Life Affirming by Flower Pearson
It’s so easy to talk to kids. They’ve always got something with them that they love, or they want to show you, and apart from that they’re open books anyway, it’s not difficult to find an opening to a conversation with a small person. In fact the most difficult part of any interaction with them is finding a way to end it.
Last week I was at a choir event and everyone there had name tags. The new members had a red background so we were all aware of who’s name we should pretend we already knew, and those who we could introduce ourselves to without the abject horror of finding out you’d been standing beside them every week for three years and still fail to recognize them. But still, it was awkward. Once I had approached a couple of people and said hello I began to wish the name tags were a little more illuminating. When we visit the animal shelter, the animal has a little bio beside their kennel. Things like “Coco - does not play well with others” or “Rita – timid but keen to be cuddled after a few minutes” and even “Bob – not interested in you as a person but loves to play with the mouse on a string”. This is all very helpful and it oils the wheels of friendship very well.
I can absolutely see the benefit of having something akin to The Terminator robot in the movie. Every time he looks at someone he gets shown a summary of who this person is and some basic background. How helpful would that be? I mean, he would at least be able to converse pleasantly for a little while before killing you. Although, since that particular robot is portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger I suspect any conversation would be, shall we a say … a little stiff. I have to say he is perfect for the role of “robot killing machine” and I can’t imagine anyone else being able to portray it so well, except perhaps a solid block of mahogany carved into the form of a large, braided loaf, before being very thoroughly oiled.
Kids have an easy time – they are congratulated all the time and constantly affirmed for everything. Why don’t I get a sticker when I’m brave at the dentist anymore? When I get new shoes, not one person asks me how fast I can run in them. It’s disappointing and it makes life much less shiny.
I think I will start an affirmation group. I will be the Chairperson (and I will have a large badge that says so). We can have various sticker packs available which will range from “I got up and brushed my teeth today” all the way to the rare and much coveted “I cooked the right amount of spaghetti today, and will not have it sitting in my fridge for a week looking like a mop head which, having soaked up a lake of disappointment, looks sadly at me every time I push past it to get to something more appetizing”.
Perhaps we could even get those workplace signs like the “No workplace accidents for X days” but with wording like “No eye rolling for X minutes” or “X number of days since a pile of copies were made but which were then found to contain a mistake, so had to be hidden at the bottom of the recycling bin or discreetly taken home for disposal”. What do you think? I think just spending a couple of hours together once a week, walking about congratulating each other for our accomplishments… “Well done! You found your phone today without having to call it!” and “High five!!! You picked up after your dog without gagging today!” would make the world a much happier place I feel.
Now if you’ll excuse me I need to stop typing in order to pat myself on the back for finishing this blog post. YAY ME!