Random Acts Of Kindness - Acknowledgement - Praise
The following passage from the book Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli discusses why people do acts of goodness or good things.
One day she bought a small plant, an African violet in a plastic pot on sale for ninety-nine cents at a drugstore.
“Who’s it for?” I asked her.
“I’m not exactly sure,” she said. “I just know that someone at an address on Marion Drive is in the hospital for surgery, so I though whoever’s back home could use a little cheering up.”
… We went to the house on Marion Drive… She tied the violet ribbon around the pot. I held her bike while she set the plant by the front door.
Riding away, I said, “Why don’t you leave a card or something with your name on it?”
The question surprised her. “Why should I?”
Her question surprised my. “Well, I don’t know, it’s just the way people do things. They expect it. They get a gift, they expect to know where it came from.”
“Is that important?”
“Yeah, I guess-“
… Getting credit…
“What about it?”
Well, it’s nice to get credit.”The spokes of her rear wheel spun behind the curtain of her long skirt. She looked like a photograph from a hundred years ago. She turned her wide eyes on me. “Is it?” she said.
Jerry Spinelli (2000). Stargirl Scholastic: New York. pages 110-111.
This passage initiates thoughts, questions, and discussion. Possible questions for discussion:
- Leo's arguement goes from people expect to know, to it's the way things are, to getting credit. In your mind why would or wouldn't any of these be valid reasons?
- Why are gifts given?
- Why are they given with people's names attached?
- How is giving a gift extrinsically or intrinsically motivating?
- How might it be related to praise?
Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©