Nancy M. came in to work with a page of Valentine stickers. Nancy explained that her four-year-old daughter, Anika, gave her the stickers this morning “to give to anyone who is feeling sad or bad or has done really good work.” I gratefully accepted two of the stickers–“Love Bug” and “Bugs and Kisses”–and I will wear them all day. Thank you, Anika.

I’m a big fan of affirmation, and I’m not alone, so I make an effort to be affirming. I’ve been known to tell colleagues that they’ve earned an “A” for the day. In addition to a good tip, I like to write “Thanks for the great service!” on top of the restaurant’s copy of my credit-card charge. It tickles me to ask to speak to a phone representative’s supervisor to acknowledge a job well done. I try to always give credit where credit is due. I pat myself on the back by placing a sticker on the calendar when I work out in the morning.

Once, in a staff meeting, the question was asked, “How do you like to be affirmed?” The varied answers were surprising. For me, the best affirmation is personal vs. generic, at-the-time vs. when it’s expected, and is often secondhand (as in “I heard so-and-so say such-n-such about your work on the this-n-that.”). Please comment below and share how you like to be affirmed/encouraged/thanked.

In the coming days, consider seizing opportunities to offer thanks/affirmation/encouragement, especially to those in your realm who are engaged in anti-hunger and anti-poverty efforts. Please comment below and share one of your “seize the affirmation opportunity” stories.

Who knows? Maybe someone will offer you an “A” for the day, a gold star, or a Valentine sticker.

Affirming blessings,