Thursday, September 29, 2011

Medals Matter

Warm fuzzies, also known in the 1960s as "positive strokes," is something that parents who want to raise emotionally healthy children cannot do without.

Warm fuzzies come in verbal and non-verbal forms. Verbal warm fuzzies are words that feel good to children; non-verbal warm fuzzies are good-feeling actions.

As we saw previously, smiles, tender touches, gifts and friendly play are some of the non-verbal good stuff that children appreciate.The verbal fuzzies are praise, positive programming and emotional coaching.
~The Art of Positive Reinforcement

Warm fuzzies. They're a parent's best friend. (Right...actual parents?) I think most of us can look back on our childhood and see it littered with mounds of warm fuzzies. All the awards given out come the end of the school year---you know they made one up for each kid, the certificate if you even participated in a competition, and the trophies. Don't even get me started on the trophies. I'm pretty sure I had a dance trophy at one point. That's right people, DANCE. Anyone who has seen me attempt anything requiring physical coordination beyond the wrist can attest to the fact that it does NOT warrant a trophy. But I'll take it.

I'm all for that positive reinforcement. Let's build those kids up. Give them stickers, certificates, trophies...and then drop them. I mean, when's the last time you got a trophy, adult populace? Too long ago is my guess. Here's the thing: a couple of weeks ago the Rhodes Runners took on a 5K Challenge. Those of you who don't consider that a challenge should see the pictures of my father at the finish. You'll reconsider. We stretched, we ran, and we ate french toast. The kids got their faces painted. (My 18-year-old brother would have had he not been forcefully restrained). And then most of us left.

LUCKILY, Jill stayed behind and was rewarded for her presence. WITH A MEDAL. In actuality, it wasn't for her patience, but she had taken Silver in her division. And as it turned out, Jill was not alone. My aforementioned father ALSO medaled in his division taking the bronze, tormented runner that he was. And...wait for it...I too was a recipient of The Bronze. Capital "the" obviously.

Since most of us had missed the medal ceremony, it was clearly necessary to hold one of our own. It's difficult to tell in this photograph, but Jill was standing on a pot in recognition of her Silver Status.

I was overjoyed. And somewhat emotional following our stirring rendition of the national anthem. Homemade ice cream, peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and cupcakes only further amplified said joy.

I wore my medal at various intervals throughout the coming week, and encouraged my fellow winners to do the same. I decided it might interfere with my golf game, glinting in the sun as it dangled from my neck, and I restrained myself from wearing it on a date. (Who knows when he got a medal last?) Otherwise, it's a great neck-strengthener. And a great reminder that MEDALS MATTER.

Let's get on that positive reinforcement adults! There are days when you warrant a sticker for even getting up in the morning. So keep some on hand. And maybe distribute them to worthy recipients throughout the day. The childhood days of meaningless trophies need not be lost. Guaranteed there are thousands of warm fuzzies in that golden cup! Let them flow forth.

Basically, go out and win a medal***. They matter.

Race days=my best look. Hands down.

Miranda and Mom! Both successful runners.

Working it out...

***If you need a recommendation for a small race which distributes medals to each age division, let me know. I might have information on one. And am looking for more.
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