P.C.Pop with Pablo

Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test

In Cadbury, Candy, College Students, Creme Egg, Easter, Group Dynamics, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, MBTI, Pablo Malavenda, personality, Pop Culture on April 2, 2013 at 8:39 am


Attention — Leadership Consultants and Educators!

A new and innovative method for developing a dynamic team — the Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test


This is one of my favorite weeks of the year — the week that Easter Candy goes on sale! In every department store, grocery store and pharmacy around the country — Easter candy has been drastically reduced in price for quick sale. This, to my delight, includes Cadbury Creme Eggs — for purely professional reasons.

If you are a leadership consultant or leadership educator who works in organizational development, staff development or leadership develop initiatives — NOW is the time to stock up on Cadbury Creme Eggs. Why?

Because Cadbury Creme Eggs are a highly effective (and unique) method to explore team building, team effectiveness, and collaboration.

This is a valuable post for anyone looking for something beyond True Colors, DiSC, Strength Quest, or MBTI — the Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test. In this post, you will learn how “Cadbury Creme Eggs may hold the secret for putting together the most dynamic team and getting the most out of your team members.”

This blog post gives step-by-step instruction on how you too may become a Cadbury Creme Egg Personality Test Trained Facilitator.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Survivor Leadership: 4 Powerful Lessons from Reality TV

In CBS, College Students, diversity, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Interaction Process Analysis, Komives, Leader, Leadership, life, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Bales, self-fulfilling prophecy, Survivor, Survivor Cook Island, survivor women, Timothy McMahon, TV, TV shows on May 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm

The Complete Guide



The Complete Guide to Survivor Leadership contains 4 Powerful Lessons.  Studying LEADERSHIP by watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor will give you powerful insights into how leadership develops in teams AKA tribes. I have taught leadership for close to 25 years.  I have used various techniques to make learning leadership meaningful and topical.  As long as Survivor has been on the air, I have been using the reality TV show to emphasis and highlight the various aspects of several leadership models, practices, and theories.  From the first episode through the live Finale show, Leadership is present, can be observed, predicted and studied. The 4 Survivor Leadership Lessons are as follows:


Survivor Leadership


Lesson 1 — The Leadership Primer


This PC Pop blog post is the quintessential Survivor Leadership primer. In this post you will learn about the basic LEADERSHIP models that give the framework for being able to study leadership and how leadership emerges among tribe members. Using Leadership models and theories that emphasize relationships as much as task completion, you begin to understand how Leadership develops among tribe members.  If you love studying leadership you will love finding out how LEADERSHIP is an integral part of the group dynamics on Survivor.  If you read this before watching Survivor, you will begin to see the relationships and interactions on Survivor in a much different way. It makes watching Survivor a much more exciting experience. READ more…


Lesson 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy


This PC Pop blog post discusses a concept called “self-fulfilling prophecy.” In order to study LEADERSHIP among the castaways on Survivor you must examine some of the variables that will impact the group dynamics.  In this post we look at how casting affects the group development and the tone of the tribe communities. Read this post and learn about how casting can reinforce negative stereotypes and complicate the natural development of teams.  If you are interested in how important diversity and inclusion are in Leadership, you will find this post very interesting. READ more…


Lesson 3 — Family First


This PC Pop blog post focuses on what the members of the tribe must be concerned about if they wish to be a LEADER. The tribes within Survivor resemble in many ways a “family.”  This post explores the concept of LEADERS first know who they are before they may be effective.  Leaders must first must know them-SELVES, then their FAMILY, then OTHERS. Once you become self aware of your own talents and issues, have the love, support and coaching from your family — you then impact your community and change the world. LEADERSHIP is about community and family; and this blog post explores that within Survivor.  As you will see sometimes it works and (like this season) sometimes it doesn’t.  You will enjoy the analysis of the men’s tribe; and it will give you more to think about the next time you tune into Survivor. READ more…


Lesson 4 — Serving Your Community


This PC Pop blog post focuses on the importance of Leaders developing a sense of Community. In order to understand others, you must first understand yourself.  You cannot lead a team or tribe unless you understand others enough to include and empower them.  Once they are empowered they must be coached, challenged, and encouraged. In Survivor, your immediate tribe is your core community (small c) or family.  The entire group of castaways regardless of their tribe affiliation and their alliances is the Community (Big C).  Unfortunately, the castaways become so focused on Leading their tribe and playing the game they fail to become great Community Leaders. To examine this further we must look at various LEADERSHIP models particularly Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership. This season there are some clear examples of castaways completely disregarding their community — and getting eliminated. READ more…


Survivor: One Worldthe twenty-fourth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series, premiered on February 15, 2012. I triple love Survivor for many reasons — but mostly because of the LEADERSHIP lessons learned by observing the group development, teamwork and relationships among the castaways. As a self-proclaimed, cultural anthropologist with a specialization in Pop culture — Survivor gives me great joy.  Tune in and let me know what you think.  If you already planned on watching, I hope these four Survivor Leadership blog posts give you something more to observe and reflect upon.  I hope I’ve convinced you it may be worth tuning into Survivor in future. You might find some value in studying Survivor — some value in studying Pop Culture — some value in studying Reality TV.


To understand more about Survivor Leadership, please read each of the PC Pop blog posts 1, 2, 3, 4. Please check back here often because this list will be updated regularly.


CBS Survivor episodes and videos can be viewed online.


Emerging Stronger

In health, life, Malavenda, Music, Pablo Malavenda, Philosophy, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, wellness on April 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm


What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller

(Stronger, 2011 – Clarkson).


I believe in signs — and this week little signs were popping up everywhere. Eventually it hit me like a hammer. Here’s my story.


Sign 1:


I rarely listen to pop radio — maybe once every six months or so.  Because I am a music snob, I either listen to my iPod or NPR. Yesterday while driving across town, for some reason, I needed to hear music and hit search on the radio till I found music. The first song was the latest mega-hit by Adele, which is enjoyable. Honestly the rest of the songs have been long forgotten except the last song.  As I was pullin’ up on our house, I saw my wife and daughter; so, I cranked up the tunes and pulled in the driveway.  The song was Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson. My daughter gave me that “Dad, you’re such a dork” look but I was amused as was my wife.  This morning on my way to the gym, I turned the key in the ignition and the radio came on, still tuned to the pop (schlock) radio station.  The song was Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson — AGAIN.  What the heck? Although I think American Idol is evil to the core, I do admire Kelly Clarkson; and this song isn’t half bad.  It is a bit cliche but it is a catchy pop song with a great hook with the chorus; and it is enjoyable in a mindless sort of way.  My daughter loves Kelly Clarkson (it could be worse) so I listened a bit closer; and although it is an angst infused love song of sorts I was struck by the “…stand a little taller…” line. Yes — this is the first sign — a message being sent to me to get me through this week. I immediately needed to hear Kanye West’s Stronger.


Work it harder, Make it better,
Do it faster, Makes us stronger,
More than ever, Never over,
Our work is never over.

Now that don’t kill me
Can only make me stronger

(Stronger, 2007 – Kanye West).


