I've been known to applaud students right in the middle of class if they say something something great. I've been known to cry "Bravo!" and actually rise to my feet.
When I grade papers, I write "Bravo!" in the margins when I see flair in any form.
Why that word? The word bravo derives from the Italian word meaning brave. Originating from 18th century Italian opera, the word isn't as common as it once was.
But it should be.
We cry out to celebrate after a strong performance because we recognize something great. What did we see? I wondered this morning if that "something great" relates to acts of bravery that we recognize and respond to.
Every great act requires bravery. What fear, what challenge, what opposition did we rise up against to do this thing we are doing? For some of us, waking up and making it to the bathroom is a courageous act.
I imagine a chorus of invisible witnesses who cheer us on in our daily toil. The excellent performances of simple folks who rise up against whatever enemy deserve our applause. I rise to my feet; I clap my hands for you. "Bravo! You are brave! You are brave today, and we recognize it."