Joy: A Matter of Give and Take

Small things, big pleasures.
Small things, big pleasures.

Good friends of mine made me a Mason jar candy dispenser that doles out M & M’s with a push of a slide. Starting December 1 each year, I fill the dispenser with green and red M & M’s, and I tell my two youngest daughters that they can have a candy each day until the container is empty.

Some of the richest pleasures are the smallest pleasures.

As the candy supply reaches the end, it makes me a little sad to think of this ritual coming to a close until December. I’m seriously considering making this a year-round activity.

I can’t help but get excited when I see the look on the face of my five-year old when she comes into the office for her little morsel of joy.

If you need help remembering something, ask a five-year old to remind you by promising the child an M & M for doing so! You will never miss another appointment.

Sierra comes into my office each morning after breakfast asking in her sweetest voice, “Can I have one now?”

I can hear the haters saying, “Candy in the morning? Before school? As if it’s not hard enough to get kids to sit still in class, you’re giving your kids candy?!”

Yup. The amount of sugar in that one M & M is likely far less than most kids consume in their instant, pre-packaged foods like sugared cereals, Pop Tarts, or LeggoMyEggo Waffles. My kids eat a cereal that tastes like twigs and leaves, and the “natural sweetness” comes from a few, sporadic chunks of bark.

M & M’s makes Sierra happy. And do you know what that happiness creates in turn? It makes me happy. Each morning, Sierra responds as if she’s just won the lottery. And let’s face it: we could all use a little more of that lottery-winning feeling.

Joy begets joy.

Can you think of someone at work who’s like the Typhoid Mary of misery and negativity? Of course you can. Sadly, you’re probably thinking of more than one. These happiness-sucking individuals seem more zealous to create converts than any multilevel marketer. It’s like they get paid per each set of eyes they force down to the direction of the carpet.

But just like misery breeds misery, joy begets job.

Sierra lifts my spirits by her excited reaction over her daily M & M. In that way, she spreads her joy to me. And do you know what she does before she eats her own M & M? She brings one to her nine-year old sister and her mother!

Sierra’s mom, Jocelyn, is not a big sweet eater. Given the choice between an onion and a candy bar, Jocelyn would choose savory over sweet every time. But when Sierra offers up a chocolaty little morsel in her grimy little hand, Jocelyn’s smile become wide and sincere, and she takes the candy in the joyous spirit in which it was offered.

Joy is a Matter of Give and Take.

Giving produces joy. When you offer your best to another, you receive joy for your efforts.

Taking, too, produces joy.  When you take the best another has to offer you, you receive joy for your efforts.

It doesn’t matter if you are giving or receiving praise, a smile, a wink, a laugh, or a moist little morsel of candy from a sweaty-handed child, joy comes from the giving. And the taking.

When you engage in these smallest of treasures, you can reap of mountain of joy.



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  1. Carol Lineberry, RN Hospice of Alamance says:

    I love this blog! I have been in nursing management since graduating college. I have always had a candy bowl in my office. In the begining my bowl was small and sat on the corner of my desk. I noticed that everyone that came by to see me about something work related would smile when they saw the bowl and always asked “can I have a piece.” I won`t bore you with a long drawn out story but 20 years into my career, the bowl has gotten bigger and it has taught me alot about people and managing them. I have always had a welcome, open door style of management and make a point to be available anytime staff need me. The candy bowl many times draws an employee in and while they are there gives me an oportunity to thank them for their work and find out how their day went. I came to realize that the candy bowl represents comfort and trust and it is a conversation starter. Employees come in freely which indicates they have a trust and comfort. They see my office as a welcome place and hopefully see me as a supervisor that cares about them and their world. Thank you Scott for working with our team at Hospice of Alamance-Caswell. I am looking forward to each leadership meeting. I am excited to learn and grow as a manager. I hope that candy bowl still has lessons undiscovered. Might be a good book title, “Everything I ever learned as a manager came from a candy bowl.”

    1. scottcarbonara says:

      I like your book title, “Everything I ever learned as a manager came from a candy bowl”! That would be a very practical, fun-to-read book, Carol. I really enjoy working with your group…such passion and purpose! Looking forward to learning from each other as we go and grow!

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