History


The saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is from Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Friedrich Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, who was a writer, poet, and commentator on philosophy based on the foundation of values and morality as well as religion and culture of his times. His outspokenness and critiques made him so famous that he decided to publish the equivalent of Nietzsche for Dummies in 1888 entitled Twilight of the Idols.  This book was divided into several sections to make it easy to understand the most important work of Nietzsche (according to Nietzsche).  The first section the Preface set the tone by including a maxim from Roman author Aulus Gellius. The quote which Nietzsche referred to as his motto is “Increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus” which translates into

“The spirits increase, vigor grows through a wound.”

Wow…this could be the next song by Ms. Clarkson or Mr. Kanye — or better yet their collaboration.

This section of Twilight of the Idols was aptly called Maxims and Arrows.  In Maxims and Arrows, Nietzsche shares profound statements in short-form — a list of incredibly thoughtful, mind-boggling, tidbits of philosophies by which to live. Although Nietzsche was being ironic, sarcastic and mocking in many of his entries, today we revere them in a literal manner. Number eight of the Maxims and Arrows is “Aus dem Leben der Schule des Krieges: Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker” which means: Out of life’s school of war:

What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.

This famous saying has been paraphrased in several different ways, sometimes with “Whatever” or “That which” instead of “What” and “slay” or some other verb in place of “destroy.”  Today, we state “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” {And it is quite ironic that Nietzsche uses the word “Idols” in his title and Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of American “Idol.”  False gods for sure.}


Song composers and screen writers love Nietzsche.  Some mentions of Nietzsche and this famous maxim (or is it an Arrow?) in movies, music, and  entertainment news are as follows:

  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) – quote shown in opening credits
  • Steel Magnolias (1989) – stated by Clairee played by actor, Olympia Dukakis
  • The Dark Knight (2008) – a variation stated by the Joker played by actor, Heath Ledger. Joker’s line: “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you…stranger.”
  • The General’s Daughter (1999) – “Whatever hurts you makes me stronger” stated by Elisabeth played by actor, Leslie Stefanson
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Uncle Frank (played by actor, Steve Carell) looks at the banner with a drawing of Nietzsche and says, “Nietzsche, huh?”
  • Music artists who used Nietzsche as inspiration include Pink Floyd, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Radiohead, Dust Brothers, Mobb Deep, Manowar, Black Sabbath, the Doors, Slayer, Metallica, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Fall, Pantera, Fear Factory, The Dandy Warhols, Judas Iscariot…and of course, Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson.
  • Mel Gibson in an interview with the Telegraph (2010) reflecting on what he had learned through his humiliating experience that “It changes you and makes you one tough m*th*rf**k*r. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s really that simple.”
  • Angelina Jole’s tattoo on her hip is a Nietzsche-like Latin quote “quod me nutrit me destruit” which means “What nourishes me also destroys me.”

But seriously; Nietzsche was on to something.  All of us have (or will have) to deal with tragedy, although you may doubt that it really “makes you stronger.”  No matter what’s going on in your world that makes you feel like it can’t get worse — I guarantee there is someone worse off.


Sign 2:


Last week a travelling Broadway production of Young Frankenstein (pronounced Fronkensteen) came to town.  It was a pretty good show if you enjoy silly, sophomoric, fart, horny, pee-pee humor — but it is what it is.  During the show I recalled with amazement how many stars were in the movie version including Gene WilderTeri GarrCloris LeachmanPeter BoyleMadeline KahnKenneth MarsRichard Haydn and Gene Hackman. I couldn’t remember though the name of the actor who played Igor. I now know it was the incomparable Marty Feldman. Fast forward to Monday’s CBS This Morning — Anna Quindlen was being interviewed when she shared a story. She was stuck in a dangerous storm and her daughter was worried about her to which she replied, “I am too old to die young.” A powerful and witty quote that could mean a number of different things.  My interpretation is that once you get to a certain age (I hate that term, btw), you realized that tragedy is a part of life and you survive by how you deal with it. After another Google search — I discovered that Marty Feldman was the author of this quote. He was close to the end and quipped

“I am too old to die young, and too young to grow up.”

This was Sign 2 — and it hit me like a Hammer.


Sign 3:


This weekend I was following the tweets of my friend, Sam, who has been training for months to run a marathon, and it was this weekend. Sam did a great job of tweeting to his followers regular updates on his progress to the starting line and ultimately to finishing the race — fulfilling a lifelong goal. About the time that the marathon was about to start, one tweet caught my attention. This tweet mentioned “the reason why I am running” with a link to a post on his blog, “Making Sense of the Senseless…I Think?!” The title of the post is “Running Through Pain,” and it is a powerful and personal account of why Sam had to run this marathon.  Sam’s journey includes mentoring through Big Brothers a young man going through tough times, the loss of his grandfather last year, and remembering the loss of his cousin and best friend at the very young age of 19 — the marathon is the 6-year anniversary of his cousin’s death. All of this “pain” plus the real pain of training for and running a 26-mile marathon is the theme of the blog post.  Sam’s story is so powerful I had to read it twice — and then share it with my son (and anyone else who would listen to me). Trust me — you must read this blog post about Sam’s journey. It reminds me of our resilience. Much of what we feel is a choice. How we respond to tragedy, pain, setbacks, disappointment, and mistakes, intentional or accidental, not only determines how we feel but reflects our focus, our vision, our determination, our  patience, our forgiveness, our perseverance, our strength. You learn a lot about others and yourself when things go wrong. As Maya Angelou said,

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Sam’s journey and the recent death of one of our friends due to cancer, again at the young age of 45, also reinforce that no matter how low I feel, there is always someone who is suffering more.  More importantly, be grateful for all of your blessings now, and make sure you know what is important — and it ain’t money.  I am focused on family especially my wife and kids and my friends — who are positive and supportive.  I value my home, the food in our pantry and on our table each night, my freedom, my time with my family, and the resources I give my children to become caring, loving, and STRONG servants and scholars.  It saddens me that others are suffering more and have less than I, but it gives me hope and motivates me to give and serve. It puts my problems in perspective.

And yes, you can disagree with the maxim “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but it is hard to ignore the success stories.  Three individuals come to mind, who were severely abused but managed to rise to unbelievable levels of success. They are Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Louie Armstrong. I chose these three individuals because no one can deny their achievements have been extraordinary and their hardships were extreme.

  • Is adversity a blessing in disguise?
  • Feeling sorry for yourself is a choice.
  • Shame and guilt may be a choice but still overwhelming. As my pastor says though you should not feel Shame but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of Guilt to motivate you to change.
  • Setbacks in life give you fuel for growth, give you a way to heal, allow you to succeed on your own terms, and cultivate within you compassion and empathy.
  • I assure you the next time someone you know gets in trouble, you will not be so quick to judge, you will refrain from gossip, and you will reach out to them — with compassion and empathy.
  • Mercy, forgiveness, and grace are powerful and transforming.

So, now go read Sam’s blog post: “Running Through Pain,” cue up Kanye’s Stronger and crank it up.

Stand a little taller; and Believe that we will be BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER — ’cause our WORK is NEVER OVER.




“Lord, please let them accept the things they can’t change; And pray that all of their pain be champagne”

(Otis from Watch the Throne, 2011 by Jay-Z and Kanye West).


