Suddenly, I've become addicted to a computer game. This is unusual for me as I'm not much into playing games on the computer. I'm as guilty as anyone for playing the occasional game of solitaire and the even more occasional game of Word Whomp. But I use these games as little treats after writing reports or blogs or whatevers on.
But this game has me really additiced.
Joe too has gotten into playing it. He's a confirmed anti-gamer with the exception of Spider Solitaire. Joe thinks that crosswords come from the 'mothership' of entertainment. He doesn't get games and thinks most of them are just silly. But there he is glued to the screen playing game after game of Bejeweled.
It's a simple minded game, you line up gems in three or more and they disappear to be replaced by others. It's not a game that requires much in the way of skills. But we're spending hours and hours playing it.
Someone said something at work the other day, and now I think I know the attraction of the game. One of the people I work with was in my office and talking about how difficult the job is, emotionally, and was recounting a story of running into the ED who made a brief comment like, "I've been getting good feedback on your work, thanks."
"That's what I needed. I didn't know it, but that's what I needed, just a little bit of praise!"
Funny that we who work in a field that believes in positive reinforcement, for them, don't practice it much with us. I'm good a self reinforcing, it's a skill I learned as a child, so I don't notice going to work day after day after day and getting pay without praise. Sure people are friendly and welcoming, but no one says much about my work - to me. Ummmm, I don't say much about their work to them. Yet I work with people who have skills I really admire.
I was thinking about this while playing Bejewelled, that way I could bill it as work time, and suddenly the game spoke to me, "Excellent" it said when a bunch of gems all exploded at one and point ranked up. I grinned, pleased with myself.
The game is 'reinforceing' me. It's giveing me praise when I play it well.
It's stupid, it's a game, but that tiny bit of praise felt good.
I know from all sorts of experience how praise, honestly given, can affect the self esteem of children, with or without disabilities. I know how praise, withheld, can damage even the best of relationships over time.
So why do I fall out of the habit or being opennly positive?
I don't know why but I did.
Who needs New Years to make a resolution?
Mine begins now.
Excellent - thanks for reading my blog, I truly appreciate it.