Pom-Poms Anyone?

Each of us is greatly influenced by support. Positive reinforcement works very well for people and animals of all species. Every child shapes his or her future by what they are praised for and what they are chastised for day in and day out. Dogs become house trained not by their own initiative but by what they are rewarded for with praise or treats. Every path in life is easier with support and praise. But what if there is no support or praise on our chosen path? What then?

Each of us has two choices when support is absent. We can pick up the whip and drive ourselves mercilessly or we can pick up the pom-poms and be our own cheerleader. Both are called motivation but only one will bring peace and joy into our lives. The whip is the symbol of criticism and a Machiavellian focus on the destination. The pom-pom is a symbol of support and joy and a focus on the journey.

Years ago, up in Maine, I watched a tractor pulling contest. Team after team of oxen were yelled at by big burly drivers and with whips cracking over their heads, the oxen pulled those sleds. I, along with everyone else there, was astonished to see a slight woman come with her team and just by talking approvingly to her team, win the contest.

We are no different than those oxen. We will respond and pull our load through life no matter what but who drives us will determine whether this is a beautiful journey or a drudge. There are two drivers inside each of us. Which driver we choose will affect our life and influence the lives of our children and everyone we love. Choose wisely.

(c)2013 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


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