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Previous Unit | Next Unit | Back

 

Unit Ten

 

 

Click the button to listen to the text

 

 

Are we too quick to blame and slow to praise? It
seems we are.

 


PROFITS OF PRAISE

 

Janet Graham

 

It was the end of my exhausting first day as waitress in a busy New
York restaurant. My cap had gone awry, my apron was stained, my feet ached.
The loaded tray I carried felt heavier and heavier. Weary and discouraged,
I didn't seem able to do anything right. As I made out a complicated check
for a family with several children who had changed their ice-cream order a
dozen times, I was ready to quit.

Then the father smiled at me as he handed me my tip: "Well done, " he
said. "You've looked after us really well. "


Suddenly my tiredness vanished. I smiled back, and later, when the
manager asked me how I' d liked my first day, I said, "Fine! " Those few
words of praise had changed everything.

Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit; we cannot flower and grow
without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others
the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellows
the warm sunshine of praise.

Why - when one word can bring such pleasure? A friend of mine who
travels widely always tries to learn a little of the language of any place
she visits. She's not much of a linguist, but she does know how to say one
word -"beautiful"- in several languages. She can use it to a mother hold-
ing her baby, or to a lonely salesman fishing out pictures of his family.
The ability has earned her friends all over the world.

It's strange how chary we are about praising. Perhaps it's because few
of us know how to accept compliments gracefully. Instead, we are embarrassed
and shrug off the words we are really so glad to hear. Because of this
defensive reaction, direct compliments are surprisingly difficult to give.

That is why some of the most valued pats on the back are those which come
to us indirectly, in a letter or passed on by a friend: When one thinks of
the speed with which spiteful remarks are conveyed, it seems a pity that
there isn't more effort to relay pleasing and flattering comments.

It's especially rewarding to give praise in areas in which effort generally
goes unnoticed or unmentioned. An artist gets complimented for a
glorious picture, a cook for a perfect meal. But do you ever fell your laundry
manager how pleased you are when the shirts are done just right? Do you ever
praise your paper boy for getting the paper to you on time 365 days a year?

35 Praise is particularly appreciated by those doing routine jobs: gas-sta-
tion attendants, waitresses - even housewives. Do you ever go into a house
and say, " What a tidy room"? Hardly anybody does. That's why housework is
considered such a dreary grind. Comment is often made about activities
which are relatively easy and satisfying, like arranging flowers; but not about
jobs which are hard and dirty, like scrubbing floors. Shakespeare said, "Our
praises are our wages. " Since so often praise is the only wage a housewife
receives, surely she of all people should get her measure.

Mothers know instinctively that for children an ounce of praise is worth
a pound of scolding. Still, we're not always as perceptive as we might be
about applying the rule. One day I was criticizing my children for squabbling.
"Can you never play peacefully?" I shouted. Susanna looked at me quizzically.
"Of course we can, " she said. "But you don't notice us when we do. "

Teachers agree about the value of praise. One teacher writes that instead
of drowning students' compositions in critical red ink, the teacher will get
far more constructive results by finding one or two things which have been
done better than last time, and commenting favorably on them. "I believe that
a student knows when he has handed in something above his ,usual standard,
"writes the teacher," and that he waits hungrily for a brief comment in the
margin to show him that the teacher is aware of it, too. "

Behavioral scientists have done countless experiments to prove that
any human being tends to repeat an act which has been immediately followed
by a pleasant result. In one such experiment, a number of schoolchildren
were divided into three groups and given arithmetic tests daily for five days.
One group was consistently praised for its previous performance; another group
was criticized; the third was ignored.

Not surprisingly, those who were praised improved dramatically. Those
who were criticized improved also, but not so much. And the scores of the
children who were ignored hardly improved at all. Interestingly the brightest
children were helped just as much by criticism as by praise, but the less
able children reacted badly to criticism, needed praise the most. Yet the
latter are the very youngsters who, in mo5t schools, fail to get the pat on
the back.

To give praise costs the giver nothing but a moment's thought and a moment's
effort perhaps a quick phone call to pass on a compliment, or five minutes
spent writing an appreciative letter. It is such a small investment-- and yet
consider the results it may produce." I can live for two months on a good
compliment, " said Mark Twain.

So, let's be alert to the small excellences around us - and comment on them.
We will not only bring joy into other people's lives, but also, very often, added
happiness into our own.

 

 

Click the button to listen to the pronunciations of new words

 

 

 

New Words



profit n.
advantage or good obtained from sth. ;


money gained in business 益处 ; 利润

exhaust vt.
tire out 使筋疲力尽

waitress n.
woman waiter

awry a.
with a turn to one side 歪 ; 斜

apron n.
围裙

stain vt.
make dirty marks on 玷污

load vt.
put a full amount of things on or in (sth.)