Prologue – More Signs:


Bizarre Random Signs of Nietzsche since the post was published:

  • April 23, 2012 – Dances With the Stars: I was working on the first draft of this post while watching DWTS and Bruno said to Urkel, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” {Spooky}.
  • April 30, 2012 – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: In a comedy bit called “Don’t Quote Me,” Nietzsche’s quote “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” was featured with a lesser known Nietzsche quote (here’s the comedy part) — “A fourth bong hit is always a bad idea.”  Click HERE to see the Jimmy Fallon “Don’t Quote Me” video: Nietzsche is the last quote in this segment and may be seen about 4 minutes into the video.
  • May 19, 2012  – GLEE marathon on Oxygen network. GLEE cast covers Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You). Originally aired on Fox network during the GLEE winter finale episode “On My Way” on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.
  • August 22, 2012 — found this quote online — “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

READ more about Choosing Your Attitude — PCPop blog post:


Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test

In Cadbury, Candy, Carl Jung, Creme Egg, Easter, Food, Leadership, life, Malavenda, MBTI, personality, True Colors, Uncategorized on April 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Cadbury Creme Egg


Cadbury Creme Eggs may hold the secret for putting together the most dynamic team and getting the most out of your team members.


Soon after Easter, we inevitably try to figure out what to do with all of our Easter candy. After a great deal of research (eating Easter candy, that is), I have discovered several ways to eat a Cadbury Creme Egg – and realized that the secret for great team-oriented leadership lie in the variety of eating methods.  More importantly than “how” one eats the Cadbury Creme EggCadbury Creme Egg is how one “approaches” or thinks about eating it.  For some, very little thought is put into how, but for others it is an extremely well planned out affair. For some it must be orderly, yet others enjoy a bit of spontaneity and messiness. Of course if you love candy, you are able to eat the Cadbury Creme Egg in any of the various ways. What the leader must observe though is others’ “preferred” method of eating.  When given a choice, there is bound to be an eating method one prefers to use which gives the most joy. This is the eating method that will give the leader a glimpse into each member’s personality and behavior.  The leader will then be able to assemble any team or group with diversity including different eating-style-individuals within each group. Inclusiveness is an important aspect of leadership (Komives, 2007).  When leaders include diversity of personalities and behavioral approaches, their teams will be creative, productive and filled with positive interactions among members.  In order to accomplish this leaders must first know their team members.  The Cadbury Creme Egg Personality Test will also assist the team members in understanding and appreciating each other as well as themselves within their organizations. Using the 3 Steps of assembling a team according the Cadbury Creme Egg Personality Test, the leader must Identify, Observe and Assign.


3 Steps – Cadbury Creme Egg – Personality Test


  1. Identify the “ways people eat” a Cadbury Creme Egg
  2. Observe your team members eating Cadbury Creme Eggs
  3. Assign members to teams and projects based on how they eat their Cadbury Creme Eggs

Some of the Eating Methods I have discovered through my research (eating lots of candy) and the characteristics associated with each method are as follows:


Cadbury Creme Egg – Eating Methods


  • Center First— Bite off the tip of the egg and eat the creme filling and yolk first either by scooping it out (with their fingers or spoon, edible or not) saving the chocolate shell for last. These individuals want to see the creme filling and yolk because they are curious and seeking.  They approach this task in a complex, philosophical way pondering the manufacturing process and the Cadbury Creme Eggsinventive people who created this wonderful Easter treat.  They are principled and rational but not overly obsessed with being neat and orderly.  They enjoy opening the egg up, marveling at the creme center and yolk, eating the center first, and lastly enjoying the chocolate shell.

  • Big Bites — Bite the egg straight through eating it in one or two big bites combining the chocolate shell and the creme filling and yolk in each bite. These individuals pride themselves in being straightforward, realistic and active.  They don’t see any point in wasting valuable time being philosophical or neat or methodical.  They came to eat a Cadbury Creme Egg and that is what they will do.  Their method is daring, unpredictable, and risky, but they are up for the challenge.  They are generally realistic, opportunistic, adventuresome and spontaneous — so, don’t be surprised if they eat more than one, change their method often, and eat your egg, too.

  • Orderly — Split the egg length-wise in two pieces along the crease, open carefully (like a surgeon), enjoy how perfect the yoke is, and take small bites. As soon as they get their Cadbury Creme Egg they get a bit anxious.  They are anxious because they have a specific method and are worried that something might go wrong.  They are organized, orderly and conventional, approaching the task carefully. They are only relieved when the split along the crease is done and the egg opens into two equal-sized pieces with clean edges.  They’re in no rush because it only happens once a year and they realize how special this experience is — it is a tradition to which they are loyal. They marvel at the perfection of the filling and the yolk.  They then eat each half savoring every moment of the taste, feeling, and experience. They feel a sense of responsibility to the procedure of eating the Cadbury Creme Egg in the only acceptable manner — theirs.

  • Social— For this person it is more important to share the experience rather than be concerned about a particular method for Cadbury Creme Eggthemselves.  This is a unique and warm person who gathers friends, shares their Cadbury Creme Eggs and loves to observe how others eat them.  They are communicative; and therefore, they love hearing others’ Cadbury Creme Egg stories and memories. Their eating method will not outshine that of others or interfere with what’s more in line with their values — relationships and friendships. They are compassionate, supportive and authentic.  They view this as a means to create and maintain harmonious relationships by eating Cadbury Creme Eggs as a social experience.  Sharing is a must. They will describe the experience as inspirational and might even wrote a poem about it.

  • Extreme Eating Methods: Freeze It or Smash It.
    • Freeze it takes the commitment and patience of planning ahead and waiting almost an entire day for the egg to freeze completely. A frozen Cadbury Creme Egg when split maintains its yolk and is even more marvelous to see.  Regardless of your eating method, you would enjoy a frozen Cadbury Creme Egg, but it takes a special person to plan ahead and put them in the freezer, and wait.
    • Smash It is a high risk method. They may or may not even unwrap the Cadbury Creme Egg, and they crush it between two fingers.  They then dig in eating it as quickly as they need to without losing any. These daredevils are not concerned about getting a bit messy but the experience will be thrilling, attention-getting, and potentially hazardous.

Now that you have identified the Eating Methods (and characteristics) you may use a number of different ways to observe your Cadbury Creme Eggsteam member’s preferred-eating-method.  I would suggest distributing the Cadbury Creme Eggs to each individual in a large group setting with little direction.  Make sure you have a few people observing and taking note of how each person unwraps and eats their eggs.  After they have enjoyed their eggs, let them know what’s up.  Hand out the descriptions if you wish and allow individuals to get into small groups based on their eating method.  Allow each group to discuss what they have in common and how this explains their unique behavior in and value they bring to groups.

The final step is to put together diverse team which include one person from each of the eating method categories.  Explain to the teams that you expect there to be a healthy amount of conflict in the process of the group becoming a highly functioning team.  As the leader you should assist them in their group dynamics process of forming, storming, norming and performing; but otherwise step back and watch the magic happen (Tuckman, 1977).

You will become a Cadbury Creme Egg Personality Test believer.  You will know through this experience that Cadbury Creme Eggs indeed do hold the secret for putting together the most dynamic groups and getting the most out of your team members. What a delicious way to take your team to the next level.


References and acknowledgments:

Carl JungCarl Jung’s Psychological Types, True Colors™ Personality Assessment, Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, Bruce Tuckman’s Group Development Model, and Exploring Leadership (Komives, Lucas, McMahon)  were used in developing the Cadbury Creme Egg Personality Test.


