A very long time ago, during the period when I interpreted my interest in teaching to mean I should be in classrooms, I gave the students in my literature class an assignment to write poetry. Every poem they turned in got an A, just to encourage them to risk opening up their hidden selves. Some of them had never seen such a grade before and there was a good chance they wouldn't be seeing one again. It offered me a hint at how huge a deal being awarded can quickly become. There was light in their eyes when they saw those big A's marked on their papers. As if, with the award of the grade, they had just been granted greatness.
Does it make it better, are we bigger, if someone acknowledges our striving?
The challenge I offer is to be so completely engaged in the game that we live for both the lumps and the kudos. Wearing our crowns when crowns come, leaving no moment unlived for its lack of luster or for its pain or ordinariness.
Finding our own juice. Way in there, in our core, where our best, strongest, most beautiful selves bubble.