Sometimes the praise mail has been an acknowlegement of simple things like making a bed or keeping a room clean. And I must admit that the establishment of praise mail had partly selfish motives. Sure, I want my kids to feel good about themselves, but I also hoped that the public praise would encourage the continuation of good behavior.
Other times praise mail delivers a compliment for bigger accomplishments. Like when Alyssa is the bar champion two meets in a row!
Or when she sets a new school record for sit-ups...359!
Caleb got praise mail for braving a scout campout in record cold temperatures. While the local news was suggesting that people bring in their pets, we sent our 12-year-old out in the frigid (below zero) temperatures to camp for the night! I didn't sleep a wink but he came home in good spirits with all toes still attached.
Jon was praised for giving a great talk in ward conference last week. I'm going to put one in tonight for saving our girls from drowning in the hotel pool over the weekend. Thank goodness for his quick reaction. Things can go from fun to frantic so fast!
Natalie's been praised for becoming such a good reader and for being a nice friend.
Sometimes there's a lot of mail and other times just one, or even none. But that little red flag that alerts the family of an impending delivery is always exciting. So each night before family prayer, we open the mailbox to read its contents. (And we sing the Blue's Clues mail song, too. That was Jon's contribution to the tradition. I thought it was dorky but the kids love it!)
Once I even put in an item of praise for myself. :) We all need a little praise mail every now and then, right?