Quick Facts from Cadbury Website:

  • 53% of people bite off the top, lick out the ‘creme’ then eat the chocolate
  • 20% just bite straight throughCadbury Creme Egg
  • 16% use their finger to scoop out the ‘creme’
  • How people unwrap their eggs can also reflect their Creme Egg eating style, we have…
    • Delicate Peelers – To achieve a considered, methodical & subtle eat
    • Stage Peelers – Who unwrap just enough to keep the ‘creme’ off their fingers
    • Quick Discarders – Who rip off the foil as they just can’t wait to eat their Creme Egg

Under My Umbrella – Creating a Happy Place

In color, dolly parton, dollywood, Fashion, rain, rainbow, smoky mountains, umbrella, Uncategorized, WHUS on April 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Red Heart Umbrella


The way I see it, if you want the Rainbow,
You gotta put up with the Rain

If you take the time to find the perfect umbrella, choosing one with a bright and bold color, you will love the rain — and have a much more joyful life with plenty of rainbows. Here is a guide to Creating a Happy Place – Under My Umbrella (Ella Ella, Ay Ay Ay).

On our recent Spring Break Trip to Eastern Tennessee, we took our kids to Dollywood.  I must admit the first time I went to Dollywood, I was not expecting to enjoy myself. A self-proclaimed New England snob, what could Pigeon Forge, Tennessee have to offer me by way of entertainment and thrills. Our first visit to Dollywood was pre-Kids and was a day-trip with the in-laws. I must admit we had a blast at Dollywood. I now triple love and admire Dolly Parton from Nine to Five to Dollywood. So, recently when we were discussing our options for Spring Break 2012, we realized our kids had not ever been to Dollywood, Gatlinburg or the Great Smoky Mountains.  Of course the kids only know her from her role as Aunt Dolly, Miley Stewart’s godmother, on Hannah Montana. Since our first (pre-Kids) visit to Dollywood, the park has grown and grown and grown.  Plus — the week of our designated Spring Break 2012 was also the week of the first public launch of Dolly’s new rollercoaster, the Wild Eagle. After a week of exploring all of the “must-see” attractions in Eastern Tennessee, I can honestly state that our Spring Break trip was a big success, and the kids loved Dollywood.  Our kids shared that they were surprised that Dollywood was way better than they thought it would be and they admitted some initial apprehension. I would call that —  Success!

Laurel Falls -- Great Smoky Mountains

Even though it was only the sixth day of the 2012 Dollywood season, the park was ready to go and filled with beautiful flowers, blooming trees, wildlife roaming freely or in natural habitats, and the weather was perfectly delightful.  It was a sunny, breezy, spring day.  Until the thunderstorm moved in, that is.  The storm passed through quickly but it did force us to be creative during that time (and my mother-in-law decided to head home). It would have been so easy to be angry with the rain and thunder for ruining our afternoon, but we chose a positive outlook instead.  It was then that I noticed a quote, from Dolly Parton herself, craftily painted over the threshold of one of the many theaters on Dollywood’s Show Street.



The way I see it, if you want the Rainbow,

You gotta put up with the Rain

(Dolly Parton)


I read it to myself and reread it and smiled.  Dolly Parton strikes again.  You may not believe it but try as I might to dislike everything associated with country music and (the University of) Tennessee, I admire Dolly Parton — and here she goes again.  This quote was what I needed at that very moment. This experience and this quote reminded me of a theory I developed years ago as to why most people hate the rain.  Regular listeners to my weekly WHUS radio show, PC Pop with Pablo, heard the theory often — as often as it rained, actually.  Not to be confused with my stories about how college students, when they get wet from the rain, smell very much like wet dogs — the theory has to do with your choice of umbrellas.

As you know from my previous PC Pop blog posts, I see that the moods and behaviors of us all have to do with a phenomenon referred to as self-fulfilling prophecy.  We choose our attitudes and we use self-fulfilling prophecy to prove and justify our negativity, impatience, anger, and moodiness — including behavior that is hateful, bigoted, intolerant, and disrespectful.  Some of us are so bound and determined to be miserable that we create an environment for it to thrive. We want the rumors to be true so badly that we wait for and find justifications and information to support our lies.  I have met individuals who would not know what to do if they didn’t have something about which to whine or someone about whom to despise; and others who direct every conversation and every situation to how they are the only true victims in this world. How utterly exhausting. Remember — we have complete control over our attitudes and our moods. Furthermore, only you can give others the power to put you in a bad mood and ruin your day and hurt you. You choose your attitude, and you choose your umbrella. (See how I brought you back to my theory about rain — clever, aren’t I.)

Basic Black UmbrellaNext time it rains take a look at everyone’s umbrella.  You will see what I have for years; and agree that it is no wonder we hate the rain. Most umbrellas are black. Now don’t get me wrong — I like black but I also like color.  I have never been afraid of bright, bold colors — especially in my wardrobe.  In fashion, black has its proper place.  Most of the time when you wear black it is a very solemn, serious moment.  Whether it is a formal evening function, a serious business meeting, or a funeral — black is not typically associated with cheerfulness. And even when you must wear basic black or formal black you usually have the option of adding a smattering of color. But a black umbrella is a black umbrella.

So when it rains — and it is a given that you already hate the rain — you can really make sure that it is a miserable experience by covering your heads in a black canopy — the Umbrella. How absolutely and utterly depressing.  It makes sense that we end up dreading rainy days — even harmlessly delightful, misty rains. Imagine the next time it rains if everyone was smiling, smirking, giggling, laughing, joyful, exuberant — making others wonder what’s up and what they’re missing. My theory is that you can get this done simply by picking a better umbrella. Now Degas Umbrellathere isn’t going to be one umbrella that works for everyone.  So, first you must know what personally makes you giggle and smirk.  Once you have a list of giggle-irresistible characters, images, animals, and colors; choose those that would make you smile in your private umbrella-place without being too corny (like a photo collage of your family). Then the fun part — finding the umbrella. I would suggest starting with a quick internet search — but if you prefer the social experience of the good ole brick’n’mortar, then go shopping. Be creative — think unique, colorful, bright, and funky. Some of the best umbrellas can be found in the most unlikely places like candy stores, museums, ice cream shops, bakeries, amusement parks, comic shops, toy stores, art collective studios, book stores, garden shops, and even pet stores.

Remember what you’re looking for is an experience and an attitude — an umbrella that you can’t wait to use and makes you pray for rain. Be forewarned that once Pink Flower Umbrellayou get excited for the next opportunity to strut around town with your new umbrella — it won’t rain for days. But when it does rain, you will be ready. The first few times, I would suggest choosing that parking space that’s farther away to give you the maximum impact. And how will you know you have succeeded? When you push that button, pop open that umbrella, and swing it over your head — you will have succeeded if you get lost in the joy of your new private umbrella rain space. Ka-POW!

You probably know where I am going with this.  Yes. It is about your attitude toward Mickey Mouse ears umbrellarain or rainy days.  We all know (April) showers bring (May) flowers and also give us life — and rainbows — but we still dread seeing rain in the local weather forecast. We blame rain for a lot like ruining our entire day, canceling the parade, flooding our basements and giving us mold, destroying our vacation, giving us rain delays, and dangerous driving conditions with blinding conditions and hydroplaning. BUT — the deeper meaning is about more than rain. If we can laugh and sing and dance in the rain merely by choosing a colorful umbrella — just imagine how we can make many of the clouds we create in life disappear.

