You Know I’m Bad—for Some Moore…

Ohh…are you being good? Behaviors can be learned by observation, example, order, or correction. What is the difference between how behaviors are learned and corrected in humans and animals? 

TRAINING BEHAVIOR IN HUMANS
The first way humans learn behavior is through observational learning of a behavior, attitude, or emotional expression. A baby, even before understanding words, observes how to act from watching actions and gestures from others, as was discovered by Albert Bandura, an American-Canadian psychologist in 1961. When a baby is just over a year old, the baby starts to learn the association of gestures with words. Parents introduce words which accompany gestures to indicate simple orders such as “yes”, “no”,  “stop”, “don’t”, and “come here”. The baby begins to develop vocabulary and respond with gestures to communicate. Once a child reaches adolescence, and are able to distinguish between right and wrong, they may question why they are asked to do something. They are either obedient to rules or use abstract reasoning to determine how they will react. A person might be conditioned to follow a rule, and do so in obedience, simply because they know it is right or wrong. This is typical of younger children. However, as a child grows into adulthood, they use reasoning to consider the options they have and what consequences might be associated with these decisions.

Positive Conditioning
Conditioning Behavior
Behaviors can be conditioned with rules, procedures, and expectations in place. Rules have set consequences which are most effective if they are served as soon as a rule is broken. Rules are stated and understood at the beginning of any endeavor, and if a rule is broken, there is a punishment which should be expected. Procedures on the other hand, outline the how-to process for an expected behavior of which there are no consequences. It is important for teachers to have these in place at the beginning of the school year. It establishes structure and guidelines that help prevent unruliness in the classroom. Without these stated and enforced, classes can be difficult to manage because with each individual comes to the classroom with their own idea of what is expected.

Modeling is another way to teach expected behavior in a positive manner. Both children and adults learn visually through observation and being shown how to do something. In a social setting, a person might observe other people and adjust how they act to match them appropriate to the setting. A teacher might use modeling in the classroom to point out how a student is demonstrating good behavior for the class to follow. An airline attendant may show travelers on an airline how to use oxygen masks in case of emergency.

Ordering is another way people learn to behave. Firmly, yet respectfully giving an order can be effective. Yelling orders, demanding behavior, without any respect, can have very little effect other than trying to intimidate the person to conform. Within the workplace, a manager might give orders to their staff that they need to stay on task to meet a deadline.

Having consequences in place helps behavior stay on track but gives a person the freedom of being able to know what happens if they don’t follow them. Part of the responsibility of being an adult is being able to have the freedom to make decisions by oneself taking into consideration consequences. Considering the consequences before doing something that may break the rules, helps a person evaluate whether a bad behavior is worth the punishment. Before a person breaks the law, they should consider that they might get caught, be fined, or go to jail. The behavior or result of the behavior, might be more important for an individual than the consequence. For others, the consequences restrain the person from pursuing a behavior which could compromise their safety or that of another person’s.

There are people who also have erratic behaviors which can be the result of medical issues or affected by drugs or alcohol. Behavior also affected by spontaneity, and irresponsibility—at the spur of the moment what seems like a good idea overcomes any rational thought process. Unwritten rules of our society might also affect behavior which is erratic, and these who act out of what is acceptable within society can be subjected to social consequences.

Positive Reinforcement
Positivity is always a good rule of thumb when it comes to behavior and reformation. A responsible person with a well-formed conscience is able to correct themselves. Although not immune to human error, they realize when their behavior is out of line, and seek to change their behavior to do what is right. Even if it is bad behavior that is repeated, they have a positive attitude knowing it is something which they can work on.

A positive attitude can be used to correct bad behavior in another person or in oneself. Even the most self-motivated person who wants to reform their behavior, is capable of slipping back into bad behavior. If a person has a positive attitude and can forgive themselves of their imperfection, they can continue to persevere at good behavior until they perfect it, and probably be very successful in their efforts. For those who need another person to hold them accountable, a positive spirit from an accountability partner can keep a person on track especially in the cases when temptation tries to win out over resolution. Just like a bridge from old behavior to new behavior, using positive reinforcement can help pave the way over falling into despair caused by not holding to new resolutions. People like to understand that they are good and are doing a good job. By complimenting a person on their achievements and letting them know they are doing well can add wonders to their morale and self-confidence. Finding qualities that can be praised as part of reformation helps encourage correction.

Using incentives is another way to reward success. Especially for more challenging transformations of behavior, it is a good idea to have a plan in place. Strategizing how to change a behavior might include making a list of objectives of desired results, a list of reasons to serve as reminders of why it the transformation is necessary, and ideas for rewards for achievements along the way. Some behaviors take longer to change than others. Earning incentives for good behavior can make working for new resolutions more fun!

