Short Course In Human Relations

In the process of looking for something for a client today, I happened to stumble across the following photo. It struck me as something important to share – at the very least, with our kids.

Short Course in Human Relations

Short Course in Human Relations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We may not all agree with the phrases used here, but numbers four through one to me, seem pretty spot on. And while I could be wrong, I don’t think some of these thoughts are shared or these qualities encouraged enough, anymore. We’ve all heard people talking terribly to one another. And, if you talk with just about any business owner, especially in the service industry, they’re hard pressed to come across employees that have great interpersonal skills let alone a strong worth ethic. The above to me, is a great reminder of some important phrases to have in our immediate vocabulary, if nothing else

Imagine if we all got back to genuinely caring about what others thought, asking please, saying thank you and thinking of others more than we thought of ourselves. What would that look like in our lives, our families, our work, even in divorce and matters of shared parenting.

Sure, it would still look very different to different people and situations would still be handled uniquely from person to person. I totally get that. I just can’t help but think perhaps a little more humility might be injected back into our everyday. And that would be a wonderful thing.

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Name them all?

I was going to write tonight about another topic related to marriage/divorce and some of what lies in-between .. because more good spinoff topics seem to keep coming up via (not even the Cowboy anymore but) friends, the more I write on any of this it seems.

But quite honestly, I just want to change the subject.  At least for now.  I need a breather because I’m relatively depressed after hearing from more friends that weren’t at all a part of the crazy mix last weekend .. Friends who are also struggling either personally or in their marriages.  And for some reason, having never read my blog before, they happened to log on this past week, digest the past couple of posts and reach out to let me know it was in some way helpful.  Which should make me feel good.  But I feel awful knowing any of them are hurting.  So .. I’m going to temporarily change the subject.

Come to think of it .. you know what else I might do?  (I’m always dreaming up new ways to further run myself ragged…)

What about creating some sort of ‘buck-up’ boot camp where we run everyone through a ‘things could always be worse’ series of events .. so whenever we might need a boost that our lives really aren’t that bad .. and we should appreciate even the crap we get from whoever it is when we come home each night .. (For me, that’s literal.  I come home to the dog that I have to walk each night and follow her with a baggie so that she can poop and I get to pick it up .. or the cats.  I hate cleaning out litter boxes.  But I hate the smell of litter boxes that haven’t been cleaned out even worse.  That may be obstacle, hmmm.  #3 I’m thinking) it is there to remind you.  Or, perhaps all it will do is prove to you, things are that bad and you’d rather scoop poop and run through a field of electric shock than go home.

People actually do pay good money to do that these days.  It’s called a mud run.  Look for one near you.  Sign up.  Toughen up and let’s get going on some positive changes in your life.

Sorry.  Tangent.

The whole point of what’s above is to say, I’m skipping relationship topics tonight.

In exchange …

I have a quiz for you.

(Insert cheer!  Or, collective groan.  You, of course get to choose.)

This is how I have spent the past couple nights now, with my daughter.  Studying states and their capitols.  There has been hand ringing, tears shed, some elation when she gets them right but mainly frustration that she gets any of them wrong.  If not what the state is or where, it’s how to spell it.

As she was struggling still with Connecticut and seemingly at wits end, I told her, “Try not to stress so much.  Just do your best and picture in your mind what you’ve written down time and again to practice.  Or, just write it down and then go back and sound it out to be sure you’ve spelled it as correctly as possible.”

She looked at me, I believe, still feeling rather defeated.

“Chances are,” I added .. “You’ll do better than most adults if we gave them the same quiz anyway.”

Her eyes flew wide open.

So there.. my challenge to you.  And, her challenge to me tonight.  Well, hers and ‘the boys’ .. that’s what the neighbor affectionally calls his stepson.  Despite the fact the two go to different schools, they have the same quiz tomorrow.  They were testing each other for a few minutes this evening.

Name them.  Can you?

The 50 states and capitols.

Not just name them, though.  Can you also get them in the right place?

Have fun .. good luck .. and in case a little music might help put you in the right frame of mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_HeLofy7IE   I had never heard that before this week. You?

Here’s the deal:

No matter how you do on the test, referring back to the assignment a couple days ago .. if you only talked nicely about your significant other today, you get an A+.

The title of my story, she says ..

How often do you have those moments of clarity?

Clarity where, as a parent, you don’t worry so much about if you’re setting a good example, you see something spark in your child and you just know, they’re going to be okay.  That you’re not a horrible parent and they’ve gotten more from you than you ever dreamed.

That the temper tantrum last night was for you – and the rest of the world may see a very different young lady.

I grabbed the Cowboy the other day and we quickly ran over the lunch hour to my daughters school.  Every child in the class had written a story about something that was important to them, where they had maybe learned something and would want to share.

They’ve done this once already this year and it was priceless.  The things kids come up with, put in writing and aren’t afraid to say, we might all not only get a good chuckle out of, but learn from.  Last time, my daughter wrote about her cats.  Well, our cats.  And what they meant to her.

I had no idea what her story was about this time around.

With her dad, myself and the Cowboy in the audience among many other parents.. the teacher called her name.  She went and sat in the reading chair.

“The title of my story is, Saving Lives.” she says.

She proceeds to read the story she wrote;  recollections and emotions surrounding the day she and I years ago had to stop for a kitten lumbering across the middle of a country road.  We stopped to move it out of the way so it wouldn’t get run over.  And realized quickly, no one was caring for this sweet little thing.  It was very, very sick and its eyes were so clouded over with puss it had no idea it was walking into the middle of not just a road, but its own demise.  Or, maybe it did.  The poor thing was miserable and alone.

We picked it up, wrapped it in a towel we had as we were heading to our friends cottage on a nearby lake.

And the following day, after giving it as much love and tlc as we could, took it to the Humane Society to see if anything could be done to save it.

Days later… we got the call.  It had passed.

My daughter cried.  She felt like she couldn’t go on.  (Not only was she feeling that way at the time, this was in her story..)  She has one of the biggest, kindest hearts, not just for animals but people as well.  And while I often don’t get or take the time to see it (due to tight schedules, homework, only having her part-time, arguments, her talking back, growing up and asserting independence and the everyday little things we do that frustrate each other) .. that afternoon at school, I was reminded acutely of what a kind soul my little 10 year old is.

She wrote about that day.  But she also wrote about what it taught her.  And as I sat and listened .. I glanced over at the Cowboy.  He smiled at me.  ‘Wow,’ he whispered.

I perhaps should have turned around and given her dad a glance and a smile.  But I am just never sure what he thinks of the influence I have on her.  Given this story was all about our day and what she learned from it, I didn’t know if turning around to catch his eye would make him smile or .. well, frustrate him further.  I hope for the former.

Regardless, she found a lesson in it all, about life.

“Love things while you have them.”

It is a lesson I perhaps learned as well when I was younger.  But it’s one I have been reminded of countless times, especially through loss over the years, in my life.

Not only was her story and what she pulled out of that day something to celebrate, but she read aloud, annunciated, gave the right inflection at the right time and looked up and smiled at all of us when she was done.

Clarity.

Clarity that this day is good, that she can be and is strong, that she is insightful.  That she is learning how to communicate well and write.  That she loves her mom and dad and it means the world to her that either of us/we’re both there to help her celebrate her accomplishments.  That the little things count.  And that she is listening.

With the teen years fast approaching, that alone is something I know I need to appreciate while I have it.