The concept is best described in the book, the FiSH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results (2000, Lundin).  FiSH! Philosophy is basically a Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results (2000, Lundin)leadership and customer service model but the concepts transcend the workplace. The four principles of the FiSH! Philosophy are Be There, Play, Make Their Day, and Choose Your Attitude.  All of them are powerful concepts and collectively, if practiced consistently, can transform a team. The one that really impacts me day to day though is Choose Your  Attitude.  According to the FiSH! Philosophy, Choose Your Attitude means taking responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Once you are aware that your choice impacts everyone around  you, you can ask yourself, “Is my attitude helping those Lady Umbrellasaround me? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?”  (2000, Lundin).

The power is within all of us.  The power of choice. Choosing to love the rain. Choosing the best umbrella. Choosing a positive attitude. Choosing to give ourselves permission to giggle, to smirk, to laugh, to smile, and to be exuberant.

So the next time it rains — grab your umbrella and join me Under My Umbrella – Creating a Happy Place. We’ll laugh and sing and experience life and joy — looking forward to that rainbow and enjoying those (May) flowers.


References:
Lundin, Stephen C. (2000). FiSH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results. New York: Hyperion.

For a list of some of the better Leadership books, check out the PC Pop blog post: Leadership Books – Recommended Reading.


Bonus — Enjoy Rihanna’s “(Under My) Umbrella” Orange version featuring Jay-Z


Faith and Leadership — ESTEEM at St. Thomas Aquinas Purdue

In ESTEEM, Faith & Leadership, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Purdue, Uncategorized on April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

ESTEEM

Last Fall I was asked to participate as a member of the “faculty” for a new capstone LEADERSHIP program at St. Thomas Aquinas (Purdue) St. Thomas Aquinas - Purduecalled ESTEEM.  I was honored and accepted. ESTEEM is a national program which was started at Yale University.  St. Tom’s is one of the first university parishes to be selected for this program. In its inaugural year at St. Tom’s it has been a phenomenal success.  Through the journey we have encourage our ESTEEM student leaders to reflect on this unique experience. Hearing directly from the student participants how this program has had impact is much more meaningful and powerful.  So far two of our students have been courageous enough to share.  Please take a moment to READ these blog posts from two current St. Tom’s participants and hear about the experience from the students’ perspective:

To view photos of the Boiler ESTEEM students at the ESTEEM Capstone Conference, click HERE.


ESTEEM in the NEWS:


More Information from the ESTEEM website:

ESTEEM is a nationwide program to develop the leadership skills of young Catholics. St. Thomas Aquinas at Purdue is one of nine pilot campuses in the nation. The original pilot campuses are Yale University, Sacred Heart University (Connecticut), Michigan State University, The Ohio State University, Stanford University, and the University of California at Los Angeles. St. Thomas Aquinas at Purdue University became a pilot campus in the second year along with Villanova University and California State University at East Bay.

Employing a multifaceted approach, ESTEEM provides college students with the inspiration and tools for deeper engagement in the life and witness of the Church. An initiative of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management and Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale, ESTEEM focuses on the core competencies of spirituality, education, community and service.

  • ESTEEM is a groundbreaking national program created to develop the leadership abilities of Catholic young adults.
  • ESTEEM engages students through retreats, workshops, seminars, and fieldwork to develop leadership skills.
  • ESTEEM forges powerful mentor relationships between participants and professionals living their faith in inspirational ways.
  • ESTEEM develops the next generation of Catholic leaders.
  • ESTEEM is the Church’s future. Now.


So you’ve read and heard all about ESTEEM. You think it’s something that will work for you, whether a student, a campus ministry professional, or someone who wants to help the Church. Great. Shoot them an email or give them a call. They’ll help you out. ESTEEM is the Church’s Future. Now.

268 Park Street, New Haven, CT, 06511

t 202.223-8962 x18; f 203.777.0144

Mad Men Style

In Fashion, fatherhood, GQ, life, Mad Men, Malavenda, metro, metrosexual, Movies, Pablo Malavenda, parenting, Pop Culture, Rat Pack, Sinatra, TV, Uncategorized on March 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

Growing Up with GQ — Part 2:

Either You’ve Got or You Haven’t Got STYLE!


Robin & the 7 Hoods


This is the second PC Pop blog post in a series called Growing Up with GQ.  As you know from previous PC Pop blog post (Growing Up with GQ), I grew up surrounded by men who took great pride in how they looked, smelled, and were proud to be one step ahead of the latest fashion.  Every man in my family was voted “Best Dressed” in high school; and someone in our family has continuously subscribed to GQ magazine since the early 70′s.  We were metro before there was a word for it.

Robin & the 7 HoodsRecently I have realized that my son is the sole heir of this marvelous legacy.  He’s the only Malavenda male in his generation.  That’s a lot of pressure on him — and me. I have been looking for inspiration in many places and searching for opportunities to make the point without triggering the “oh, dad” so typical these days.  Not sure if you have noticed but men are dressing better in movies and TV — and men and fashion is once again acceptable.  And thanks to shows like Mad Men and characters like Don Draper there is a renewed interest in the classic fashion styles of the past — even the ’60’s. One thing my son and I do have in common is our love of “black and white” movies and TV — classic cinema and television.  He and I (to the dread of my wife and daughter) watch a lot of the Dick Van Dyke Show and movies on the classic movie channels. He loves the George Clooney – Ocean’s movies; so, we watched the original from 1960. Last weekend, we stumbled on a movie similar to the original Ocean’s 11 that featured amazing fashion — Robin and the 7 Hoods starring the Rat Pack.

Robbo played by Frank Sinatra is a mobster from Indiana who is now in control of Chicago’s north side during pre-prohibition times. Robbo and his band of thieves which features Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin are different from the other gangsters (Peter Falk) and corrupt Sheriff (Victor Buono).  With some of his money Robbo with theSinatra, Dino, Bing help of an orphanage director (Bing Crosby) creates a nonprofit social services initiative.  In addition to the orphanage, they run a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. The movie is a great vehicle for the Rat Pack with great music, dancing — and great costume design. The movie score features some of the most memorable Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen songs like “My Kind of Town,” “Bang! Bang!,” “Any Man Who Loves His Mother,” and “Don’t Be a Do-Badder.”

Ole Blue Eyes, Bing, Dino and Sammy are also dressed to kill the entire movie. Mad Men - Men's StyleThe fashion and style of this movie are classic, mobster, glamorous 1910’s style with a Technicolor – 1960’s – Vegas – Rat Pack swagger. More importantly the fashion in this movie has helped me make sense of my family. I forgot about the connection between the appreciation of GQ style with the men in my family — and the Rat Pack. The song and dance routine, “Style,” from this movie says it better than I. As the song goes, “Either you’ve got – or you haven’t got – style.” It would even inspire Don Draper.

Watch this clip from Robin and the 7 Hoods.  I think it speaks for itself.



Today, with the recent fascination with everything Mad Men and Don Draper — perhaps there is hope for my son to be more conscious about fashion and how he looks, smells, and dresses. A father could hope for a kid whose “got it” — yes?

