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Someone deserve a gold star? Tell them, and everyone is happier

The giving and receiving of praise is one of life's most exquisite pleasures, says our happiness expert.

By Guest blogger / May 14, 2012

Does someone you know deserve a gold star? Telling them makes everyone happier – the giving and receiving of praise is one of life's most exquisite pleasures, says our happiness expert. Here Maytag repairman, Clay Jackson, presents Commanding Officer Captain Pete Dawson with a plaque to recognize the Boys & Girls Club at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash. in April

AP for Boys and Girls Clubs of America

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New York City

One of the most exquisite of pleasures, and one that’s too often overlooked, is the joy of giving well-deserved praise.

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Guest blogger

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller "The Happiness Project" and the forthcoming "Happier at Home." She started her career in law and was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters. She blogs at  The Happiness Project.

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I’m a gold-star junkie myself, and maybe that’s why I love the opportunity to give good praise.

This past weekend, I was able to do this. In the New York Times Book Review I wrote about Kristin Cashore’s new book, "Bitterblue." As I’ve often noted, I love children’s literature and young-adult literature, and Ms. Cashore is one of the best YA novelists writing today. I’ve been a raving fan since I read the first two books in this trilogy, Graceling and Fire.

It gave me such tremendous happiness to sing the praises of someone whose work I admire so much, and to help other readers find their way to it. My concluding paragraph:

Some authors can tell a good story; some can write well. Cashore is one of the rare novelists who do both. Thrillingly imagined and beautifully executed, “Bitterblue” stands as a splendid contribution in a long literary tradition.

So true.

My sister and I often talk about the karma police. The karma police! When they’re on the job, nothing’s better than seeing their activity, but all too often, they appear to be off-duty.

Sometimes, we don’t get the praise we deserve; our hard work and good deeds aren’t rewarded; our efforts are fruitless. By giving merited praise, we can at least help make sure that others’ labors get recognized. And that’s a big source of happiness.

Years ago, on the day that a college friend was getting married in a quite elaborate all-weekend kind of way, we were all hanging out before the ceremony. An elegantly wrapped package arrived and was delivered to my friend’s mother. She thought perhaps it had been mis-addressed, but when she opened it, it was a beautiful nightgown, with a note from her best friend that said: “To the mother of the bride, who has worked so hard to make this day perfect.” A lovely gesture.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Gretchen Rubin blogs at The Happiness Project.

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