装满

tray n.
托盘

weary a.
very tired 厌倦的 , 厌烦的

discourage vt.
cause to lose courage or confidence 使泄气,


使灰心

ice-cream n.
冰淇淋

dozen n.
twelve (一)打

quit v.
stop (doing sth.) and leave 离(职) , 不干

sunlight n.
light of the sun; sunshine

human a.
of or concerning people

apply vt.
运用, 实施

application n.

somehow .ad.
for some reason or other; in some way or


other 不知怎么地; 以某种方式

reluctant a.
unwilling 不情愿的;勉强的

sunshine n.
light of the sun

linguist n.
person who is good at foreign languages;


person who studies the science of language


通晓数国语言的人;语言学家

salesman n.
man whose work is selling a company's goods


to businesses, homes, etc. 推销员

earn vt.
get in return for work or as a reward for


one's qualities, etc. 挣得, 赢得

chary a.
careful; cautious 谨慎小心的

compliment n.
praise 赞美(话)

vt.
praise 赞美

gracefully ad.
大大方方地;优美地

graceful a.

embarrass vt.
make awkward or ashamed 使尴尬

defensive a.
防御的

surprisingly ad.
in a surprising manner or degree

pat n.
tap made with the open hand 轻拍

v.
tap gently with the open hand

indirectly ad.
in an indirect way 间接地

indirect a.

spiteful a.
having or showing ill will 恶意的

convey vt.
make (ideas, views, feelings, etc.) known to


another person 转达 , 传达

relay vt.
传送;转达

flatter vt.
praise too much; praise insincerely (in


order to please) 过奖; 谄媚, 奉承

comment n.
opinion, explanation or judgment written or


spoken about an event, book, person, state


of affairs, etc. 评论

vi.
make comments (on) ; give opinions

rewarding a.
worthwhile; worth doing; giving a reward to


值得(做的) ; 报答的

reward vt.

generally ad.
usually 通常, 一般地

artist n.
person. who practises or works in one of the


fine arts, esp. painting 画家; 艺术家

glorious a.
splendid 辉煌的

laundry n.
洗衣店

appreciate vt.
understand and enjoy; be thankful for 欣赏,


鉴赏,感谢,感激

routine a.
not unusual or exciting; regular 常规的,


例行的

gas-station n.
加油站

attendant n.
服务人员

tidy a.
neatly arranged 整洁的 , 整齐的

housework n.
work done in taking care of a house 家务劳动

dreary a.
dull and uninteresting 沉闷乏味的

grind n.
hard uninteresting work 苦差使

scrub vt.
clean by rubbing hard, esp. with a stiff


brush 擦洗

wage n.
( pl. ) 工资 , 报酬

measure n.
an adequate or due portion 份儿

instinctively ad.
本能地

scold vt.
blame with angry words 申斥, 怒骂

perceptive a.
感觉灵敏的

criticize vt.
批评

squabble vi.
quarrel, esp. noisily and unreasonably 争吵 口角

peacefully ad.
in a peaceful manner; quietly 安静地

peaceful a.

quizzically ad.
嘲弄地; 疑惑地

drown vt.
cover completely with water; cause (sb.) to


die by keeping under water 淹没; 使(某人) 淹死

critical a.
fault-finding 挑剔的,苛求的

constructive a.
helping 建设性的

favo(u)rably ad.
with approval 赞成地, 称赞地

favo(u)rable a.

brief a.
using a few words; short

margin n.
blank space round the printed or written


matter on a page 页边的空白

behavioral a.
of or relating to behavior 行为的

countless a.
too many to be counted

arithmetic n.
science of numbers 算术

consistently ad.
始终如一地 ; 一贯地

consistent a.

previous a.
coming earlier in time or order 以前的

ignore vt.
not to take notice of, pay no attention to


不理, 忽视

dramatically ad.
strikingly 显著地

dramatic a.

react vi.
respond 反应

youngster n.
young person, esp. a boy

appreciative a.
thankful; grateful

investment n.
投资

invest v.

alert a.
watchful and keen 警觉的

excellence n.
an excellent or valuable quality; virtue


 

 

Phrases & Expressions

 

make out
write out; complete or fill in 开出 ; 填写

only too
very 极, 非常

not much of a
not a very good 不十分好的

fish out
bring out after searching 掏出

shrug off
dismiss as not deserving attention or as sth.


unimportant 耸肩表示对…不屑理睬

pat on the back
word or gesture of praise or encouragement 赞扬;


鼓励

pass on
convey (to another) 传递

live on
depend upon for support 靠…生活


 

 
 
Proper Names
 
Janet Graham
珍妮特·格雷厄姆

Shakespeare
莎士比亚

Susanna
苏珊娜(女子名)

Mark Twain
马克·吐温


 

 

 

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