I looked around and was so grateful that we did not downsize and sell our family home. Many times it has been a haven for our adult children as a place to land, rest and recharge to get back out into the world.
It is okay to need this in life. I longed for my childhood family home in Long Beach and drive by it often. Stepping into the house you grew up in brings back daydreams and memories. I went through so many phases — I wanted to be a nun, a teacher, a dancer and the possibility of all of those choices was real. Being outside all day was filled with adventure.
At some time or another all of our four children have had to come home for a bit. It was always a bit stressful but it cemented their desire to be back out on their own as soon as they had spent enough time sitting on the couch, with the remote, thinking.
Life never follows a straight road — no matter how well the plan is.
When we bought this house we had a plan. We had no idea if it would work or last this long. This is the house we bought together after each of us had been divorced. We raised his, mine and ours the best we could. It was not smooth nor what each of us needed at times but it was familiar and filled with love and good intentions.
Family gathering place
Now the four grandkids are growing up with a sense of fun and wonder in the remodeled house. We renovated about 10 years ago and it turned out to be magical. An art room for him and an office for me. Seems as we’ve gotten older we needed more space to stretch our creativity. So many lives have been nurtured here and I can’t imagine a moving truck coming to take it all apart.
I can’t believe how much I have missed out on in our yard. I never took the time to appreciate how many birds, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees and flowers have been waiting for me to notice them. Why did it take a pandemic to wake me up to nature.
This morning I decided to move my office outside. I remember being excited as a kid when the teacher said “Let’s move the desks outside.” I realized it re-sets my brain to be a part of nature. It opens up new connections to be surrounded by trees, natural air, clouds and sky. It is impossible to be sad when I’m outside. I have always wondered why my husband never tired of yard work on our 1/2 acre property. He had a secret that the kids and I never asked about or participated in. Our loss ~~ he has made it beautiful.
I find myself gravitating toward books about birds. They are fascinating to me and it seems they can teach me about life and how to be resilient. Seems timely on the “learning to be resilient” part. Funny, I am late to the game but have found authors who have studied birds for decades. Jim Robbins writes for the New York Times and studies wildlife at his home in Montana. Jennifer Ackerman has been writing books about science and nature for over 30 years. Both are people to pay attention to.
My new routine is to find my way outside first thing when I wake up. This is before I ever touch a phone, computer or TV remote. It is amazing to listen to the sounds of morning. Everything is new and filled with optimism. What a great way to begin my day with a positive outlook to combat this terrible time of sickness and worry.
Now I’m adding working outside in the afternoon. I think I have found a way to create my new normal and look forward to it. I know for sure that I am changed ~~ and for the better.
Every year at Thanksgiving I ask the question “what are you thankful for” at the table. I get a lot of sighs and “oh no not again” but reluctantly everyone finds an answer and whether it is real or not, they comply.
It is tough to answer honestly with such a broad question. Most everyone was giving general answers to this general question and I realized we were not getting to anyone’s true self. In order to change it up, I had to think of a better question.
There had to be a better way to make this fun and make it memorable. I remembered a list I saw on a bulletin board while teaching one day that intrigued me — It was from an article printed in HuffPost
25 Ways to Ask Your Kids ‘So How was School Today?’ ‘Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today?’
By liZ Evans Blogger, Simple Simon and Company
Here are a few:
What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
Tell me something that made you laugh today.
How did you help somebody today?
How did somebody help you today?
Where do you play the most at recess?
Who is the funniest person in your class?
If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?
I thought the questions were brilliant and after trying them out, I realized I learned a lot more about a day at school. It takes some effort to dig deeper to ask questions that will give you insight into another person. I am inquisitive. I like to know the deepest parts of a person. It takes the right questions to get there. The most interesting people don’t give up their thoughts easily.
Is everyone as bored as I am watching those 4-5 minute question/answer segments on the morning shows? You come away with nothing new about them and realize they were only there to sell a book, a movie or an album and that everything is scripted. I can’t imagine being asked the same question over and over again and trying to look interested. Guess what? That is what I was doing at Thanksgiving every year!
At the last second I changed it up — “What is one thing you did this year that you did not feel you were capable of?” Okay, I got the same looks but after a minute of hearing the answers of the kids, the adults took notice. The kids answers were heartfelt and genuine. They knew right away that a 100% on a math test was a huge accomplishment. Semester grades that had more A’s than C’s were worthy of a huge smile on their face. Getting through the first months of a new grade and feeling good about it was huge to them. It was their world and they were tackling it. It’s funny how math became the pinnacle of success. It told me that math was a tough subject to master. It is ever changing and you must keep up. It has exact answers. I know in my substitute teaching that I can see a lightbulb flash over the head of someone who understands a concept for the first time.