Life Experiences
Life experiences can motivate a person to change behavior. The life experience might be learned from one’s self or from witnessing the life experiences of others. A person might go through a life-changing experience which changes their perspective enough to make them committed to change their behavior. A person who becomes addicted to a substance might suffer in such a way that their situation ‘wakes them up’ to not continuing. The person can even find support with groups of others who can help them keep on the path of recovery and be committed to making better choices. Likewise, a person can learn from another’s experience. A friend’s story can leave such an impact which causes them to rethink their own behaviors and become committed to changing their own life.

Repetition
Repetition also contributes to correcting bad behavior. Repeating a mantra that a certain action should not be done, reinforces that it shouldn’t. Having constant reminders to stay on the path of good behavior helps keep resolutions at the forefront of the mind. Relearning helps build new habits to foster steady good behavior.   

Negative Conditioning
Correcting behavior the wrong way can be classified as forms of abuse. Physical contact, verbal correction, and manipulation are sometimes used as ways to correct, but they are also more likely to be classified as abuse. Whether physical contact is abusive or not is determined by the evidence, what the intent is, if a minor or adult is involved, how hard the force, and an evaluation of the severity from the damage. Examples of physical correction are grabbing an arm to hold it back, spanking a child, slapping a face, beating someone, burning someone, or hitting or harming a person using a weapon, rape and other ways. Verbal comments can also be abusive. Harsh words, yelling at a person, name calling, harassment are all ways which can cause emotional damage. Even if a person is angry, correcting a person should be done firmly, but using gentle words. It is usually unproductive to yell although it may help vent feelings. Manipulation is also commonly used as a last resort when no other means of correction seem to work. While this may be effective as a way to bring about the desired behavior in a person, there is deception involved which leads to mistrust and resentment. The short-term good of achieving correction, is brought about by the evil from manipulation. Correcting behavior in another person is more likely if it is the person’s willful choice to change, rather than by tricking them using deceptive means.

The Effects of Positive Reinforcement on Humans for Correcting Behavior
How effective is it to use positive reinforcement as a means for correction rather than negative reinforcement? For one it is more likely to have a successful outcome. People generally respond to positiveness better rather than being forced into correction. It also is less risky. Using negative means for correcting behavior show that the person correcting an individual has less control over the situation. They are resorting to force to yield an outcome. In many ways, it is the way an adult might correct a child who they have lost control over. They resort to yelling, spanking, or manipulation. Adults who have not mastered positive reinforcement can also use these methods as a way to correct other adults. It generally does not work, because by adulthood there is a knowledge of one’s own independency and an expectation of individual respectfulness. Positive reinforcement and patience is more likely to work for both children and adults. It builds up the individual and guides them to making better choices on their own. The result is that the adult is proud that they have achieved a desired behavior, because it was their decision to change. Using negative methods, forces behavior that is likely to only change out of fear of further abuse.

Effects of Therapy for Abuse and Disorders
Counseling is an effective means for those who seek to change their behavior, those who have been physically or emotionally abused, and for those with disorders. Counseling can provide positive reinforcement while the individual works through their individual situations. Sharing information in a counseling environment provides professional guidance in a safe environment, with a qualified professional.

The Success Rate of Prison as a Means of Effectively Correcting Humans
Persistence in changing one’s own behavior pays off as some behaviors can land a person in prison. Most prisons offer in-prison rehabilitation programs which help identify criminal tendencies and solve recidivism, a person’s relapse into criminal behavior. These in-prison rehabilitation programs have been successful in reducing recidivism by up to 35% to prevent future crimes. According to the California legislature, there are 8 significant criminal risk factors: antisocial behavior, antisocial personality, criminal thinking, antisocial relationships, poor relationships with family and/or spouse, low performance at school and at work, low social engagement for leisure or recreational activities, and substance abuse. Rehabilitation programs can help lower the criminal risk of people who display these characteristics. Prison education, employment, and health treatment programs offer a number of directions to prisoners can provide hope to prisoners setting them on a new road for their future.

TRAINING BEHAVIOR IN ANIMALS
Both humans and animals have the ability to be trained to change their behavior. In 1902, Ivan Pavlov, a Russian psychologist, studied behaviors in dogs and learned they could be trained to recognize an object to trigger a response. He noticed that a dog’s salivation changed when food was placed in front of the dog. Pavlov was able to condition a dog to have the same behavior using an unconditioned stimulus which was then associated with the response. For example, a dog started to saliva when there was food. A bell was introduced. The dog was trained that when a bell was present, food would be present. Therefore, the dog was conditioned to learn that the bell meant food and so he would start to saliva. When the bell was shown to the dog, the dog started to saliva because he knew that food was coming.

