Monday, August 10, 2009

Positive reinforcement...

I returned on Monday from a vacation that almost never happened. (Read about it on my wife's blog here). When we started out our flights had to be redirected. Its so busy on the airlines these days that its unavoidable for them to be overbooked. Our check in assistant was under a tremendous amount of stress trying to fix our, and many others, flight issues. As she started feeding me the bad news, I began telling her how much I appreciated her making the effort to try and fix this. It was really hard not to get emotional about it - being told that your not going to get to Disney etc - but realizing it was not her fault and that she was trying her best, I continually reminded her how my whole family were appreciative of the job she was doing.

Of course, the people standing next to me had engaged in mortal combat with their assistant.

Our check-in assistant kept going and going - trying this avenue, calling this manager - and eventually - result! All the time, I made sure to let her know how appreciated she was. And praise God! - her efforts really did pay off - she kept going for us even though there were so many opportunities for her not to care.

This was an amazing positive outcome compared to where we thought it would go. But, if I am to be honest with myself, choosing the path of encouraging rather than criticizing is not something that I think comes as naturally to me as it should.

I'm left thinking these questions of myself, thinking how it really helped to be thanking and encouraging the check-in assistant.... do I build up or destroy with my words? Do I make a point of telling my children how good they are or do I only react to the bad? Do I daily seek to edify my wife with what I say to her?

And most importantly, how does God relate to me in this way? Shouldn't I be having His attitude ALL the time? Knowing the positive reinforcement that He gives me through his words, through his revelation, what right do I have to criticize?

I find it so easy to type, and so difficult to put in practice.

1 comment:

  1. Yanno, people are far easier to motivate by building them up. Yet we continue to try to make change by criticizing and complaining. Why do we keep choosing a less effective way? I think it's because we're all insecure and scared that if we build someone up, they'll overtake us and take advantage of us and leave us in the dirt. We feel almost protected by our own wrath.

    But I think it would help tremendously to take a step back, ask ourselves what is the outcome we seek. And then ask ourselves if appreciation and edification would help achieve that outcome more than kicking up a stink would. And I bet it would. In every case.

    Great post babe.


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