Years ago I heard the Christian author/pastor, Charles Swindoll, tell the story of asking his adult son what "times" he remembers most from his childhood. The son told him one of his most memorable occasions was a day when he was playing football in the cold, wind, and rain. His team was way behind (no chance of catching up) and most of the "stands" were empty. But he said he looked up and there was his mom and dad, still in the "stands" cheering him on. This, the son said, was indeed a special moment. Well this past month my son and his mom had a similar experience...
Five years ago, for Christmas, my wife bought me a Fitbit watch and have worn it every day since. I love this exercise watch, it is one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever received. I love the way it: counts my steps, let's me know when I need to "get up and get moving," tracks my exercise, and helps me set fitness goals. In addition to telling me the time, it is a very practical fitness tool. Another thing I like about this watch is that it gives me positive feedback when I reach my daily step goal. When I reach my daily goal a type of "colorful fireworks" display begins to flash along with a vibration for my wrist. It's my Fitbits way of saying, "Great job! You reached one of your fitness goals today." I'm not 100% sure why, but I find this positive feedback to be very encouraging. In fact, if I haven't experienced my Fitbit Fireworks for the day I will often say to myself, "I need to get up and start walking." Through the feedback of this small fitness tracker my behavior is actually being shaped in a positive way. So the question I've been asking myself is: "Why don't I put more effort into giving positive feedback to others when I see good things happening in their life?" Is it possible that others could be influenced by my personal "Relational Fireworks?"
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.