I was thrilled with the answers of the adults at the table who may have thought their revelations were simple — BUT — they displayed real amazement at their accomplishments. Painting a wall to painting people for the first time; moving to a brand new area and adjusting better than expected; finding a new way to visit Las Vegas and it being more fun; to my own revelation that working five days a week at jobs I loved proved to be more satisfying than I ever thought it would be.
I learned something new. Change up the questions. Find ways for people to talk about themselves in a different way. Be interested in learning what others are trying to accomplish. Most of all get them off guard and give them a reason to dig deep and reveal something no one has ever asked them before.
I saw lightbulbs over everyone that day. In the end, they may still roll their eyes at my questions but I think next year they will look forward to letting us in on their secret.
I was thinking the other day about the history of family photos. I remembered my grandmother sitting down with me as an adult and opening a shoe box full of photos. That is all she had of her past. They were special and she could remember everything they said about her life. I got one day to soak it in with her. She is gone now and so are her thoughts about her life. If I could have one more day with her. . . .
Grams Had A Story
My parents took more pictures and my mom got creative with scrapbooks. She bought books with black paper and used a white ink pen to label them. She took so much love and care with each photo, carefully placing them in order and I’m sure smiling as she pasted them in. I treasure the pictures of my parents as newlyweds—they were just starting out with hopes and dreams. Kids rarely let their parents be people. It is too hard to see their reality next to the person you need them to be. Those pictures became all that was left when they divorced 23 years later. Both never let us sit together just one more time — the five of us — to hear their stories of life together. The chasm between them grew so big that they both erased their marriage and created new lives with new spouses. Kids deserve to have the family pictures preserved and not hidden away in boxes never to be looked at again.
Happy Marriage Stories — My Grandparents and My Parents
I am the generation that started with paper photos and transitioned to digital memories sitting on a computer. I kept the scrapbook tradition and have many books that I made sure stayed current. I also have three baskets in a closet of paper photos that never made it into a scrapbook. I did have our VCR videos transferred to a USB device. Our videos are treasures but lopsided in having much more footage of our youngest child than our older ones. I have digital pictures on the cloud and wonder who will ever really see them when I’m gone. I’m determined to not let my stories go when I do.
I met my friends, Amanda and Kristi, at a conference in Texas by chance. I volunteered at the welcome desk and there they were in front of me checking in. Amanda was not on the list (we later found her) and we laughed all weekend about her crashing The Photo Organizers Conference. Their lives are in Canada (each on separate coasts) but their friendship with each other is real. I dared to work my way into becoming the third wheel — I am happy to be in that role!
Together they formed Memory Momentum and are always finding solutions for their clients to keep their memories alive and safe. They have experience and a sense of humor. They care about stories. They care that you will organize your pictures in a way that will be easy to understand and keep up. Here are a few of their thoughts in beginning to change how we think about organization and it’s meaning in our lives:
Organization does not mean perfection;
Organization optimizes the quality of life;
Having a system means less time overwhelmed and frazzled;
Keeping the system up means more time for fun and less time recreating the wheel;
Starting is the hardest part — let someone teach you how to begin and how to keep only what you love!
Here are their tips on valuing the photos we save:
DELETE — schedule it daily, weekly or monthly. Keep only the ones that have meaning for that month and year.
TELL YOUR STORY — your photos are your story. More does not mean clarity. It is too overwhelming to see 1000 pictures in our digital photo album. They lose their meaning. Pick the right ones and lose your guilt over deleting the ones that are not meaningful to you.
BE MORE INTENTIONAL WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY — If you end up with 12 for the year (one a month) that tell your story, there is no need for 1000 that you will have trouble remembering in 10 years.
Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in Amanda and Kristi’s witty photo-organizing wisdom! You can find them at www.memorymomentum.ca — Don’t worry you do not need your passport or a one-way ticket to Canada — they are experts at remotely working with you. A video meeting is just as much fun as meeting them at a welcome desk!
Simplify and Be Intentional — such a great way to live if you just let go of stuff. You don’t need to be perfect, just know what you treasure and Delete the things that weigh you down. Make sure that your memories are safe and available for future generations. Nothing tells a story better than what your eye sees while capturing a photo.
