There's this little metal pail in my workplace which sits in a prominent spot and bears the label "Bravo Bucket". In it, the office staff places little notes of appreciation for various co-workers' well-done work, kind gestures, etc. It's a great concept really; establish a physical reminder that everyone needs a little praise and recognition and therein attempt to meet that need and thus create a better workplace.
But what if someone gets overlooked? Wouldn't that make the bitterness of needing a little praise all the more stinging when that someone discovers that everyone in the office has neon paper accolades piling up...except them?
When I was a young child I used to have a recurring nightmare that usually ended with me sitting up in bed screaming myself hoarse. No, it didn't involve monsters, aliens, or any creatures that frighten me (like spiders *shudders*). It was always me in some strange place like a mall or amusement park, getting somehow separated from either a parent or babysitter, and watching in horror as they forget me and leave me there (magically deaf to my shouts, of course). Even now, some 16 years later, I can still vividly recall the image in my mind.
As an [aspiring] adult I now see that at the root of my childhood nightmare was the simple but profound fear of being forgotten or abandoned.
And I still find that just as horrifying and scary as I did then.
The world often feels like a foreign, perilous and altogether intimidating place, much like a crowded mall would look to a 3-4 year old. When some entity you trust to guide, encourage, or protect you fails - forgets you need them, what's left to do but panic? Or feel hurt and outraged? Or both?
It's subtle but tangible reality. People are like 3-4 year olds; they need to be reassured or at least recognized for what they're doing well. They need to be reminded that they matter to someone...even if it's through something as trivial as a little piece of paper in a bucket.