Symbols used to Trigger Behavior in Children and Adults
Conditioning is common in children especially in elementary school who are grasping new concepts of structure and order. They learn that certain symbols and colors have meaning and that they are expected to recognize and act on these. Teachers use call-and-response techniques to manage classroom behavior. Teachers teach students short, clever rhymes to let the student know they need to stop what they are doing and pay attention. They also use hand gestures and clapping as part of their call-and-response. Students respond to desired behaviors while having fun communicating back to the teacher that they understand what needs to be done. Adults also learn symbols which have meaning. Traffic signs are symbols of what behavior is expected from a driver or pedestrian. Behavior is trained so that we know how to drive and cross the street. There are also consequences which result when a driver or pedestrian does not follow these signs.

Similarities Between Learned Behavior in Animals and in Humans
Animals and humans learn behavior through positive reinforcement, observation, and repetition. Animals and humans respond to positive praise. Visually both learn what behavior is expected. Practicing behavior repeatedly helps master a new behavior. While most may assume that humans have a higher intellect than animals, this is not necessarily the case. Animals can be very intellectual and have the keen ability to sense danger, have an awareness of their surroundings, and the ability to communicate through sound. Most animals can be trained to new behaviors, although most respond to stimuli while humans are more likely to make decisions for their own new behavior for the sake of self-improvement.

Taming the Differences
It is more likely that an animal is subjected to physical conditioning as a way to learn behavior. It would be thought of as abuse to use a stick to train a child, but with a dog, there is no thought to using a stick or a leash for correction and to control them. Animals are submissive to humans, for whatever behavior the human wants of them—if no other reason of having no choice because of their confinement. They are taken from a community of same animals and are in a human’s kingdom, the house. They do not have any organizations they can call for help or support. At the mercy of the human, they hope for the best care. The human on the other hand at least has access to support organizations and resources available for abusive situations.

Human Differentiation Between the Behavioral Bias
Humans are conditioned best with intellect and a positive attitude. In George Orwell’s book 1984, he writes about a community called the Proles. These are people who have their own community within a larger government-controlled community they do not interact frequently with. The Proles are more concerned about their immediate world. They preserve the human spirit, are a feisty group of people, focused on love, hard work, are of a lower social level, and do not keep up with the world outside of their own. These Proles could be compared to the typical large retail stores of today, such as Walmart. As hearty, blue-collared employees they may have been with the store for many years and have built a bond and community with other employees who have been there for a long period of time. For these large discount retail stores, such as this one, it is typical that there is a community which forms within the store. The demographic is that of one which might be more social, less accepting of others, composed of individuals with lower education levels, a higher degree of attitude, and a need for order. These people need a structured system. They may fight the system with an attitude and break the rules but they need structure to align themselves to for productivity and success as individuals and as a whole. Obedience is also more likely, because rules and expectations are clear, but so is rebellion.

The next stage of education level is those who have a professional nature and maintain inner discipline and self-control. They readily adaptable to working with others. These people tend to accept others easier and realize that productivity is more important. Although structure is needed for behaviors, such as an HR policy, there isn’t much need for consequences for broken policy from management as all are expected to be adults. These employees require a looser managed structure because they are able to control their own behaviors.

People who are of an even higher intellect, need minimal to no structure. They typically are responsible for controlling others, and while they control themselves, they think in a wider capacity and have an ability to do more within their position. No rules can apply to them because they typically choose to live outside of any system’s rules. While they are capable of making larger decisions for the good of society or people, they also are capable of great damage. They typically do not misbehave, but they are not obedient to the small man’s laws. Overall, these people may break the rules or law, but typically they are loyal to their responsibility and make decisions for the good of people. Any bad behavior at an advanced level usually falls into loop-holes and is justified because the good outcome outweighs the bad. There is a reason in other words.

Correctional facilities apply to all. However the more intellect a person has and is a respected within society, despite whether what they do is good or bad, they are more likely not to go to a correctional facility. Quick thinkers also fall into this category as well, however, they are more likely to be institutionalized than those with caliber in society. Intellect is not necessarily defined upon education level. Speed is also a sign of intellect. Some people think so quickly they are able to twist the current system to their benefit and fool the entire population.

In the end, it is one’s own behavior for which one is ultimately accountable. Each must be responsible for guiding their own conscience for good and striving to go in the direction of good behavior over the tendency for making bad choices. This doesn’t necessarily mean a person lives less fully by having good behavior. It means they care about other people in the world who their behaviors may affect and for their own eternal good.


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The ABCs of Human Behavior: Behavioral Principles for the Practicing Clinician
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Cher-Reading List

Enjoy reading, watching movies, and shopping? Cherbloggin has a list of products on each article page. Order by clicking on affiliate links on this page and throughout @cherbloggin on WordPress. There are over 500+ links to product recommendations including books, movies, appliances, gifts, and subscriptions. Here is a list of books I’ve recently read and enjoyed! Check back as I continue to add to this list with new books and media every couple of weeks.


Books
The Key the Doctrine of the Eucharist
by Abbot Vonier, foreword Peter Kreeft and Aiden Nichols
The richness of the sacrament of the Eucharist and the biblical meaning behind the tradition of the sacrifice at the Mass is explained in this book. I enjoyed this book so much, I read it twice.

Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross
by Edward Sri
Mary was obedient to God’s will, continuing to say yes even under the most difficult circumstances always trusting and believing in humbleness and obedience. This book takes a journey through Mary’s life and shows how she lives her life, filled with faith, with examples that can be applied to our own journey.

Jesus, The Way, the Truth and The Life
by Marcellino D’Ambrosio
If you have ever struggled with reading the Bible, this book pieces the stories and books of the Bible together with clarity using everyday language. There are interesting historical tidbits and facts included which enrich a person’s understanding of the Bible and the time in history in which Jesus lived.

The Power of Humility
by Fr. Candice Bourke
This book explains what being humble means in relation to God, other people, and in the way a person views themself. The power of humility changes a person to live a more virtuous life.

15 Days of Prayer with Thomas Merton
by Andre Gozier, O.S.B.
Thomas Merton, a Cistercian monk, draws from classic and monastic spirituality with daily suggestions of how to pray to have a stronger relationship with God.

Thank You for Being Such a Pain. Spiritual Guidance for Dealing with Difficult People.
by Mark I. Rosen, PhD
This book provides spiritual guidance on how to deal with people who can be challenging and advice on how to work through troublesome relationships. There are several enlightening quotes and stories throughout this book to enjoy and learn from as gems of inspiration.

1984
by George Orwell
A classic novel, and thought-provoking book of what society is like controlled by a government which limits knowledge, demands conformity of lifestyle, and has no legal system but grave punishments for not being aligned with beliefs by the government. Orwell presents the idea of what it might be to exist in a world where Big Brother is always watching, love and free-thought is restricted, truths which have always been taught are re-written to new truths, and vocabulary changed to a new vocabulary.

Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book 2020
by Andrew Faulkner and Conrad Chavez
This book has easy to follow lessons for the most recent version of Photoshop with exercises to follow and a review at the end of each chapter. The book includes a link to download exercise files for each chapter. Additional resources are available in the back of the book including a visual chart for tools and quick keys.

Affiliate Marketing:
How to Become a Seven Figure Affiliate Marketer in Today’s Digital World

by K.M., Kasim

Blogging a 6 Figure Business Strategy in 2020: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide on How to Make a Profit and Passive Income Online for a Living, Using Social Media, Seo, and Affiliate Marketing Secrets
by Brandon Blueprints

Content Machine:
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by Dan Norris

How To Make Money Blogging:
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How to Start a Blog: Make Money Online in 2020.
A Step by Step Guide to Promote Your Business

by Sarah Miller and Vanessa Manson

How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers (Kindle Version)
by Steve Scott

The Profitable Content System:
The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating Wildly Profitable Content Without Burnout

by Meera Kothand

Dynamic Digital Marketing:
Master the World of Online and Social Media Marketing to Grow Your Business
Dawn McGruer


Movies
Tangled
Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi
Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard 
Rating: PG
Format: DVD
This 2010 Disney, computer-animated, musical fantasy film is based on the story of Rapunzel, who has magical long-hair with powers to glow and heal. She lives in a castle secluded from the world with her stepmother. After befriending a runaway thief named Flynn in the castle, she convinces him to help her escape and see the world which leads her to her parents. A bright, light-hearted movie for any age!

Sing
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane 
Director: Garth Jennings
Rating: PG
Format: DVD
This 2016, light-hearted, computer-animated, movie produced by Illumination released by Universal Pictures, is filled with music and funny scenes that are sure to make you laugh. Singing animals, each with their own personality, showcase their talents in a singing competition which results in saving their favorite theater. If you love music and animated films—this is one you won’t want to miss.


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Amazon Kindle Unlimited
Unlimited reading. Unlimited listening. Any device.


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Personality of Coronavirus

I am surprised at how compliant everyone has been with wearing a mask. It is mandatory within stores and public buildings, but it is just as common to see people wearing masks outside exercising. In Texas, even with the heat in the 100’s, people are continuing to wear masks outdoors, sweating from fear of the Coronavirus.

I think it would be interesting to do a psychological study of people based on how much they are masking themselves. As concern for the Coronavirus has continued, I’ve noticed people covering up their faces more and more. In retail environments where there have been the most people, I have seen people so covered up you cannot even see their face! How can the police even identify a thief anymore? Women are seen wearing large sunglasses and masks so that only their foreheads are left uncovered. Men wear bandanas that cover up the entire bottom half of their face below their eyes. Whereas in most cases it is difficult to implement any kind of policy, somehow wearing a mask is not even questioned. There are very few people who argue with it. How many of these are wearing a mask for prevention reasons and how many are wearing it because of psychological needs for safety, security, love, and belonging?