I was asked to participate in a new mentor program for freshmen in Social Science Majors at my Alma Mater. I decided quickly to fill out the questionnaire and even though I missed the deadline, they asked me to join. I am learning to try new things without a complete outline of what to expect and this was a last minute thought.
I was a bit nervous driving back to college because it had been a while and the campus has grown quite a bit. Luckily, they set up a free parking area which as everyone knows is a huge gift that eases stress to start the day. I only made one wrong turn but recovered enough to walk into the building on time. I figured being a mentor meant being prompt was a big deal. I was met with this emblem which caused me to stop and pause —
I went back to college late in life. I was losing myself in adult choices and responsibilities and a very wise counselor helped me find a goal — one goal, something I could work toward that overruled my emotions. It gave me a chance to test my tenacity and work toward something difficult to achieve. My success or failure depended on no one but me.
I found my way to the building that housed my classes for 3 years. It’s funny the nostalgia that happens in an instant. I appreciated everything about my quest for a degree because it was such a dark choice in my past to not finish what I had started at 18. I veered off my path but second chances are the best part of life.
I was met by the nicest people who welcomed me with enthusiasm. This was the start of a test program and I have always known that to be on the ground floor of anything at the beginning is always the best place to be. They matched me with my student. Funny how things work out. His mentor did not show up nor did my student. We were meant to meet. He was equipped with an audio recorder and off we went to figure out who might be helping who.
He was well organized with questions. I was happy to answer. . . .
Who did I admire growing up? (my maternal grandmother)
What was my childhood like?(outside all day)
Did my parents talk to me about college? (no, nor did guidance counselors)
What made me decide to attend this college? (location because I had a family at home)
Why Psychology? (my experience in family law exposed me to many broken people, I wanted to understand how to help)
How had the campus changed since I was there? (more buildings, parking and dorms)
What was the same about the campus . . . .
I had to think about what was the same. I watched the students walking the same way with backpacks and direction. I thought for a minute and realized they were Walking Into Their Future. They were showing up. They were making choices. They kept going even when it got difficult. No one kept track of them, they were independent and free. The tree in the quad was a constant and a symbol of growth.
And last but the most important questions of the day. . . What have you learned since you first started your career? What did graduation lead you to?
I had to think about that. When I was younger I would have answered quickly without a lot of thought. I wanted to help him understand what life experience can teach as you look back and have some clarity.
I learned that listening and allowing people to be who they are was not who I was when I started. I thought that my way was the best way to a successful life. I talked a lot. I was nervous and filled the silence with words that meant very little. I wanted everyone to be happy with me. I spent little time in thought about being centered and most of all, I was a shell of a person who had limited risk taking experience.
I am not completely whole yet, there is still more to do. But there was a moment when I realized that observing was an achievement that helped me feel peace. The word advice is gone from my mind and replaced with “what do you think?” People deserve to be heard, to have new ideas and be on their own journey to joy. I can watch from afar without stepping in unless asked to.
I laughed when I saw two signs of things I missed out on by going back to college late in life. I have traveled and been an enthusiastic member of the audience but I could never go back and do these things. . . .
My last thoughts to the amazing student I had the pleasure of getting to know and who is just beginning to think about his career. . . Try everything, don’t say you can’t do something — you never know where it will lead. Be you! Keep going even when you think life is too hard.
Oh and don’t get into debt so that you are forced to stay in a job you don’t love!
My question to him before we ended “if you could wake up tomorrow and be in any career what would it be?” He smiled and thought. I could tell he had not thought about it that way — being practical could be off the table for a moment. He had a spark in his eye when he said maybe a fashion designer. I told him that one day he could design something for me.
I’m not sure who got more out of our hour together. I know this for sure that being around young people keeps me energized. If he walked away with a few ideas, it was a huge success. I walked away feeling grateful that I had a second chance at college. I had fulfilled my goal and watching him Walk Into His Future was a moment I will treasure.
You can try to make your job have more. More impact, more responsibility, more leverage.
Or you can be industrial about it and try to have your job involve less. Less risk, less effort, less to fear.
Is your ideal job one where you get paid but no one even knows you work there . . . Or is it to bring your hopes and dreams and talents to a position where you can change things for the better?
I have had many jobs in my search for myself and my passion. I started working when I was 16 and am forever grateful to my parents for making this a condition for participating in extracurricular activities in high school. They required me to pay for gas when I drove their car and my song leader camp and outfits. It was a turning point in my growth and feeling of independence. I started as a school secretary for the night school at my high school and then landed a retail position as the “Youth Council” representative for my high school. I attended monthly meetings and my input was taken into account for the store buyers of the teen clothing department. I was also able to pick up shifts at the store on weeknights and weekends. I was busy. I learned to show up on time. I loved getting a paycheck. I knew that if I didn’t show up that I was letting them down. My parent’s rule gave me a great start.
