Webster’s Dictionary defines “validation” as : the act of making someone or something “valid”; to substantiate, affirm, confirm; to approve. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could all feel the cloak of approval, or to be affirmed for the work we do in our organizations?
What ignited my interest in this theme was an unusual YouTube clip entitled “Validation” by Hugh Newman. In fact, I highly recommend you take the time to view this clip, and hopefully, you will catch the bug to validate others in your lives, in your schools, in your communities.
Everyone wants to feel validated. Some people go through their lives without ever hearing anything positive for the work they complete. Schools have plenty of opportunities to validate employees, but do leaders take advantage of this chance to validate faculty and staff.
A few months ago I had dinner at a restaurant in Sarasota, FL, and we were being served by a young girl who happened to be from Macedonia. Her mannerisms were troubling to us in that she seemed troubled, unwilling to smile, or lend some cheerfulness. When I learned that she was from Macedonia, I promptly got out my Google Translator and looked up a few phrases in Macedonian. When she returned to the table with our salads, I tried to say a few of the phrases for her, and instantly, a smile came over her face. (Either she was laughing at the way I was attempting to speak her mother tongue, or she was touched!?). It turned out she was appreciative that I took the time to connect with her personality and personhood. The rest of the evening was quite enjoyable, and she was so happy to be with us as our waitress that she gave me a hug when we left. How about that for validating someone?
Your weekend homework assignment is to try validating people you meet. And when you adapt the right style of affirming another person, take it into your school on Monday.
Have a great weekend.