I have seen people who have their entire face covered. Is this a sign of care and security that the person is trying to create for themselves? Does the amount of coverage of the face signify fulfilling a need of self-love and way of conquering pain in their life, like trying to swaddle themselves in a baby blanket? Or maybe it is coverage from the fear of contracting the virus built up from all the hype and coverage of media, rather than the virus itself.

Perhaps for some, it is a way to physically look better or a means to lose weight. Sweating under a mask burns off calories on an entirely different area of the body than is typical. Similarly, with weight loss, how is it that a person can breathe who is exercising with their mouth and nose covered? I had a gym membership and it was manageable to walk on a treadmill at a slow speed with a mask on. However, any faster cardio activity was nearly impossible as the mask restrained breathing and caused my face to become really hot. Do people who workout intensely masked think it will strengthen their lungs by restraining their air? For those who are self-conscious about the bottom half of their face, it provides a chance to keep it hidden, but for most of us, we need a full supply of air. Likewise, it is a mystery to me how cyclists are able to ride their bikes completely masked. Yet many of them are cycling miles around the lake at the same speed as normal. How many of the walkers and runners with dogs on a leash do not care that the Coronavirus can be contracted to their pet? Where are the pet masks? Wouldn’t it make more sense if both pet and owner wore a mask or didn’t?

Living in a self-expressive era, people are eager to express themselves and show their personality and style. For those who care to express themselves by mask, wearing a unique mask is a way to do this. The number of styles I have seen have ranged from glitter and bling, to exaggerated mouths on the mask, patriotic versions, cartoons, and plenty of different colors and patterns. Those who love to sew, were quick to see the Coronavirus as an opportunity to show their skills. Handmade masks were made and distributed to friends and family members. Many still wear the basic disposable, blue and white mask. Bandanas also have been a quick makeshift for a mask, easily made by folding a bandana into thirds and popping hair bands on each end.

Very few people are actually practicing social distancing with 6 feet of space, but wearing a mask is followed by nearly the entire population and has become a trend. Has self-expression and the trend for fashion tied in with keywords like “social distancing” created a fad to drive compliancy?

Health and self-expression are always going to be top-sellers when it comes to the general public. Having an ailment or a special condition, makes you a commodity. We see this with parents and their children. “My child has ADHD”, or whatever other symptom, suddenly makes the child “special” and the parents have a topic to talk about. Topics revolve around the problem with their child, rather than emphasizing what the child excels in. This is a way parents can converse with one another encountering less feeling of inadequacy. Empathy can be found with a health issue, whereas bragging on talent might create adversity with another parent. The same type of approach applies to adult-to-adult conversation. Adults would rather discuss their woes rather than talk about what is uplifting. How many older people talk about their pains, medications and doctors visits when it would be more pleasant to hear about their life experiences. It creates a concern for self, which results in compassion from the other person. With the Coronavirus everyone gets a special band-aid pasted on their face.

It is understandable that vulnerable populations such as the elderly might have a greater fear of catching the Coronavirus. One would think that children would be of a higher concern as well. In retail store environments, I have heard mothers question why their children must wear a mask or if an exception can be made. Events and kids meals might make exceptions for kids, but with smaller lungs and little bodies, it would seem obvious they would fall into the high concern bracket. Psychologically is it that the parent feels neglected of care and must nurture themselves by wearing a mask while giving the child the benefit of freedom? The parent positions him or herself as the one who needs care above the child, when it should be both.

With the rich and famous, masking opens up more opportunities to be in public and not be identified. For those aspiring to be rich and famous, they too can dress differently and go around town in mask for a different experience. It is a chance for the affluent to be fashionable and show their sense of fashion by affording specialized masks to coordinate with their outfits. An article was posted about the Queen of England who wears a mask that matches her daily wardrobe of brightly colored suits. I also saw a young woman in downtown Dallas who had a mask made of the exact material of her outfit.  

While some cultures such as Islam require head coverings, covering the face is new for most Western cultures. Will this develop a greater appreciation for our mouths? An uncovered mouth is needed for sound and volume. Many hard of hearing must be affected by not being able to hear people who have mouth coverings on. It may create a new vision for how we see people, noticing the person rather than the external qualities. The mouth is also used for reading facial expressions. A person can take a vacation from smiling and no one will even know. I’ve even seen people stick their tongue out at me from behind their mask. And as for revenue from foundation makeup and lipstick, I would imagine sales are down. Personally, I prefer to be mask-free as much as possible, but follow policies where wearing a mask is required.

Wearing a mask is the perfect prelude to a reformation of etiquette in our culture. After being in timeout with the Coronavirus, with shelter in place, we were able to have a greater appreciation for our freedom and ability to interact with one another. Covering the mouth and nose, can visually signify halting gossip and nosiness, which is also indicative of rudeness. When restrictions were lifted for public shopping, it was a renewed experience of respectfulness of distance and the exclusiveness of having space while shopping. People were obedient to this and cautious of infecting others by following social distancing procedures. Now that most places have opened up, there seems to be not much difference as everyday life returns to normal. When we take our masks off, we will see other people’s faces again. What it would be like to remove the band-aids over our mouths and noses yielding a healed and healthy society of people. Furthermore, what if being mask-free meant a world culture safe from the Coronavirus, and one with a greater respectfulness for each other in our interactions and speech.  

