Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pause and Listen

From my book: Forget-Me-Not, Forget-Me-Never, Remember The Fun We Had Together

To Carrie-

If pleasures path you wish to see,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak of, of whom you speak,
And when, and how, and where.

Florence Gaynor
June 21, 1906

The other day, I snail mailed an old friend photographs from a Christmas luncheon. We had not seen each other in 14 years. Yesterday, she called me on the phone to thank me for the photographs.

My long time friend could have written and mailed a thank-you note, whipped off an E-mail of thanks, zoomed off a text message or an IM, sent a Facebook message, rattled off a Tweet, but no. She called. Sound old fashioned? Sound out of date? Sometimes simpler is better.

Hearing the voice of a friend may seem out of date to some. Hearing tone. Listening to the silences. Picking up the spoken and unspoken, unwritten vibes. Hearing, listening. What's the difference?

In listening we learn so much more than in writing, or in talking. True listening means not having anything to say saved up in your mind in response until the other person finishes speaking.

So, the next time a friend takes time to call, just pause and listen.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's Day Bullies

Our daughter, now in Second Grade, does not want to go to school on Valentine's Day because last year she was picked on then devastated. Girls fight with words and yes, boy do they ever.

The entire class, first thing in the morning, taped paper bags alphabetically underneath the chalkboard in the front of the class. Throughout the day everyone as instructed, placed Valentines into their friend's bags. At the end of the day, everyone checked their bags to see what nice goodies they received. Our daughter received 4 Valentines: "You're nice,", "You're stupid", "You're ugly" and "You're dumb." She was devastated and cried on her walk home.

Call an immediate meeting with her/his teacher and Principal. The teacher should know her/his classroom well enough to recognize and privately call out the bullies. They should be punished appropriately, disciplined and should attend some type of therapy. They should also be told their behaviour will no longer be tolerated. The teacher should also speak with their parents.
Tell your daughter to hold her head up. Tell her she will be a better person in the future and as she grows up from having suffered this experience because she can be empathetic towards those who are bullies. Maybe the bullies are mean because their parents are mean to them and mean behaviour is all that they know.

The Lesson Learned:
Leaders include rather than exclude. Leaders never make others feel sad or embarrass others. Leaders always make others feel special.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Everyone has a Valentine, or Volunteer!!

To my Valentine:
Somebody's longing for you,
Somebody loves you, dear,
Somebody's longing for you,
Somebody wants you near.

That's me sweetheart. Chester

A valentine sent from my grand-father Chester Barrett to my grand-mother Carrie Barrett in 1921.

As a single gal for 20 years, I used to really dislike the pressures of Valentine's Day every year. The questions. The waiting for flowers and cards. The anticipation of getting a gift from a boyfriend, or not. The loneliness some years.

Finally, I realized that Valentine's Day is not only for a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or significant other. Its purpose is to tell family members, friends and loved ones you love them. I have a friend who sends her Christmas Card list Valentine's Day cards instead every year! How cool!!

So, if prospects are a little slim this year, ask a friend to be your valentine or volunteer to feed the less fortunate a nice Valentine's meal and make a few new friends!
xoxo Carrie's grand-daughter