But they bought it anyway hoping that I could learn something from it. And of course I was not thinking the same thing. I was thinking: YES!!! NEW GAME! :P So I used it to play games – but mind you that it was a set of PC with only 8 mb VGA, 16 mb RAM, a Pentium 166 mmx, it didn’t even have CD-ROM. Practically the only game I could play was emulator and … Civilization (old time favorite!). So then I got bored easily and that was when I began to learn Corel, Flash, and Pascal. For the first time. All by myself.
I was not a fast learner at that time, but my parents always – sincerely – gave me compliment on my progress – that I am now sure they did not have any idea what the progress was anyway, either. One day, I used a printscreen feature to capture the image of a mosque in the Civilization game. I showed it to my parents and they said “We should print more of this, and send as an Idul Fitri greeting card.” And so we did.
Right now when I think back and realize how bad the image quality due to the low computer resolution at that time, but how proud my parents sending those pictures to my relatives, I can’t help but thinking: “Oh, God, why?!?!?”
But however, from my point of view at that time, that really boosted my confidence. It made me feel good about my progress. It made me feel that I was making something meaningful and that I did not learn for nothing.
And thus I wanted to learn. More!
For most people, giving a compliment is easy. But a mere compliment is not enough. Dale Carnegie in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” said that when we give a compliment, we have to believe in what we are saying. We have to say it sincerely or it will backfire. Remember the difference when someone give you a compliment and you think “yea, that is BS”, but in other time it makes you feel good about yourself? To make a compliment you have to believe in what you say. And say that wholeheartedly. My parents always did that, not always in verbal language, but their compliment was shown – or followed – by their action. And I felt complimented. Encouraged.
So here I am today, working as a software developer. I feel I can do my job really well. And the best feeling of all is that I love what I am doing, I take pride of my work. All of these would not happen if I was not getting those compliments my parents gave me, sincerely, through their words and their action.
One day if I become a parent, I will do that. I will make my parents as role model. I will sincerely compliment my kids in every progress he\she makes, regardless if I do not have any idea of what they are doing. I want to make them feel good about themselves, what they are doing. That way, I hope they enjoy the learning process like I did.