After high school graduation I got a job at a bank. I learned about checking and savings accounts and as an employee I was given a credit account with a $300 limit. I never realized it until the other day that I learned every job that bank had to offer. I watched everyone and decided that I wanted to be the utility person. I could fill in for anyone who was sick or on vacation. It took about a year to learn what I needed to. I honestly do not know how I came up with that thought but it planted a seed that has stayed with me in every job I have taken. Be the one to raise your hand to help.
Okay, it sounds like my work life has been seamless — not so fast! There would always come a point in any job when I felt I could do more, be more — make more money. I started a family and went back to college. I was always searching for what my perfect fit was. It led to a lot of starting and stopping. I’ve had a lot of “I wish I knew then what I know now.” Be curious and never stop learning but focus on a goal.
Every career journey is personal. No one can help or get too involved in your choices. It is about asking questions, learning from mistakes and finding people who do the job that you would like to do. It’s about finding companies that motivate your best ideas and concepts. It’s about realizing that starting at the bottom is always the best step.
My husband and I owned a restaurant for about 4 years. It required me to quit my law office job and become the manager. I was terrible at the day to day operations. I lived for getting out in the community and marketing what we could make happen for group activities. We were stressed every day. We drove far to get there. We had 4 kids who were not getting the best from us. The day we sold was the happiest day of my life. I re-enrolled in college and spent more time at home. It became my LINCHPIN — my fork in the road. I started to set priorities.
College gave me courage. Part time work gave me flexibility. I took part time jobs that taught me something I didn’t know and then I would move on. I began to think like an entrepreneur— I liked making decisions that felt like me. I was able to keep this going for quite a while. I graduated from college. I focused on law offices. My kids went out on their own. I traveled to seminars in other states. I learned how others made their way. I loved my journey but had one problem — I wasn’t making much money. That became a problem when my husband (the best breadwinner I could ask for) retired. It was time to put all my talk and education into action. Once the pressure of income came into my head, I lost my confidence. I had grown comfortable with the flexibility of part time, of going to seminars and thinking that was doing something, of learning how to set up my website and of listening to podcasts. Time for less talk, less strategy and more action.
I had one more challenge — getting my real estate license. My idea was to work with families/individuals to avoid the pitfalls I saw of home buying and the stress it caused. I had a plan — it revolved around what I had finally found as my passion — Organizing — I have found my center. I have variety. I have flexibility. Organization helps everyone I work with feel settled. My dream career mix (finally) —
Law Office Administrator
Organizer of Homes, Home Offices and Small Business Books
These tools have served me well —
My parent’s rule — get a job to pay for high school activities;
Be the one to raise your hand to help others;
Be curious and never stop learning but focus on a goal;
Starting at the bottom is always the best step;
Set priorities once you have some experience;
Know when thinking about strategy needs to end — less talk and more action —
This week Chris and I went for our annual eye exam together. We have been seeing our optometrist for the entire 36 years we have lived in our home. All of our kids have seen him. He has witnessed all of our life changes and it’s nice that at least once a year we can catch up. He is patient and kind and relieves our worries of aging eyes.
Today he proclaimed that Chris is the perfect man. His eyes are so different in vision that they balance each other and he no longer needs contacts just a minimal prescription for reading glasses. Now, this is a big deal. I, on the other hand, am trying to find the CAPITAL E on the chart. His test of my left eye was just a big blur and I am always taking the peripheral test (the one with the Jeopardy buzzer) with sweaty palms — please let me see the green dot!
I went first. I gave as many details in my allotted time of our last year as I could. Even though I started first, Chris finished before me which tells you our relationship story without words. Our doctor made the fatal mistake of asking me what was happening with retirement and I proceeded to fill him in on how the last four years have been going — luckily I have spent a small fortune with him so he is not losing money when I come in.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
I was not happy for the first year as I was used to being home alone in my own world;
I am not fond of whistling — Chris is happy when he’s whistling;
After raising four kids, I was not in the mood to answer questions about my productivity and goal setting capabilities;
Chris being the amazing landscaper that he is, stepped up his weed-eater and blower duties — all which make noise and create dust;
I am the tech person in our home — my name was being called a bit more often to come to the rescue of wayward laptops and streaming devices;
I am an everything has a place girl and I am not good when things are dropped with no container underneath.
