In Praise of Praise

It’s been weeks since I tried to write for myself. I’m not even sure I can get through the cobwebs here to say what I sat down to say. My energy is all directed toward getting my family through this period of isolation. There is nothing left for words most days.

If you know me, you know I write like I breathe. To not be able to sit and make the words come feels like losing a limb. An eye. My voice.

But I’m trying right now and you can see that this is all filler and I’m hoping that by making my fingers go across the key board – like revving a creative engine – my writer’s mind will shift into gear.


Have any of you watched Joe Biden recently? He’s all over Facebook live and cable news. He does interveiws and talks about what he would do if he were president, all the stuff the current president isn’t doing but Biden can’t do because he doesn’t have the authority.

Then he does the one thing he and Trump both have the power to do*: he praises Americans. He talks about how proud he is to share a nationality with all the people on the front lines. He talks about communities pulling together. He lavishes adulation on EMS workers and nurses and doctors. He sounds like everyone’s dad making a toast at a graduation party.

Listening to Biden heap praise on everyone is balm for my soul.

I’m feeling pretty powerless myself nowadays but I, like Joe Biden, can praise people. I’m telling my kids what a great job they’re doing with all the online weirdness that their schooling has become. I email teachers and guidance counselors to thank them for all their efforts. I tell my husband how much I appreciate him. I get profuse in my thanks to customer service people I talk to on the phone. I tip BIG when I order from any delivery service.

None of us actually know how to to do this pandemic thing and we aren’t going to get to stop doing it no matter how hard we feel like we’re failing. Passing along some positive reinforcement to one another is probably the best practice any of us can adopt.

So thanks to Joe Biden for showing me how to do praise in the time of pandemic.

*Trump, despite having the power to praise people, does not use that power. He just whines like a little bitch.

Photo credit: Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

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