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In Which I Encourage Others at a Conference

A Year of Being Kind blog –Tuesday, March 18, 2014

drawing people at conference

In Which I Encourage Others at a Conference

I am at a conference for the next few days. I love being with fellow professionals, getting a refresher on the area of my certification! (For those of you who are wondering, I have a state certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling. That’s on top of my master’s degree in Divinity.)

The continuing education conference is twice a year. Once in the spring, west of O’Hare Airport and Chicago, proper. And again in the fall, downstate in Springfield. I know, it’s not exactly the usual thing I blog about. But then, I have many and varied interests, from music to theology, from history to animals, from arts and handcrafts to all kinds of vehicles.

After the opening session in the morning, we had several all-day seminars. The one I attended featured Positive Psychology and what bearing it has on drug and alcohol counseling. Well, that was the day’s starting point—but there was a great deal more than just that! Fascinating subject, and even more fascinating presentation. (Thank you, David Folkes!) Actually, positive psychology is just that; instead of the study of messed-up functioning of mental health and aberrations of various people’s thoughts and actions, positive psychology concentrates on beneficial functioning! Good, properly-working mental health! Such a refreshing, encouraging study!

I discovered quite a lot of things that will help me in my new position as interim co-pastor. Helpful aspects of individual and group interaction, from a positive and encouraging angle. However, I want to get to the service part of my post today. We did have about seven dozen counselors and social worker-types in a large room today. So we were used to interacting with others in our day-to-day work. I was still surprised at how quickly just about everyone got involved in the group activities. The presenter asked everyone to break up into groups of two and three. Amazing how cohesive the small pairs and trios of people became—almost instantly!

Just as I willingly pitched in, and opened up to the other two people, they did the same! A lot of trust was displayed in that room today, trust, openness and honesty. I willingly tried to be of service in the workshop. Just as at church or mission conferences in the church, quick and close relationships are often the norm. So, too, with this professional and educational gathering. Encouraging and beneficial treatment of each other helps each of us—in whatever sphere we happen to be in.

I am further reminded that there is no “right way” or “only way” to show the love of God. Yes, I am allowed to display kindness and friendliness, even at a professional conference where I only know three or four other people among four hundred people. (If Jesus were in a similar position, What Would Jesus Do?)  Hmm. If I had a big flashlight in a dark place, what would Jesus suggest I do with it? Would He tell me to keep to myself and shut off my flashlight? Or would He be pleased if I offered my flashlight to others for their help and service? Hmm. What do you think?

@chaplaineliza

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