Note: It is noted that the Coronavirus is real and has caused many deaths worldwide. This article is written from another perspective hoping to present other points such as how well marketed the Coronavirus has been with precautions followed seamlessly by the majority of the population because of the scare. A lack of respectfulness in today’s culture is equally contagious and deadly, which is a natural segue to this current worldwide concern.


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Spiritual Encouragement: Turning to Prayer and Meditation to Find Encouragement

Many people turn to prayer and meditation to find encouragement. Prayer helps alleviate worries releasing them, leaving a sense of peacefulness. People who pray, find encouragement knowing there is something greater in control of the situation at hand. Time dedicated to prayer and meditation causes an inner peace which naturally results in greater charity and kindness toward others. Whatever you are going through, you can find encouragement, through prayer and meditation.

As the numbers increase of those with the Coronavirus, concerns of how the future will unfold are in question. People are faced with accumulating bills, jobs are in flux for many, and other uncertainties. Despite this, encouragement can be found in worrying less about the future, and focusing more on enjoying the present. There is a time for everything, and perhaps the biggest benefit is being able to enjoy a season of slowing down and making time for nature, people, and personal growth. Make today an enjoyable one and do something you haven’t had the chance to do. Spend time with those you love, speak to a stranger, or make friends with a person you’ve had a conflict with. With more businesses starting to re-open, fears are being subsided as people venture out and return to everyday life while practicing social distancing precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Spiritual growth helps people find encouragement in a world that is filled with despair and fear. It refocuses one’s thoughts on being thankful, casts away worries and doubts, increases charity toward others in speech and action, and enlightens one’s perspective for positivity and hope. Nurturing spirituality results in finding peace with any situation. Find encouragement with daily prayer and mediation!

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Books, E-Books, and Audiobooks
Spiritual Encouragement – Coronavirus

Spiritual Encouragement for Women
Spiritual Encouragement for Men
Spiritual Encouragement for Teens

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Joel Osteen’s Books & Media
Victoria Osteen’s Books & Media

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Family Facetime

One benefit as a result of the Coronavirus quarantine, is spending more time at home. For families who are always on the go, this is an opportunity to spend quality time with the family.

With many families, the time spent together as a family is considerably less than it historically has ever been. Spending time as a family helps bring together the family as a unit while providing the opportunity to teach values to children. Parents and children probably spend more time engrossed in their electronics than with each other. True face time, however, is invaluable. Children need to be loved and learn to love, which can only truly be fostered by spending time in person. The time you invest now with your children teaches them how to be loving people. They learn how to survive in a world of hate and how to love others.

Plan some family time if you haven’t had the chance. Try to get on a regular schedule to plan for family events. If you don’t already eat together because of other commitments, try to make it a point to eat dinner every night, or at least most of the week rather than grabbing something on the go. Plan for family game nights. Plan for family outings or a big vacation and have the family members help contribute by giving each family member a specific part in planning for the trip.

You’ll find that family disagreements are easier resolved when you spend more time in front of each other. Families grow together and love each other when time is spent as a family in person. Face it–families need face time to nurture family.

Build Your Kind. With Face Time.

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Books

 

Go Viral: Clean Up

Several months have passed since the first news announcement of the COVID pandemic went viral. Although people have started to venture out, and businesses are re-opening, a hyper-concern still exists for sterilization, practicing social distancing, and keeping our noses and mouths covered. If only there were such a panic or pandemic with the case of rudeness. What we can do is be prepared for the next rude encounter, the next time someone sets us off, or the next time we are about to act inappropriately toward another. It takes conditioning to be able to master civility. If this were everyone’s preparation, civility would come back into style.

Wearing a stylish mask covers the mouth and nose, but cannot contain the nose protruding into others business or exhaling rude words which has become the standard for today’s culture. What better time than the present than to promote civility of speech while we still have our masks on and are advertising “clean up”? It would seem to be a natural transition while the general public is still wearing masks and is focussed on “clean up”. Cleanliness has become an integral part of everyday, why not upgrade that to speech? Rude speech is by far the largest contaminant to society second to the Coronavirus itself and the physical mask already serves as a good reminder to contain what may be harmful.

While so much concern is spent on keeping everything externally clean, very little time is spent cleaning one’s personal house of your very self. We all have areas to work on. Think about ways of how you can be more kind. Cleaning, if done thoroughly, takes effort at first but the results are well worth it. Start by examining how you are not as kind and then make a commitment to work on those areas. Consider ways of being more charitable in words and actions. With a plan in place and a resolution to be more kind, you’ll whisk away old habits of rudeness leaving a new you!