After four years, here is what I’ve learned:
Chris was allowed to be home — suggesting different activities or software for him to learn only put those things at the bottom of his “to do” list;
Whistling meant he was home and happy — unless we are in the car, I don’t hear it anymore;
He could in one sentence call me out on my bright shiny object syndrome; it turns out goals and objectives are a good thing in my world and have led me to the best career I have ever had;
Our yards are so beautiful — they have always been his place to be calm and creative — I just close the windows when I hear noise;
I strongly encourage reading manuals or watching a tutorial video — the technical side of life is either loved or hated and unless you love the challenge like me, just get to know what you deal with daily.
I had to let up a bit on my “everything in it’s place” but he takes his shoes off at the back door now. Don’t get me wrong there is never a wayward glass or a bed unmade but you will find the laundry overflowing a bit more and there are water marks on the bathroom mirrors now.
At the end of the visit, our doctor proclaimed that he will probably never retire. I told him just stay part time and ease into it.
Compromise is the key. The alternative is being consumed with loneliness. While the beds are made, the dust is barely there and the kitchen floor is clean ~~ the whistling is gone.
I was lucky to have a great high school life. Now don’t get me wrong there was drama and worry but for the most part I was able to come away with the best memories. As I got further away from that time, life got busy and I lost a part of that girl.
This weekend I went back. My sister and brother-in-law came to visit and we went to the Friday Night Football Game to watch a nephew start his high school football life there. So funny, those kids looked so young and we thought we were so old and grown up — making decisions that seemed at the time life altering.
It’s good to get back to who you were before the stress of life takes hold of a carefree personality. It can’t happen every Friday Night but it is good to re-set and remember once in a while.
I keep this picture in my office to remind me of who I was when I was at the beginning of my adult journey. It keeps me focused on what I was thinking and who I still am. I believe that none of us ever lose that 18 year old wonder and feeling that we can do anything. It just gets lost in daily life and responsibilities.
We had the weekend to discuss our lives and what we hoped for our kids and for our own futures. My sister and brother-in-law were also a part of my high school days. We’ve seen each other through all of life’s joys and sadness. It has been a comfort to know I have big open arms to land in when I need it. Chris and I are here for them too. We realized that since all of our parents are gone, we are the leaders of our family now. We are proud of our own accomplishments but we beam when talking about our kids. They are such great people. They are never far from our thoughts but we respect their autonomy and need for privacy — they do reach out often and we know that we have created a safe zone for them to talk and rejuvenate.
We talked about our home and our talk of downsizing. We never realized what having this house meant to the entire family. It reaches more than just Chris and I and our kids. It’s a place to feel happy and safe. As with my high school memories, there are many that our entire family have stored here and treasure. Our kitchen table has been the place where anyone can be fed and listened to.
I remember watching The Waltons Television Show (click link to see a picture) in the 1970’s and thinking that their kitchen table was so loving and welcoming. How did we get to the point of thinking that families living far from each other would be a good idea? I realized tonight that it’s time to plan more family dinners at this table. Luckily, Chris is a great cook and I love to clean and organize the kitchen afterwards. I also think including everyone in the process of a meal is a great way to create laughter and a sense of belonging.
I have always loved a comfortable family room complete with comfortable couches and blankets. So many positive discussions can lengthen when there is room for everyone to sit. When relaxed, people talk with their heart.
It doesn’t matter how big or small these two important rooms are. Just make sure they are welcoming and used often. I am content tonight knowing that we have created the home where everyone wants to be. All are welcome and I’m going to get better at making family time an open invitation. Scrapbooks, yearbooks, home movies and videos tell the stories that are the thread that connects us and helps us know that we are loved.
I want to think that I was a fun mom — BUT — I do remember worrying most days about keeping the house clean and organized. My kids have all told me at one point that they would stop making their beds when on their own and there was nothing I could do about it. I don’t blame them for rebelling. No glass ever sat on the table for longer than five minutes before it was dishwasher bound. Kids want to grow up with a certain amount of dirt and chaos and mine were deprived of that most of the time, All of my television role model moms of the 1950’s and 1960’s kept their house spotless. My own mom kept our house spotless. As a kid I had chores on a list and each one done paid me five cents. Making my bed was on that list.
I have thought about who might have been a hilarious mom and Lucille Ball comes to mind.
Her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, was asked about that and this was her response:
Now, Arnaz’s favorite memory of Ball, who died in 1989, is decidedly unglamorous.
