Last week after his gymnastics class, Thomas came to tell me that he'd managed to do a back flip without help and on the floor. He was very proud of his achievement. Lady also "got" her back flip (to use their terminology) a few weeks ago. As I'd done for his sister, I shared his joy, expressed my pride in his hard work and hugged his beautiful and strong little body. Later when I was downstairs I noticed a new gymnastics trophy on the shelf. "Oh that," he said easily,"I won it today for getting my back-flip."
I was really happy to see he had taken more pride in sharing the accomplishment of the move instead of the reward, relished the intrinsic satisfaction and not the extrinsic prize. Just getting his back-flip was all the reward he needed.
Wish I'd been less focused on the praise and the prizes when I was his age and I might be less influenced by how I think others see me now.