Go viral with “clean up”. While encouraging cleanliness to prevent the Coronavirus is still very important, equally important is the deadly spread of gossip, hate speech, and discriminatory talk that has become acceptable as the standard of speech throughout the United States. Speak well of others and master civility. Correct those who are contaminated with infectious speech. Consider social distancing from those who are rude and offensive. Raise the standard for etiquette with good speech by encouraging “clean up”.

Be Cultured. Be Kind.

excerpts edited from Go Viral: Clean Up @cultureofkind


Search for these on Amazon…

Best Self: Be You, Only Better
by Mike Bayer

Negative Self-Talk and How to Change It
by Shad Helmstetter

The Power of Self Improvement: A Little Change Can Go A Long Way
by ZeeDan CH

How to Make an Examination of Conscience
by Redemptorist Pastoral Publication

Examination of Conscience for Adults: A Comprehensive Examination Of Conscience Based On Twelve Virtues For The Twelve Months Of The Year
by Rev Donald Miller CSSR


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Goals to Inspire Others

Choose to be a light of inspiration for all those who you encounter throughout the day. In how you communicate, what you do, and what you have to say, you have the ability to positively impact someone’s day. How you interact can cause a domino effect to affect others for better or worse. By resolving to raise your personal standard of etiquette, respect, and kindness, you will notice your relationships improve. Noticing an improvement with yourself, you will also see a significant change in how others interact with you. Living this way as a good example, others will also notice and re-evaluate how they are speaking and acting. You can be an example to others in the way you speech and act. Practicing good etiquette will add the dynamic components of respect, value, and human dignity to your relationships. Change the world! Inspire a culture of kindness and respect.


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Goals for Kindness

We often think of kindness as a random act of kindness done for another person or a donating time to a volunteer effort. Kindness comes in many other forms that you can do by yourself everyday. Smile, stand up for someone in defense, give a compliment, smile more, ask someone how you can help them, send a kind note, offer to help someone who is sick or has trouble with mobility, or send up an extra prayer.

Make a commitment to kindness as one of your goals for this year. Plan to set aside a day once a month to volunteer. Help someone by yourself or serve as part of a volunteer team. On a daily basis, make a commitment to try to be kind to one person a day, in a big or small way. In November we shared a video on How-To Make a Kindness Journal. If you haven’t started one, you might consider getting a journal or calendar and begin a journey of kindness this year. Notice all of the ways you make a difference over the course of the next 12 months. Kindness multiples, as one life affects another.


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Books
HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act At a Time
by Brad Aronson

Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving
by Angela Santomero and Deepak Chopra

 

 




A How-To Holiday Guide Special Edition Article: Preparing for the Gift

Make your gifts special this year adding a little extra thought and pizzazz. Here are some options of how to give a gift to someone!

Option 1:
The first is taking a gift you have purchased and just handing it to someone. After all, the thought is in the actual present isn’t it? This seems a little too efficient and a little dull, as if the gift was just handed off. While there will most likely be appreciation, there is not much thoughtfulness with this option.

Option 2:
The second, more common option, is wrapping a gift—and not just wrapping a gift but finding just the right wrapping paper. There are all sorts of ways to wrap a present. In the olden days, before wrapping paper, there was newspaper. A person would sort through the newspaper for the comic section and use it to wrap a gift. A special, news section, might be preferred, or the sports section if the person was a sports fanatic. For those with children, mothers instruct children how to disassemble a paper bag to use to wrap a gift and then decorate it. As specialty designed wrapping paper created with love, a child’s artwork on the wrapping paper is a way to add a nice extra touch which family members can cherish. For adults who are wrapping paper connoisseurs, with a flair for the hunt of the perfect paper, there are a variety of designs to choose such as reindeer, snow, trees, seasonal words, religious art, Santa, candy canes, swirls and stars, trendy holiday printable patterns and colors, and red, green, blue, white, as well as shiny silver, and gold. Wrapping paper can cost anywhere from $1 at a dollar store to $20 per roll or more. Wrapping a gift with wrapping paper is a talent in itself by carefully folding the ends just right and and taping the gift seamlessly with nimble fingers of tape. For others, services are available to hire someone to wrap the gift professionally for you. [Have you ever seen an ad hiring for a gift wrapper asking for your resume of experience? More real than Santa’s elves, job postings like this actually exist.] Then of course there are boxes and bags of all sizes, to-from labels, ribbons and tissue paper with just about as many varieties as wrapping paper, and to make it a hallmark gift, don’t forget to include a special card. You could potentially spend a fortune making this gift special all to be disposed. And what is so intriguing about that? The anticipation. You are paying for anticipation and thoughtfulness but it is fairly important as part of the presentation. As an added benefit to the fun, part of preparing the gift is the giddiness that comes from having a secret surprise for someone. With the hope to bring them honor and happiness with it, gift givers at the very least hope the gift is seen as a token of their thoughtfulness and love. The process of preparing a gift causes joy to the giver because of the thought and effort is for another and for their happiness, and as the saying goes “it is in giving that we also receive”.