Survivor Leadership, Chapter 4 — Serving Your Community

In CBS, College Students, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Komives, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership, Survivor, survivor women, Timothy McMahon, TV, TV shows, Uncategorized on March 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Karma


Before reading this PC Pop blog post, you may want to first read the other posts about Survivor and Leadership: Survivor Leadership, Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer; Chapter 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy; and Chapter 3 — Family First.


As an instructor of LEADERSHIP for college students, I use many techniques to demonstrate and teach aspects of leadership — including watching Survivor.  Generally though we only watch the first four to five episodes as a class because at some point the “game” becomes more and more autocratic and Machiavellian — and mean spirited. Ultimately the Survivor premise — of voting everyone off until there is only one Survivor — is the antithesis of the best practices of LEADERSHIP. But during those first four episodes you can really see LEADERSHIP emerge among the members of the tribes; what I refer to as Survivor Leadership. After 4 to 5 episodes into the season, it is important to focus on the importance of Community LEADERSHIP.

Robert Greenleaf

Robert K. Greenleaf

In order to understand others, you must first understand yourself.  You cannot lead a team or tribe unless you understand others enough to include and empower them.  Once they are empowered they must be coached, challenged, and encouraged. In Survivor, your immediate tribe is your core community (small c) or family.  The entire group of castaways regardless of their tribe affiliation and their alliances is the Community (Big C).  Unfortunately, the castaways become so focused on Leading their tribe and playing the game that they fail to become great Community Leaders. To examine this further we must look at various LEADERSHIP models particularly Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership.

Colton has lost sight of one important aspect of leadership — all of your actions should be to benefit the common good.  This is best articulated in the definition from The Relational Leadership Model which states: Leadership is a relational process of people together attempting to accomplish change or make a difference to benefit the common good (Komives, 2007).  At this point in my class, I would tell the students “this is where we lose Hitler.”  Hitler may have been effective in mobilizing lots of people to do his bidding but nothing he was doing was for the “common good”; therefore, he was not a leader.

Christina

Christina

Alicia

Alicia

This past Wednesday CBS aired the sixth episode of Survivor: One World and the castaways have been together now for 14 days. It is at this point in the competition that I fantasize about how different it would be if the castaways had some insight into leadership. As I watched the episode unfold — it reminded me of the potential we all have to have a tremendous impact on our Community.  During this episode, the villian Colton had found an ally — Alicia. Colton and Alicia turned on their tribe-mate, Christina and became classic bullies.  Colton has no legitimate right to authority or power in his tribe or the entire community but others are for a variety of reasons allowing him to not only lead but to also be a coercive, manipulative meanie.

Colton Cumbie

Colton

Colton’s action were not for the common good of his tribe let alone the entire community of castaways in this camp.  If you define great leadership as actions or changes to benefit the common good it allows you to explore values, service, humility, civic engagement, empowerment, inclusiveness, diversity and community.   Colton’s behavior or style also does not resemble that of a Servant Leader — where you serve others first, selflessly, and lead next (Greenleaf, 2002). Colton is a prime example of a meanie who thinks he is a leader.  So regardless of what Colton and his allies think, he is not a LEADER.

In the competition of Survivor focusing on the needs of others, being selfless and promoting and developing others is a risky strategy. But I would argue ignoring the needs of the Community is short sighted and will eventually be your undoing. If you know anything about Survivor you know  eventually the tribes merge into one tribe.  If you acknowledge the collection of all tribes (families or neighborhoods) to be a part of a larger Community — the merge is pivotal in one’s success as a Leader.  If you are NOT focused on the holistic aspects of your entire Community until the merge — it is too late to have a positive impact.  What a different sociological “experiment” in human behavior Survivor would be if each castaway employed the principles of Servant Leadership — listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, and commitment to the growth of others and building community (Greenleaf, 2002).

Similar to the world and communities in which we lead, Servant Leadership is such an inspirational, aspirational and attractive theory — but can it really be implemented?  As Leaders we often see things from a selfish, self promoting lens — focusing on material things and the next promotion. Like Survivor there is an ultimate prize at the end of the competition.  Logically we can see, even if we don’t believe in Karma, that there are great benefits to ignoring those selfish urges and focusing on the needs of others, serving first/leading next, and working hard to develop the skills of others, empowering them to become more engaged and better servants and leaders themselves.  This philosophy is virtuous but risky and threatening.  You must take the leap of faith. In Survivor you build alliances to get you farther in the competition until eventually you will have to turn on your allies and attempt to promote yourself — to the supreme role of Sole Survivor.  Is it possible the Survivor  is more similar to the corporate American ladder than we would want to admit?

Sabrina

Sabrina

There is some encouragement in this season of Survivor though. Sabrina has been a great example of a leader with the ability of Encouraging the Heart (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).  One of the five elements of The Leadership Challenge is a concept called Encouraging the Heart.  Encouraging the Heart is such a powerful concept the authors dedicated an entire text to the subject — Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).  As a leader I am comfortable Challenging the Process and Inspiring a Share Vision, two of the other elements of The Leadership Challenge, but I have struggled with Encouraging the Heart (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).  I have had to be very intentional about sending thank you notes, celebrating small victories, and sounding sincere in my praise of others’ work.  When I assemble a team, I always try to recruit a leader who is strong with Encouraging the Heart to complement my strengths.  Sabrina has consistently been the one castaway on Survivor this season that has been genuinely concerned about the feelings of others.  Sabrina has been a strong competitor but this week her tribe, Salani, was required to have one member sit out the reward challenge. Sabriana sat out of the challenge but was completely engaged.  She cheered on her tribe-mates with words of encouragement and great sideline coaching.  Her role in this reward challenge made the difference and they won — a luxury prize with ice cream sundaes with all the fixings.  Another example of hope this season is how Christina dealt with being bullied by Colton, Alicia and others in her own tribe.  Christina stayed focused, did not retaliate with hateful words, and did not hold a grudge when Colton needed comforting.  When Colton started to experience extreme pain, Christina was the only tribe-mate who went to Colton’s aid and helped him find comfort.

Message to Mark Burnett, Executive Producer of Survivor — consider a new reality TV show concept, Survivor Leadership. The concept would be very similar to Survivor with one major difference.  The difference is each castaway has been trained in LEADERSHIP.  Each castaway would be required to complete the curriculum of a special Survivor Leadership Academy.  The syllabus would focus on the history and development of Leadership theories, practices and models.  It would focus on self-awareness, inclusiveness, group dynamics, teamwork, ethics, communication, community, and service.  How wonderful to see how the members of each of the tribes would develop if their collective focus was on the needs of the entire Community; and they focus on service first and leading next (Greenleaf, 2002).  They would work together to build a shelter, start and maintain a fire, find drinkable water, hunt for and cook food as a family, and make sure everyone felt valued, challenged, healthy, appreciated, and heard.  It would not only be a better “experiment” but a better example for aspiring and emerging leaders.

Immunity IdolNow back to Karma.  I mentioned Colton was feeling some pain toward the end of the episode.  Well although I predict Colton’s strategy would have backfired on him eventually — his appendix ended his game sooner.  Colton was diagnosed with an acute appendicitis and was ordered to leave the game. It is hard to ignore that Colton was the architect of his own fate.  (Note that it was later disclosed that Colton actually suffered from a severe bacterial infection in his stomach and intestines.) Colton did not disappoint and was evil until the bitter end.  Given the option by Jeff Probst to give his immunity idol to another castaway before he was carted away on a stretcher, Colton decided to keep it as a souvenir.  Another brilliantly selfish move.

