Thursday, February 23, 2012

I CAN handle the truth, keep your pom-poms

My boys used to play football and I am not one of those parents that coddled them after games and kissed their scrapes. I always probed them to see what they learned by their action whether good or bad. Once my son and I discussed a game that they lost and he told me that the coach yelled at them for over an hour.  I know some parents would have called that coach and read him the riot act. Thankfully, I know THAT is a big mistake….so I thought about it and then asked him…well what do you think about that? He shocked me…he said…Ma, Coach was right. He said some of us were so busy chanting with the cheerleaders and pumping up the crowd that we didn’t listen to him and were confused on plays. Then he took a piece of paper and began drawing plays and showing me what they should have done versus what they did. I had no clue what he was talking about at this point but he was so excited to know WHAT to do and what didn’t work.  At 13 years old, he knew how to take, process and understand criticism without OFFENSE. That lesson was priceless.

I told my son that cheerleaders are not there for YOU.  They are there for the crowd….God love em, I was one- but they are NOT in the game. Their job is to stand on the sidelines and keep other people on the sidelines engaged in your game. Coaches may not be as pretty and they have no pon poms, nor will they tell you how cute you are after the game, but they are the ones with the wisdom.  While everyone is cheering, and yelling and chanting…coaches are watching, writing, instructing, developing, noticing and sometimes praying that you do what he knows you can do. That’s why after a winning game or matter what players thank COACHES (after their mama, that is:) not cheerleaders. It’s the coaches that are truly in the trenches designing victory.

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday..well actually it just confirmed something I already knew.  There is a MAJOR difference between cheerleaders and coaches. I spoke with someone yesterday about some angst I was experiencing and some career moves that I was looking to take within my current position. Thankfully she didn’t coddle my wounds or tell me how awesome I was…she came at me with both barrels. I loved it! 1.  She was right  2. I trusted her opinion  3.  She trusted me enough to know that I was mature enough to handle it without offense and 4.  She didn’t use any cutesy techniques to tell me.  She just laid it out.  All the way home I turned over what she said and got myself together, I prayed and now I know WHAT to do.  Had she wasted my time with compliments, I might feel mushy and loved…but I wouldn’t be challenged or helped. I’ll take the latter. I want to grow. Don’t sandwich truth between two pon poms and a cartwheel. Also, get you some people in your circle that can get in your business and coach you to the next level. If you need cheerleaders, encourage yourself. But to raise a stepfamily or run a multimillion dollar corporation…you are going to need people with a clipboard, a whistle and megaphone. 

A clipboard, a whistle and megaphone??  We will talk about that in our next post…

Friday, February 17, 2012

Put your big girl panties on and make grown folks decisions

During a conversation with a former co-worker of mine “Simone”, she said something that stuck with me all that week.  She said, Camille…I’m 40 something years old.. it was time to make some “grown-up” decisions.  She was sharing some of the things she was facing and how everyone was looking out for themselves and trying to diminish her voice in the process.  Eventually, when the rubber met the road Simone had to plant her feet, be confident in her value and do what was best for her regardless of what everyone else wanted.  Her grown up decision ended up paying in spades.  She got a new position, title change, wage increase, no additional stressors, doing exactly what she was already doing, without having to move out of her office and without settling for an escape to another position that would have been like going from the frying pan into the fryer. PRICELESS.

Flash forward to a conversation with my sister in law, Crystal.  She was telling me how she encouraged a young lady who had to deal with a death of a loved one.  The young lady “Leanne” had never really faced anything like this without having someone with her to lean on and being in her mid 20’s, hadn’t had too many instances where she had life altering moments.  Crys told her flatly…This right here is what women are made of…dealing with stuff like this is what separates the girls from the women…time to put your big girl panties on and deal with it.  Leanne did well…texting Crystal through the process telling her that her big girl panties were on and she was doing ok.  There was a point however that a message from her said that the “panties were out the window” and she had no idea where they were.  But in the end…Leanne made it through her life lesson and her capacity for dealing with “hard things” grew exponentially that day.

Being in a blended family or in life period, you can get so lost in the shuffle of making everyone happy that you make decisions that are for the good of everyone but YOU. Or you can find yourself faced with something hard and you want to ignore it, fall apart, whine or divvy the issue to someone else to deal with…I used to do that too and then I turned 11 and thought it was time to change. (Ok, more like 31…but eventually it happened)

The bible records Paul saying..When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things (NLT).  Some of us have decisions in our lives that need to be made-YESTERDAY. There are people that are sucking life from you that you need to cut off.  There are things happening in your home that you need to regulate and call to order. You have career decisions that need to be made and changes that need to occur.  There may be development in your character that needs to be addressed. You may be in a season of slothfulness…lazy and undisciplined.  Its time…past time to confront some things head on. Everyone can’t wear big girl panties…you have to be ready for the responsibility that comes with it.  There may be days like Leanne that you throw them out the window.  Have your private tantrum if you must, but eventually, slip the panties back on and continue to make daily decisions that move you toward the grown up you are called to be.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Left my beer by the side of the road...