Option 3:
Option three, is the gold package option when it comes to thoughtfulness and extra effort to make the gift special. One way is accessorizing the main gift with a series of presents to be opened all wrapped as one. Another way to make the gift unique, could be creating accessories to adorn the gift maybe with a customized ribbon which is braided, or a bookmark as a gift tag, or a USB drive as a to-you from-me hang tag with family photos loaded on it, or perhaps the present has been blessed especially if it is a gift where this is appropriate. What other creative ideas do you have? One unique gift I received once had miniature ornaments tied to the ribbon, which was both adorable and functional as it could be hung on my tree. These were kept as an unforgettable keepsake and the all the thoughtfulness that was put into the present was remembered for its uniqueness.

Part of the gold package option is not just the presentation of the gift but the presentation of how it is given. Often taken for granted is the presentation of making the gift special, beyond the wrapping paper. Reflect for a moment right now on how you give gifts. Do you hand it off with a big smile? Are you enthused cooing with words “I think you’ll just love this”, or do you just sort of nudge it with your finger across the table and make excuses like “I didn’t know what to get you”. Now, spend some time considering how you receive gifts. Do you open the gift with an expressionless facial expression in a placid manner with all lackluster? Or do you squeal? Without realizing it, more times than not, we respond as a response to the emotions of another person. It is a form of empathy and can be contagious. With the enthusiasm and happiness of gift giving, it can be rewarding for the gift giver to see that the gift is appreciated.

In Preparation and Anticipation
With gift giving, the way the gift is presented, the way it is wrapped, the thoughtfulness and the experience opening it, all are for the delight of the recipient adding up to the grand finale of finally discovering what is inside. All of this creates anticipation setting the stage for what is to come. Maybe it is a special gift which you have anticipated and are nervous about receiving. The giver can add a lot to the moment with how they present a gift setting the stage and mood either with enthusiasm, warmth, environment, or words indicating it is a very special gift.

Anticipation ties in with hope. It causes a person to hold their breath in a sense knowing something is to come. The same is with Christmas and Christ’s birth. We spend these last few weeks before Christmas in preparation for what is to come. It’s how you set the stage and prepare in anticipation for that ‘special moment’. Think of how you prepare for the gift and make that part of the present, both with the presents you are giving and preparing spiritually for Christmas.

—Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness


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Audio CD
Preparing for Christmas: Daily Reflections for Advent
by Richard Rohr O.F.M.

Books
The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving
by Dawn Bryan

The Art of Gift Giving
by Shereen Elise Noon


Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention
by John Ruhlin


Gift Wrap
Birthday Custom Gift Wrap | Personalized Photo Gift Wrapping Paper
(6 Foot Roll, Confetti Party)

by Fun Gift Wrap


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Faith and Kindness, and Checking It Twice Expresso

We would like to think that people who place an importance of faith in their life tend to be more kind. In most cases, this is true. People who are faith-based find accountability with God and the commandments, or the spiritual laws found in their religion. Faith-based people follow these spiritual laws because it is what will result in the greatest happiness long-term both in this life and the next. Rules exist for a reason, and usually it is to prevent harm. We are always free to break the rules, but at the cost of the loss of our own true happiness or as pain to others.

Living a good life and being loving people toward others is a way to honor God who created us. Having faith puts life in perspective providing guidance and direction. Instead of blindly trying to live life traveling a path without a conscience, a faith-based person has at least some guidelines of what to follow. These usually are based around love and making choices which will bring love and not hate to the world. From this love positive things can happen, whereas hate brings destruction.

Faith-based people also have the ability to make things change with their mindset and their faith in God. They see past low-points which may seem to be utter hopelessness and an end, and re-frame their mindset knowing instead that where they are is a temporary place which will change for the better in a future point in time—within the next second or over the course of years. They are able to see past the darkness of despair and are able to find a light within themselves, refusing to believe that hopelessness exists. Faith-based people are able to keep hope going when the wick is barely lit. Just like a candle which is used to light other candles, people who are faith-based can also use their faith to ignite the faith in others who may be going through a difficult time. They can do this through ministry or by praying for the other person. They also can share kind words of encouragement that they have faith that whatever the other is going through will soon change to something better.

People who are faith-based, spend time reflecting on their actions and how they are living their life on a regular basis. This reflection helps align their path with what is right and which will be the most loving path. Therefore, people who have faith tend to be more kind because they have a structure in place, with guidance to keep them on the path of being loving people. By spending more time with your faith, and with God, you will naturally have the desire to live a life which brings kindness to other people.


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Christian Books & Bibles

Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue
by Barry H. Corey

God of Miracles: Ordinary People Extraordinary Stories
by Jeff Barnhardt