Archive for Work

Jesus > Easter Bunny

I worked this evening – Easter Sunday. And although I’ve been missing my family, spending Easter with the guys that I support was one of the best alternatives.

As a support worker for three young guys with developmental disabilities, things can get difficult at times, but others can be extremely hilarious and rewarding. Tonight was one of those special nights.

Going into work on Easter, I expected to hear a great deal about the Easter Bunny and how great he (she?) is. However, that was thankfully not the case. Instead, I was so encouraged about the enthusiasm these guys had about their love for Jesus. Even though the Easter Bunny “had come” and “dropped off” chocolates for them, that was not their main focus. One of the guys in particular could not cease to talk about Jesus and his love for him the whole night.

Here’s where the hilarity and the fun came in: I began to read from one of their books consisting of a bunch of easy to follow Bible stories. One of the guys decided that he wanted to act out Jesus’ parts. To do this effectively, he retrieved a bath towel and wrapped it around his waist. As I read the story of the crucifixion (as per his request), he stood up and stretched out his arms as if Jesus on the cross. He went through Jesus’ death and burial, and when it came time for Jesus’ resurrection he sprang to his feet with such excitement and said [speaking to Jesus] “Thank you, Jesus – You came to life. I’m so happy!!!”

This guy loves Jesus, and I have always known this, but his love for Him has normally been equated with all the members of the make-believe crew (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, etc). It was so refreshing to hear him talking about Jesus (the real meaning of Easter) so persistently and with such vigor.

I was really encouraged tonight and I’m glad that I had a chance to spend Easter with them. It was honestly so much fun!

And with that, I leave you with other cute and thoughtful statements made by the guys:

“I loooooove Jesus. …Not Satan.”

“God has a grey beard.”

“Jesus won’t get mad that we’re acting like him, eh? He won’t mind?”

“I don’t like the guards – they hit Jesus. Boom!”

“I’m done acting now. I’m tired. I’m a good actor.”

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Scientifically Proven Relationship Advice

And it all starts with how you respond to pie…

You might think that the way in which you react to someone’s negative event will determine the quality of your relationship over time, however it has been found that reactions to positive events (accomplishments, good news), are of even greater importance.

Gable, Gonzaga, and Strachman (2007) explain that there are four ways that we can respond to someone’s positive news. Let’s relate the accomplishment to pie, shall we?

Scene: Person A rushes into the room yelling: “I just won a pie eating competition!!!”, how do you, (Person B) respond?

1. Active-Constructive – Praise. Rejoice. Expand. Ask questions.
Person B: “That’s awesome! All that hard work expanding your stomach has finally paid off! When’s your next competition? I’d love to be there to cheer you on!

2.Passive-Constructive – Unenthusiastic praise.
Person B [smiles]: “That’s nice, dear.”

3. Active-Destructive – demeaning the accomplishment
Person B: “Wow, are you sure you want that title? You must have ingested a million calories, do you think you’ll get fat?”

4. Passive-Destructive – Completely passes over the accomplishment and focuses attention on themselves or other things
Person B: “I like pie. Did I ever tell you of the time that I ate a lot of pie? Man, it’s such an intense story…” [continues on with story]

You can probably guess that the active-constructive response is the best one to engage in, and is related to higher relationship satisfaction.

So the next time your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/friend says “I won a pie eating competition!!!”, “I created a cure for cancer!!!”, or “I just climbed Mt Everest, and I’m finally backkkk!!!”, you now have scientific information that has been statistically proven to assist you in refraining from saying a mere “That’s nice.”

How do you react when someone tells you good news? Do you always engage in one type? Or do you tend to act differently depending on the person relaying the news?

Each one of us in my class had to figure this out. So last week as part of our positive psychology challenge, we had to evaluate our reactions and discuss situations in which we engage in active-constructive ways of responding.

The following are some of my observations. And keep in mind, this is all very subjective. It would be interesting to see how others perceive the way in which I interact with them. So, if you want to weigh in, go for it!

I think I genuinely rejoice in others accomplishments.

One of our housemates came home with some pretty exciting news this week so each one of us in the house took turns rejoicing in her accomplishment and showered her with questions of genuine interest.

Sometimes however, you must make sure that your enthusiasm does not come across as fake and sarcastic. If you become more excited then the person telling you the news, it can get awkward. So I think a good gauge is to match the other person’s level of excitement.

BUT this is totally different in other situations. I noticed this while at work (I’m a support worker for individuals with developmental disabilities). This past weekend, one of the guys informed me that he had just learned how to make tea this week. He was beaming with pride and went on to show me all the types of teas he had made. I had absolutely no trouble at all letting him know how proud I was of him as well as tell him how capable I know he is in learning new things. And I felt as though this was an appropriate situation where I could over exaggerate my enthusiasm and it wouldn’t be interpreted as fake. He doesn’t always have the highest self-esteem, so although he was excited for himself, he also needed to hear it from others. I also noticed that after praising him, he felt more accomplished and sure of himself.
And with that, we moved on to learning how to make hot chocolate!

With his newfound confidence in the kitchen, pretty soon he’ll be baking pie in no time…

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