Let’s hope that Survivor: One World Post-Colton is as exciting and a bit more compassionate.


References:


For more suggestions on must-read LEADERSHIP books, check out this PCPop blog post:


For more on Survivor Leadership, check out these PCPop blog posts:





Signs of Spring — Blooming Flowers and an Increase in Suicide

In depression, flowers, health, life, spring, suicide, Uncategorized, wellness on March 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

Malavenda Flower Garden -- photo taken and owned by PCPop


Signs of Spring are everywhere.  Flowers are blooming, grass is getting green, and the bird songs and sunshine are waking me up each Spring Rosesmorning before my alarm clock.  Today, I took an exhilarating 15 mile bike ride through the country with a gentle breeze, billowy clouds in the sky, and sunshine. I feel the anticipation for the happiness that Spring brings.  It also reminds me, though, that we are approaching the season with the highest incidents of suicide. I have a background in psychology, counseling and human development and have worked with Malavenda Tree -- photo taken and owned by PCPopcollege-aged students my entire career.  My commitment to leadership, service and community engagement led me to serving on the Lafayette Crisis Center Foundation Board for several years — three of which as president.  During this time I became acutely aware of the needs of the community, especially those in our community who suffer from depression due to abuse, illness, bullying, and  mental disorders. During my time with the Crisis Center we focused on Suicide awareness and prevention especially in the Spring.

I don’t suffer from depression but I am a bit obsessive.  And Spring not only has many opportunities to put winter behind us but Spring also pulls us in many different directions.  The energy is welcome and the motivation is increasing but the projects whether “spring cleaning,” gardening, or yard work can be more than some of us can manage. I will admit it makes me anxious.  Making to-do lists, task lists, and having a plan of action helps — not just to make tasks manageable but to also keep your emotions in check.

Malavenda Flower Garden -- photo taken and owned by PCPopFor those who suffer from depression, it is hard to understand why everyone is so excited about the Spring.  It is difficult for anyone to make it through the holidays, the new year, and the stresses of winter but most get out of their funk when the first signs of Spring appear. So if you are the only one still feeling burdened with anxiety, despair, shame, and confusion — you may sink deeper. Individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression already feel like they are not normal — not like their healthy, happy friends.  When they continue to be depressed through Spring — and no one else is — this is often too much to handle.

For every student it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on getting through the semester after Spring Break.  It is also getting to the point of no return for students who have not kept up with their school work and have been in denial about their academic future.  If you are failing most of your classes and facing expulsion, Spring is the season of reckoning. No longer can this student avoid telling their friends and family that their college Malavenda Flower Garden -- photo taken and owned by PCPopcareer is over.  To many, it seems like the end of the world and the shame is unbearable. And thus, Suicide is the second highest cause of death among college students (first is accidents).

For these reasons and more Suicide peaks in the Spring. Many still don’t realize that in the months of April and May there is a spike in suicides in the US and all of the northern hemisphere. We don’t think about it because it isn’t really logical in our minds.  In so many ways Spring has outward signs of happiness, hope, and a new beginning.  We become more active and motivated to begin new projects and engage in our communities. Perhaps this same energy and motivation explains why those who suffer from depression actually make plans to take their own lives in the Springtime.  What a juxtaposition.  They become more focused, more determined, and even in some cases, more angry and aggressive with severe mood shifts. A new beginning perhaps means the end.

Malavenda Flower Garden -- photo taken and owned by PCPopToday every community has local resources that are tremendously effective — when we’re aware of them and use them. The first step is being aware of the Warning Signs signs and Causes of Suicide.  Since untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide it is also important to understand what causes depression.  This includes drug and alcohol use/abuse, bullying, accident, illness, abuse, loss, unemployment and more.  (A more comprehensive list of the causes of depression may be found here.) Remember — There are almost ALWAYS warning signs of depression and suicide.

Suicide is preventable. But remember that Suicide does not discriminate, and it is a real issue in today’s society. There is one suicide each minute of each day and over 30,000 each year in the US. — 1350 of which will be college students. This issue, like Spring Rosesmany, needs to be confronted as a community.  If you want to help you should become AWARE of…

  • the people you love — call or visit with your family and friends and neighbors — check in regularly
  • take action if you observe any warning signs
  • be familiar with your local resources and reliable online information
  • get help from professionals — you’re not alone

If you suspect one of your loved ones or friends is contemplating suicide, you can help best by following these guidelines offered by the American Association of Suicidology and the Lafayette Crisis Center. Here is a summary of the guidelines:

  • Take Threats Seriously
  • Watch for Clues
  • Answer Cries for Help
  • Confront the Problem
  • Tell Them That You Care
  • Get Them Professional Help
  • Offer Alternatives

Malavenda Flower Garden -- photo taken and owned by PCPop

Don’t hesitate to call 911 — but if you find yourself with someone who is suicidal (and it is not an emergency), here are some tips for what to do while you are waiting for help to arrive (from Suicide.org).

  • Listen
  • Comfort
  • Be Concerned
  • Talk openly about Suicide
  • Don’t be judgmental
  • Be careful what you say
  • Listen some more (and then Listen)
  • Get professional help
  • Follow up regularly and often

If YOU are thinking about Suicide, read this first.  You should then visit a professional or call one of the Hotlines listed below including Spring Roses1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).  Each of these Hotlines and crisis centers are staffed by caring, trained staff who really want to talk to you.  In our community you may also call 2-1-1; and speak to a trained, non-judgmental person who can assist you in many ways. The 2-1-1 staff have information on important community services. So if you need essential human services – you are looking for training, employment, food pantries, help for an aging parent, addiction prevention programs for teenage children, affordable housing options, support groups and ways of becoming part of the community– 2-1-1 allows people to give help and to get help. If you need someone to talk to — just call.  Make it your first call. For more information on 2-1-1, click here (because it may not be available in your area — it is in mine). See below for more Suicide Hotline phone numbers.Malavenda Tree -- Robin -- photo taken and owned by PCPop

We must also work together to raise awareness of important resources in the community like the Lafayette Crisis Center and “2-1-1.”  Agencies like the Lafayette Crisis Center are offering services that are vital to the members of our community who need assistance — because the municipal and state governments are not going to in the near future. These agencies also need your support of time and money — please support the United Way and give directly to the Lafayette Crisis Center.

Malavenda Tree -- photo taken and owned by PCPop

Awareness — Empathy — Nonjudgmental Listening — Community Action. We all need to be aware that Spring is wonderful, but not for everyone. Sometimes all you need is to be aware — aware of what Spring Fever may bring — in addition to blooming flowers. If we work as a community to watch out for our friends, our family as well as our neighbors — depression can be overcome and suicide can be prevented.  Lastly, remember that YOU are not alone — and it will get better.

Now go out and enjoy the warmer weather, the beautiful flowers, and a new beginning.


Call 211 -- Get Connected. Get Answers.


Suicide Hotlines

  • Need Help Now?
    • Call 9-1-1
    • 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
    • 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Text Telephone: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
  • Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (Press 1)
  • Suicide Hotline in Spanish: 1-800-273-TALK (Press 2)
  • LGBTIQ Youth Suicide Hotline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386)
  • For info on Suicide Hotlines in your state in US, click here.
  • For info around the world, click here.

