Saturday, March 21, 2009

Star Archetypes

On day three of giving out gold stars, archetypes of receivers began to emerge.

The Gracious Receiver. This person has been waiting eagerly for someone to recognize their greatness. When they even catch a glimpse of the gold, glittery star, they know they deserve one, really the biggest one on the page. They grab for it voraciously and place it prominently on their person.

A stay-at-home mom friend, a neighbor, pushing her fiery redheaded daughter in the stroller, fell into this camp. She looked at me with such gratitude as I took out the stars. "You have noidea how much I needed this today..." she said. "Thank you so much!" She hugged me, hard. "You made my day!" Luckily, I get a lot of gracious receivers. Joseph, the stroller valet at the YMCA I go to, likewise gave me a big bear hug, told me how much he loved me and graciously received his star, offering up that he deserved it for explaining to distraught parents all day that the pool would be closed for the next eight weeks. Not an easy task but one one I'm sure he handled with aplomb.

The Martyr Receiver. "No, no," the martyr says when offered a star after having wondered out loud why someone else was receiving one. "Give it to someone who really needs it..." I laugh, knowing the Martyr, more than anyone, needs a star, wants one so much they are afraid to even admit it. I, of course, make them take one and it is not really a hard sell. They take it, put it on just as prominently as the gracious receiver, though they do it without a hug of gratitude.

The Jokester/Deflector. This person will make fun of the concept of the star even though they secretly love it and want one. The constant comic, a store owner friend in the neighborhood saw me handing out stars and said, "You know, the last time they started handing out yellow stars, it didn't end well..." I laughed. I'd been waiting for someone to make the Holocaust connection. When I offered him the star, though, he took it gladly and rebuked himself slightly for making fun of a nice thing.

The Disconnected. These people don't get it, can't quite cotton to the concept. "A star?" they ask, "For what?" When I tell them it's just for trying they ask, "trying what?" I just give them the star. "I'm sure you tried at something today," I say. They take it, confused. Maybe they'll think about it, maybe not, I cannot worry.

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