I sort of always come back to the idea that any memory where she’s just home and has time to just be with us, any of those simple, the simplest of dumbest of memories, you know, making a grilled cheese sandwich in the kitchen,” Arnaz says.
This was the funniest woman ever on television. She made life a hilarious string of unbelievable ideas on how to live daily life. She helped families at home watching television laugh together. Her daughter simply wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and time to just be with us.
It sounds so redundant to say but truly the time the kids are home until age 18 does go fast. I look back now and realize it is impossible to make time slow down while raising kids. There is always so much to do, somewhere to be, homework to get done, chores to complete, meals to cook and emotions to soothe. Kids are loud, they fight, they leave fingermarks on walls and wet towels on floors — they are busy living their thoughts. I was longing for quiet and order when I should have been listening and laughing — helping them live their thoughts.
So, it’s time for me to start to focus on each rare moment of the day as best I can. I needed to find more laughter and started listening to a podcast where I thought I could find some hilarity — “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” — He is hilarious with no script. I wonder how his kids feel about him? Is he funny at home? Does he give them time outs? Do they think he’s as funny as I do?
What about Melissa McCarthy? Does she have her kids make their beds? Can you just decide to be funny and it magically happens?
Here is Melissa’s take on disciplining her very funny kids:
On The Struggle To Discipline Funny Kids
We have very funny kids. [When they try to get out of trouble by being funny, we’re like,] ‘Good bit, strong bit. However, you still have to go clean up your room.’ It’s a balancing act. Kids are really smart. They pick up on everything and then you still have to not laugh in front of them as you tell them that something’s not appropriate, or something might be too aggressive. Then, when they leave the room … Ben and I try to write it down so we don’t forget, and then laugh a lot without them seeing. It’s a system in a web of lies. That’s what it is.
There are all kinds of moms who do their best with limited skills. I think there should be a mom class that teaches how to laugh not only at what kid’s introduce to your life but also at yourself and how you handle it. Maybe I can start one — it will start with a house full of unmade beds and I have to let that go for a day.
Life gets very complicated when you have to keep order in every room in the house. We all need creativity to express what our brains are trying to help us focus on. Noise is good — it means everyone is still alive. Wet towels eventually get washed and smell better. Fingermarks get painted over on walls but we treasure those plaster school projects with the hand imprint. Siblings stop fighting and turn into life-long friends. Scrapbooks reveal the memories that remind us that we did have fun and laugh at least once a month.
I was in my local coffee shop and just finished my order. I noticed the line behind me had 2 people when a group of 3 went straight to the register and ordered without noticing that there had been people waiting behind me. They never looked, just ordered.
The lady who was bumped in line was so kind and just let them go ahead of her. I decided to walk up to her and let her know that I SAW HER and that she was not invisible. She explained that she just felt like it was a fight she didn’t want to start. The barista also spoke up and said that he saw her too. She appreciated that we noticed her.
It may seem like a small thing but I started thinking about people who do not feel seen. It got me wondering about how such a simple moment can change someone’s day. It woke me up to the fact that sometimes I am not paying attention either, especially when I’m in a hurry. Why has kindness taken a back seat in our society? Is everyone just in our way and an annoyance? Do we even care to realize that every person matters?
I started thinking of all the situations that trigger frustration:
On the road while driving — especially in traffic
Pedestrians who have the right of way
Any elementary school playground
The waiting room of a doctor’s office
Trying to reach customer service by telephone
It’s okay to:
Let someone into your lane, even if they decide at the last minute — we all do that once in a while
Look for pedestrians — show them you see them
Help kids learn to work out their conflicts right there on the playground — make sure they each listen to the other’s feelings — then send them back to play
Create better systems in waiting rooms — update everyone who is going to be taken in late — everyone’s schedule matters
When flights are delayed, update every 15 minutes and be honest as to what the problem is —
Customer service is the first line item when running a business — if that is not pleasant for customers, everything else will fail behind it.
I decided to change my routine and while taking my normal walk around our reservoir, I looked up at everyone I passed. Everyone smiled — people took the time to say hello.
I stopped on a street near my house last week and noticed that the neighborhood goats were set up getting rid of our dry brush. This sight attracted so many people — they all got out of their cars to see this extraordinary service take place and everyone was amazed, smiling and taking pictures. Kids don’t see this sight every day.
Thank You Goats!
It doesn’t take much of our time to value people. It just needs to be a part of our day. Who knows, it could become a habit —- I SEE YOU!