Choir Notes

Acceptance and Appreciation
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4374

Sometimes relationships flounder because we don’t convey enough genuine love—or perhaps we don’t convey it in quite the right ways. In our zeal to help loved ones improve, maybe we focus too much on how we think they should change instead of communicating sincere acceptance and appreciation for who they are. Just as plants thrive in a warm and nurturing environment, people thrive when they feel accepted and appreciated. And very often they need that more than they need advice.

One son felt that whatever he did, it was never enough to please his father. When he moved away from home and took a job in another town, he finally explained to his dad, “Our relationship isn’t about productivity. You’re my dad. Sometimes I need praise more than a push, and approval more than advice. Constantly trying to make me better just makes me feel worse. It’s not enough that you love me. I need you to appreciate me.”1 

His dad meant well; he wanted his son to reach his full potential, to be the best he could possibly be, with minimal risk of failure. But our loved ones are so much more than productivity projects. They don’t need better efficiency models—they need our love and care, our acceptance and appreciation, our best efforts to cherish their unique individuality.

Sometimes it’s not easy, but it becomes easier as we truly open our hearts. As we do, we open doors to more trusting relationships. People will often stop resisting change and improvement when they feel valued, when the relationship is built on acceptance and appreciation. For example, a patient, accepting grandma often gets further with a struggling child than a frustrated parent who condemns and finds fault. She’s not blind to the child’s problems, but her wise counsel and occasional correction are more likely to be accepted because the child knows he is accepted.

Warmth and nurturing kindness will bring out the best not only in ourselves but also in those we love.’

1 In Michael Josephson, “Needing Approval More Than Advice,” What Will Matter, Oct. 31, 2011, http://whatwillmatter.com/2011/10/needing-approval-more-than-advice.

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