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The Value of Compliments

by Brian Buethe, President | CEO, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development

March 2022 Newsletter Article

I was recently reading an article in a publication called The Daily Umbrella. This is a daily email that is produced and distributed by Big Green Umbrella Media, Inc. Shane Goodman is the longtime President and Publisher of their organization and he regularly includes short articles about his observations and experiences, based on his history and/or current events.


Shane and I are roughly the same age, so his historical perspectives on growing up in a small Midwestern community often align with my own experiences. Reading his articles take me down memory lane. While time marches on, one thing that seems to be consistent through generations is that as we age, we often look back on the past and appreciate the “simpler times”.


Some generations lived through much more difficult times. If you’ve ever known folks who lived through World War II, you may have heard them talk fondly of those years, despite the sacrifices they made at home and abroad. They would often recollect how people came together, trusting their fellow man in the trenches, making sandwiches for the troops, and supporting those left behind on the home front.


Shane’s article had nothing to do with war. Rather, he was describing an interaction that he had with a business that had been operational since before the aforementioned war. A new owner was taking over the business and Shane paid them a compliment thanking them for the good food and expressing his gratitude for just being in business.

This is a story about perspective. The last few years have been difficult. More difficult for some than others. The story of the pandemic has played out differently for different people. As a society, the narrative certainly evolved. At one point there was solidarity. We recognized everyday heroes such as nurses, teachers, truck drivers, front line retail staff, and many more to numerous to mention. People were doing good things to make the best of a bad situation.


More recently, many people seem to be unnecessarily hurtful for minor transgressions. Your local Chamber of Commerce cannot change the world with an article. But we can encourage people in our community to remember the value of a compliment. Don’t be quick to cast aspersion on local businesses or your neighbors. When a complaint is warranted, they too should be levied with kindness. Shane’s sincere praise is an example of how a moment of gratitude can really brighten someone’s day, which is something I hope we can all appreciate. While we do have our challenges, let’s do our best to recognize the good stuff too.

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