Rob Manna has gotten very into giving compliments. Of course, they’ve required a little work. For example, he used to say, “Mom, I like your private parts,” simply because he was learning that certain parts of the body need to be, well, private, and it seemed like a nice thing to say to someone. I’ve done a little coaching and a lot of laughing – when he wasn’t looking – over this.
I picked Robbie up at school the other day to discover he had been passing out compliments to his teachers. Initially, my heart started to beat a little faster as I prepared for the worst. However, it appears my coaching has been working, especially on Robbie’s communication with the ladies. Within the first five minutes of being in class, Robbie had approached each of his teachers. “Mrs. Hoagland, I like your bracelet.” “Ms Katie, I like your earrings.” “Mrs. Bardon, I like your necklace.”
He continued his compliments at Kroger, complimenting two employees on their store-issued shirts and again at the movies, complimenting the lady parked next to us on her car. It’s an interesting thing to watch – their reactions and Robbie’s compliment planning. People are a little taken aback, perhaps not used to hearing a compliment from a three-year-old; I know that, even as his mother, it still catches me off-guard sometimes. But the most interesting part is that Robbie really puts a lot of thought into what he says to someone, checking with me before he approaches someone he doesn’t know with a compliment.
Justin asked me the other day if Robbie was using compliments to try to get what he wants. That may be part of it; after all, isn’t there always a little of that? But I truly believe that he really just wants to make people feel good and that giving compliments and seeing people smile in response makes him feel good. And that’s a lesson I can live with.