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?"
Let's be honest, when people do something that annoys or bothers us, we often react: we roll our eyes, shake our head, or make a comment that lets them know we do not approve of what we are seeing or hearing. If their behavior/story is sufficiently irritating, we might have have an "emotional meltdown." (I've done this way too many times with my kids). But what about when we are noticing good things happening in their life? Do we notice then simply move on, or do we tell them how happy (pleased, proud, excited) we are for them? Although I'm sure it could be overdone, I'm guessing that there are people in our life who would be blessed if every once in a while we shared some Relational Fireworks celebrating how God is working in their life. In 1 Corinthians 12:26 we read, "When one suffers we all suffer, when one rejoices we all rejoice." My experience is that we have the "mutual suffering" part down pretty well, it is the "mutual rejoicing" part that many (myself included) need to work on.
So let your "fireworks" go on display every once in a while. You don't have to over do it; but you can let others know when you are excited and rejoicing with them. I'm willing to bet that the practice of "relational fireworks" will make a significant difference in the lives of many.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.