Article from the 7/29/2016 Catalina Islander

Since I became "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel carriers, I have answered 51,986.
It has been brought to my attention that some visitors/tourists have been offended by my 5 "unusual/interesting questions/comments" that have been included in my weekly columns.  They feel I am making fun of them.  NOT MY INTENTION.  I included them simply to help my readers realize how sometimes it is awkward doing my job as some of these questions are "out of the box".  They need to be taken seriously as they are a reflection of how we are perceived by those who visit us for the first time. I am PAINFULLY aware of the fact that I have asked MANY "unusual questions" in my many years of travels and I am probably quoted in local newspapers around the world!  It is also a humorous moment for those of us who have to be on the "front lines" of our tourist business.  Regardless of my reasons, I am no longer going to print them as I am in the business of NOT alienating ANYONE if I can help it! 
Looks as if my plan to discontinue this column and go back to "Catalina Time Capsule" will not be taking place next month as the Museum is still in a matter of getting organized in their new BEAUTIFUL location. September will probably be my transition period.  For those who want to read any of my old articles, you can find them on
"The floggings will continue until morale improves!"  Imagines of Charles Laughton's Capt. Bligh in "Mutiny On The Bounty", made on Catalina Island in 1935.  Although this is an EXTREME case, unfortunately, too many of us have worked under similar, but less dramatic conditions.  This problem is not prevalent "ONLY ON CATALINA", but because we are a major tourist town, and many of us are expected to deal directly with thousands of visitors/tourists every year, it becomes a bit more pronounced.
Going back to many of our childhoods, and seems more so now, youngsters were "expected" to be good, so they were rarely praised for this behavior, but ALWAYS reprimanded whenever they deviated from the parents' expectations.  Positive Reinforcement being replaced with Discipline.  Unfortunately, this type of mentality has been carried over to the business mindsets of many who are in supervisorial positions. 
Granted, MOST of us are grossly overworked and that goes for our bosses.  Time is often a far too precious commodity and so often praise is neglected and the feeling of obligation to deal withproblems" has become the norm.  This feeling of ONLY being reprimanded for an occasional mistake has been completely overshadowed by the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of positive situations. 
I found how important "positive reinforcement" can be when I was conducting one of my Casino Walking Tours.  Although I covered this story in some detail in one of my columns,  I feel that it might prove to be instrumental in proving my point.  After years of doing these tours I painfully discovered that disruptions caused during some tours by youngsters who had no signs of discipline from their parents proved to be quite horrific.  These episodes were often dealt with by others on the tour exhibiting and voicing their annoyance.  On the other hand, when youngsters behaved extremely well during these LONG walking experiences, they were never singled out for praise.  I felt the need from the Holy Spirit to change that one day when three young men, around 9-14, were on my tour and acted exemplary.  I made a little speech in praise of them and EVERYONE applauded.  Turned out that these guys had just been adopted by their mother's brother, as they were brought up with drugs, alcohol, and NO DISCIPLINE.  The "new parents" pleaded with them to be "good" on this particular tour, even though they had never given this appropriate behavior a chance.  When they received this first positive reinforcement, their mother, with flowing tears, told me what a major adjustment in their behavior had taken place and would presumably follow them from now on!
We are all, in many ways, STILL children and we need to be verbally, if not physically, hugged every now and then.  A simple "You are doing a GREAT job; keep it up!" can often illicit a response that I have been giving and receiving a lot lately of  "You have made my day!"  Situations where this type of dialogue can occur ALL AROUND US!  How about those who clean our dirty streets and restrooms, give exceptional service in hotels/restaurants, brighten our day with their smile, help us with our baggage on the boats, who literally go out of their way to help us clean up when we mess up!  Don't they and many, many more deserve praise and the opportunity to respond with, "Thanks, you have made my day!!"
This morning John Capitani and Lynn Davis from Geyserville, CA, Sanoma Co., were in a hurry to catch the morning boat, but stopped long enough to tell me how much they looked forward to my column and how much pleasure they got out of reading it each week!  They "MADE MY DAY" and I SO NEEDED it!  Go out of your way, whenever you can, to "Make Someone's Day!"