Greatness Birthday Party Antics: Giving a Voice to Children’s Natural Inclination to Recognize Each Other!
Normally at my daughter’s birthday parties we do a craft such as decorating a frame or mirror with cute puffy stickers, then everyone brings it home and either puts it up in their room or it gets shoved into a drawer with all the other crafts of play dates gone by. This year, at the spur of the moment, as I watched the five girls decorating their mini bulletin board and listening to their supportive banter (“Oh, you are so creative!”; “that looks good I’m going to try that on mine!”) I thought why not top off the activity with some FROGing?
You probably know by now that FROG stands for “forever recognize others’ greatness”. These girls, like so many children, FROG naturally and effortlessly. They are not yet at the age where they’re criticizing each other, picking at each other’s faults, and forcing each other toward an artificial common denominator. They resource gossip about each other, saying nice things about each other even when the child they are referring to isn’t present. They’re simply sweet 10-year-old girls who still love stickers, hugs, glittery t-shirts, and telling each other why they like each other.
I handed each of the girls 4 frog recognition cards that began with “the greatness I recognize in you is…” and had them write down a word or sentence that spoke to what the admired and appreciated in each friend. Then, I gave them another card that started with “the greatness showing up in myself is…” so they could reflect on the greatness they appreciated in themselves.
We took turns reading the cards to each other, each girl having her time in the “recognition spotlight”. They were all smiles, as was I, listening to these blossoming young women speak with such support of each other and themselves. I filmed it too so I could send it to them so they could watch it again later with their parents.
The moms were all smiles when they picked the girls up too, seeing the great things their friends wrote on the cards covering their bulletin board craft.
Even thought I think about recognition all the time, this activity still made me pause. How could I find more moments for recognition and celebration with my kids and their friends? How could we more seamlessly include these reflections in our discourse with our children? What impact might it have, both on the short-term and on the long-term? A worthy experiment I’d say!