Suicide Prevention on Facebook


Retweet and Comment on Twitter — from Suicide Prevention (@Grassroots___ ):

Signs of Spring Tweet Comment by Suicide Prevention


Have Yourself A Rosie Little Christmas

In Malavenda, Oprah, OWN, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Rosie O'Donnell, The Rosie Show, TV shows on December 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm

The Rosie Show - Rosie O'Donnell

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the Malavenda clan had an epic day.  During the Fall of 2011 we have hit a very, very low point. Somehow though on this special day we managed to have one of the best days in the history of our family. It all started when Oprah put Rosie O’Donnell back on the air.  My partner and I have LOVED Rosie O’Donnell for a very long time.  During our time at UConn, I managed to get ~50 tickets to see a taping of the new Rosie O’Donnell Show at “30 Rock” in New York City.  On January 12, 1998, during Rosie’s second season of her original show my partner and I chaperoned a busload of college students to the Big Apple.  It was a great day.  We have forever been die-hard Rosie fans. That is why when Oprah announced that Rosie’s Show would be a part of the line-up for her OWN network, we were very happy.  To our surprise and delight, Rosie would be taping in Chicago.  Rosie the ultimate New Yorker was moving to Chicago and taking over the Harpo Studios.  We knew that we had to be there.  After 25 years of failure in getting tickets to see Oprah, we got on it right away with Rosie.  My partner was on the website every day and NOTHING.  All of a sudden one day, dates appeared.  We put our names in for every date available.  BINGO.  We got tickets.  We were going to the ROSIE SHOW!

We put our heads together and decided to make it work.  Our plan was to give this as an early Christmas gift to our kids.  Our budget is fine for now but if our situation doesn’t change in 2012, money could be an issue.  Using this as a Christmas present made sense financially.  The beauty though (and irony) is that our kids would much rather have experiences like this than any game or electronic device.  We also decided to make it a surprise to our kids.  It was not easy though.  On Friday, Rosie’s people emailed us the Friday before our taping encouraging us to wear our “ugliest Christmas sweater” to the taping.  We don’t have any ugly clothes so my partner posted a request on Facebook.  She got an immediate response from several friends.  Once that ugly sweater was in our possession our kids started to ask questions.  What do you need the sweater for?  Whose party is it for?  When is the party? Are we going to the party too? We dodged those questions for most of the weekend.

Thank goodness Monday arrived and the kids went to school.  Our kids got home from school, participated in their after school activities, made it home and immediately began working on their homework.  It was around 9 p.m. before they were both done with their work.  They got the clothes ready for school because it was going to be spirit day and they got ready for bed.  They went to bed.  We waited about 5 minutes and called them back downstairs to our family room.  I turned off the TV, had them sit on the couch across from me, and told them I had to tell them something — something good.  We told them they were not going to school the next day and that we were going to Chicago to see the taping of the Rosie Show.  They thought we were kidding.  Once they figured out we were “for real” they went to bed, of course, too excited to fall asleep right away.

The next morning we headed to Chicago for one of the BEST days of our history as a family.  We had a wonderful breakfast at Ina’s, we found parking right across the street from Harpo for only $10 for the entire day, and we got in line about an hour before we were supposed to be there.

Waiting in line and waiting to get in the studio was a lot of fun.  Once inside Rosie’s people gave us a very yummy cupcake.  We then got our seats and although we weren’t in the front section, we had perfect seats.  We could see the band and the main-stage without any problem.  Under our seats were Snuggies because Rosie keeps the studio really cold (because of her hot flashes) and she wants us to be comfortable.  Of course our boy put his on right away. As the time passed the show started to come together.  There were ugly sweaters all over the audience as well as antler ears, Rudolph noses, Santa hats, (Christmas) light-up clothes and lots of bows, tinsel and garland.  The stage was decked out with several Christmas trees and decorations including candy and cookies.  The audience coordinator gave us our instructions, the warm-up comic did his stand-up routine, Holly the announcer got into place, and the band arrived including Katreese Barnes their leader.  And the show was about to start and out comes — R O S I E!

She was brilliant and gracious.  The show theme was “It’s a Crafty Christmas.”  The guests were Marjorie Johnson, the Blue Ribbon baker and Rosie’s favorite craft guru, Bobby Pierce.  The musical guest was Casey Gorab from the new A Christmas Story: the Musical which is on tour in Chicago (hoping to make it to Broadway).  The show was great but what made the experience special was Rosie.  Our theory is that since there wasn’t a big star on the show, Rosie was being very engaging with the audience during breaks — and she gave us lots of stuff.  My boy actually caught her attention and was able to ask her a question during one of the breaks.  His question was great.  He asked “What kind of performing did she do as a kid?”  She was not sure at first if he was a boy and then she called him a cutie patootie.  She then gave a great answer and asked him if he has been performing.  They chatted about the PMO Christmas Show. It was a wonderful interaction between Rosie and my boy.  After the show, Rosie invites children to the stage to meet her and take a picture with her.  Rosie immediately called out my boy’s name and was delightful with both our kids.  They not only got a perfect photo with Rosie (see above), but she also gave them Hanukkah gelt, huge Christmas cookies, candy canes filled with chocolate, and chocolate truffles — all directly from the Christmas set that the crew was tearing down around us.  We were walking on a cloud.  She was engaging, gracious, generous, and slightly humble.  She really likes kids and seemed to like ours. We filed out of the studio with the rest of the audience and gathered up our loot. We ended up with the following:

We contemplated getting in the “Stand by” line for the second show which featured Penny Marshall but it was full.  We decided to pack all of our Rosie give-a-ways in the car and go get some deep dish pizza.  (When in Rome….)  We have had deep dish pizza many, many times but we have not been to Giordano’s Famous Pizza restaurant.  It was close enough to walk and even the walk to the restaurant in the Greek Town neighborhood of Chicago was fun.  We walked through the Adams-Sangamon Park which had an awesome sculpture, a doggie play area, a great view of the Sears Tower, and a lighted Christmas tree.

Because it was only 4 p.m., we were seated right away, got our pizza and were very content (full) with pizza. Surprisingly, it was some of the best deep dish pizza we have ever had. We headed home to Indiana and reminisced on a great day. The best part of the day was that we were able to share it with our kids.  My partner and I have seen a few tapings in our day in New York City and Los Angeles (SNL, Letterman, Maury) but I cannot describe how wonderful it is to share something like this with your kids.  Especially a taping of a show like the Rosie Show.  It was truly entertaining from beginning to end. We experienced something very special. We all had a great day — TOGETHER.  It was perfect.

We even got our Christmas card picture (see below), finally made it to Harpo Studios (check it off the bucket list), got lots of loot, didn’t spend too much money (We even lucked out and found gas for only $3.09 a gallon in Merriville), and have a reason to go back to Chicago soon — to see A Christmas Story – the Musical (for free)

The next day, my partner signed up for tickets for all of the tapings of the Rosie Show in January 2012; and my boy spent most of the night in his new Snuggie.

It might actually be a great Christmas after all.  Thank you, Rosie (& Oprah); and Thank you to my precious family. Peace – Love – Laughter! (Especially NOW!)

Snowflake Dazzle Christmas Card
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