I worked in the audio/video department in my church and this particular Sunday I was responsible for putting the lyrics of the worship songs on the big screen.  While listening to the music of the next song to be sung…I thought I recognized it.  But the worship leader sung something that sounded like….Left my BEER by the side of the road… WHAT???  Although, I guess it would be an ok thing to do-leaving beer that is…just didn’t sound like it was shaping up to the kind of song that we would normally sing in church.  I brought up another screen and begin searching on the internet for a song with those lyrics so if I could type them in as we went.  Nothing came up…not even close.  As the leader kept singing…the screen stayed blank…I had no idea where he was going…and then he got to the chorus of the song….”All I need is you…All I need is you Lord..”

Now this part I knew…but I had no idea that there was more to this song than the chorus which was all that we used to sing.  Secondly, I still couldn’t figure out how “beer” fit into the whole scheme of things.  Later I learned that the verse starts…”left my FEAR by the side of the road…”  OOOkay…making sense now.  Scary for me…not having the lyrics up and thinking our worship leader had lost his mind…BUT it was two GREAT lessons in listening.

  1. I MISHEARD what was said.  I know what it sounded like…but that was not what he said.  How many times has our spouse, our kids, our siblings, our parents, our boss said something that WE misinterpreted?  Especially with modern technology…an email or text can be taken all out of context if someone leaves their caps lock on by mistake. By now you should know the rule…REPEAT what you thought you heard and get clarity.  If I had just asked the question..more than likely somebody in the studio had heard the song before and could have told me what it was.  In a conversation, what you may have thought was offensive, may just be frustration that has nothing to do with you.  ASK and REPEAT.

  1. I didn’t know that there was MORE to the song than what I had previously heard before.  Anytime you are in a conversation…know that 8 times out of 10 there is more to it than what you are hearing.  Search for the root, dig for motive, keep asking why in new and creative ways. I didn’t know that the chorus had a verse that connected it. Don’t think that a bad day at work for your spouse isn’t connected to his response to you. Don’t view your kids moping as just them being moody…connect the dots.

So the next time you hear about beer on the side of the road…don’t panic….it’s probably just the verse to a chorus that ends up turning out ok.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Funny thing happened at the OB GYN's office today..

I went to my first OB/GYN appointment when I was 17 years old. The conversation was about contraception, understanding your menstrual cycle and how to do a breast exam.  We talked about the beginning of womanhood.

As I got older and started having children, the conversation changed to making sure I ate properly while pregnant, what exercises I could and could not do, understanding the Lamaze method and pre natal vitamins. We talked about the beginning of childbearing.

Today I went to my OB/GYN and the conversation has changed once again.  Now we are talking about about pre-menopausal symptoms, regular mammograms, enduring aches and pains during your cycle and looking at possibilities of future estrogen replacement. We talked about the ending.

The good news is, for a woman to have as many children as I do, my doctor concurs that I look darn good-inside and out.  I could still bear a child safely, if I wanted to -my body could handle it. The bad news is the tenor of the conversation. The scope of the conversation now had to do with an ending…not a beginning. What to watch for when my cycle stops, hot flashes, mood swings... Funny what you can learn while laying flat on your back with your feet in're pretty vulnerable, so you talk and stare up in the ceiling to keep your mind off of what's really going on. 

An assistant noticed my demeanor and asked what was wrong.  I told her about the conversation change to discussing “ending”…she said girl…“every ending IS a beginning”.

She was right.  As a matter of fact, I’ve noticed that in my family as well.  His Highness and I both had to endure a pretty hard endings to previous relationships (death & divorce) in order to have the beginning we have with each other.  I had to end my previous role as the woman in my son’s lives in order to begin a new life that includes grandchildren and daughter in laws. I ended my role as employee of one company to begin a career in another position.  There are endings happening all around us everyday…ending roles, assignments, friendships, relationships, status, influences…but what is coming up the road?It could possibly be a new beginning.  A new way of viewing things, a new life without him or her, a new role in a person’s life, a new lifestyle, a new circle…So don’t mourn the ends in your life for long…turn the page and read the new beginning. I wonder what I'm gonna learn when I get my eyes checked!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I don't mind your mistakes, Just fight for me...

You ignored me
You gave me away

You sold me

I fell off a cliff

We got beat up…

The time that this son has spent with his estranged father hasn’t quite been an enriching experience.  Yet, when Max (the 11 year old son) is asked from his father (Charlie) “what does he want from him”…Max says simply….I want you to fight for me.

As the story went, the father did end up fighting for the son both emotionally and physically. The father’s act of bravery brought tears to his son eyes and Max was finally able to see him in a positive light, as a man that he could be proud of.

Our litany of screw ups as parents may not be as severe as Max’s father’s was, however, if we look back over our years of parenting we can certainly come across a laundry list of things that we wish we could re-do.  But out of all of the things we failed at…what our children really want from us are the simple things. They know we have other things on our plates, but they want us to value them and fight for time and memory making events with them.
I know you wanted to be able to take them on a cruise, but a fishing trip at the local river would be ok with them.  You are thinking bigger, better, more, more, more…they are thinking…YOU.  They just want you.  They want your time, your attention, your ears, your laughter, your encouragement, your motivation, your ideas, YOU.

Pray consistently for wisdom so you know how much time to give, when to prioritize, what’s really important and what can wait. I have seen a trip to the gas station singing in the car with my daughter turn into just the connection time we needed. I know you are busy..I understand, my schedule is massive.  But I FIND time and create time to spend with those that matter to me.  Fight for your family and the ties that bind it together…it’s not merely sacrifice-view it as an investment that yields eternal rewards.