“Sometimes one’s batteries need to be recharged.
I’m taking a smidge of a break. Be back shortly!”
Lover of Leadership Education-The Thomas Jefferson Way
Dear Mom and Dad,
Remember how you wished like nobody’s business that there was even any small indication that your words and efforts were making a difference? Especially when it seemed as if you had the most thankless (not to mention endless) job on the planet with nothing to quantify it?
Those days when time after time (quite possibly the 3,459,812th time) you packed everybody up, including 2 or 3 friends, for a youth event or special evening? When reality stated that you would rather be home in your own pajamas relaxing and enjoying some much deserved down time?
Let’s talk about costuming and the planning, shopping for, and eventual execution thereof? And I’m not simply referring to the holiday beginning with “H”. Rather, I’m encompassing every outing, Boy and Girl Scout function, church youth group extravaganza, and whatnot…where they pled for that extra effort so their team could “win?”
Finally, there are the books. Endless stacks, piles, and myriads of sing-songy, rhyming types that when you are weary, make you long for an adult book group.
And the Where’s Waldo picture books. If I had life experience for every time I went looking for him…chances are the best of the best detective agencies would clamor for my hire.
Maybe, just maybe, you are beyond most of the above…in the home stretch with only one or two children left under your roof. Your days consist of “checking in” with young adults while still directing older children. And yet at times, you still wonder.
Until you receive a text the likes of this:
“Helping our youth group leaders with a Real-Life Waldo event. So fun!”
Accompanied by this amazing picture:
And in that moment, once again, you are reminded that example trumps words every time, that what you are saying is molding, shaping and leaving an indelible impression on hearts and minds; serving to shape future values and priorities. And that your influence is stretched beyond yourself, producing residuals beyond anything you could have ever been paid to do in the “here and now.”
What you’re doing today and every day?
You know how you go along in life as the parents/adults? And often you “think” you know what this kid or that kid would be great at or should possibly do? And then…then? Well take a look at this! I’m still in shock, and it’s the very best kind! The
punk stellar young man on the left, is the son of my friends Cathy and Dave Brown. Chad attended FanFest for Mariners baseball last Saturday, and snagged a spot in the Roots Sports booth. Holy Cow! It’s like he’s been a commentator for years! My older kids were so pumped,while my youngest (rabid Mariners fan) sat with his mouth hanging open. Literally.
Just goes to show you…you simply never know. Life is full of interesting things. And chances are, you really haven’t a clue as to the talent, potential and possibilities belonging to those individuals with whom you live. What a privilege it is to dwell with greatness. It is an even greater one to watch it unfold!
While it is often said that parenting isn’t for whimps…it is most definitely for the privileged!
GO CHAD! He’s got the “head nod” part down really well, dontcha think?!
This could possibly be the longest, biggest “sports blitz” I have ever been on in my life! Over and out.
I’m still pondering one of the hottest trends on the web. Wrote about it Tuesday, didn’t excuse poor behavior; and read this yesterday. A lot of food for thought.
Own your errors, admit it when you’re out of line…but man! This has gotten way out of control!
I hope you’ll read the article and weigh in.
The title is where I’m headed today.
For you see, I know quite-near-next-to-nothing about the NFL. And yet, Sunday’s game has left me very troubled in a lot of ways. This is quite an understatement.
For me, there are issues involving “the incident” with Richard Sherman that come from a definite rookie angle; but are the topic of much conversation in the Helm’s Household, as well as out of it; for I have texted voraciously with Son #1 and others.
In the spirit of the Leadership Education principle “You, Not Them,” I have a confession to make. It involves a basketball game in 1993 that my brother was coaching. I was visiting Seattle with my two oldest (and only at the time) sons. My brother invited us to ride the bus to the game, thinking that the boys would love it. They did. (At least on the way there.)
Perhaps the game became rather intense, and perhaps I felt that one of the refs was blind (my brother Tim later confirmed he was, but that is still to this day beside the point) and perhaps I stood to my feet and screamed this fact, until the principal of the school left his post on the other side of the gym; taking his time to get to where I was seated, asking me sincerely if I needed to step outside. He was absolutely right in what he did, and I was mortified. So was my brother. I remember one of the kids on the bench choosing to seize that momentary awkward silence in which the entire game stopped, and everyone’s eyes were on me by stating, “Geez, lady, you have serious problems. This is only a game!” That bus ride home was awkward at best and I was very alone in my seat near the back.
It is still not one of my finer life moments by any means. And there have been others not related specifically to sports.
I do have a small measure of comfort in the fact that my brother, Tim, (who clearly can no longer defend himself, but could also not deny one thing here in print) has been kicked out of many a game; using up his quota of technical fouls. His reputation for quietly and professionally goading refs and other coaches lives on in infamy. Son #3 and I were laughing last evening over the fact that during one particular visit with my brother,while at a high school game, he had mentally uttered to himself, “What the h*ll is your problem?!”
Be that as it may, I believe we are faced with some big ones.
For after Richard Sherman’s “unprofessional outburst” (and it was, there is absolutely no question,) a fire storm within social media venues everywhere ignited.
Sadly, the blaze continues and has burned both bridges and opportunities in its pathway down the slippery slope of things not even pertaining to football.
Leadership Education also encourages knowledge that is both broad as well as deep. I have zero depth in the world of the brown pigskin ball, other than what my brother Tim, my father, and my BFF Cathy have graciously passed along. In an effort to understand a wee bit about the game, I read this book,
and had many a discussion with Tim about its contents. It was a wonderful, insightful and eye-opening read and I highly recommend it. Since then, more than once, I have heard a zealous but well-meaning parent declare, “I would never want my child to go into politics! Oh no! A career in sports is where we’ve got them headed!”
I laugh, for I can’t decide which is more fraught with political strife: the career or a professional game!
Somehow, in today’s America, the fan/observer/enthusiast has come to be expert, gospel-truth-providing political pundit; taking the convenient form more often than not, of an anonymous-but-influential package.
Know this: I am not defending poor sportsmanship or unacceptable behavior. But there is plenty of it coming from the 12th man, and they aren’t just Seahawk’s fans.
The 12th man in my book, is the crowd that weighed in and then, from the comfort of their own easy chair, complete with an array of snacks only an arm’s length away; began fueling an age-old fire, that in many arenas is still blazing.
It concerns me that inappropriate behavior somehow managing to be redefined as expert opinion or even “fact” can be manipulated and reworked into equally absolute truth with influence, by those all too quick to seek immunity, safety and absolution behind a keyboard and a screen.
I know from personal experience, being a passionate person who shares opinions and ideologies too freely at times, that there are simply those moments, when after the fact; one wishes they had done things differently. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I find it horrifying that a gross error of judgment escalates to blanket statements encompassing things one really knows very little about, and never will. And just that quickly, gaining even more followers, also armed with blanket-statements-and-stereotypes-turned-truth, it focuses relentlessly on an individual’s ethnicity and stereotypical prejudice which still, after all these years, slides too easily off both tongue and fingertips…despite yesterday’s holiday being all about honoring the headway this man made for the cause.
Undoubtedly, professional athletes have significant influence over youth in America. Who am I kidding? They have influence over all of America as a culture!
But do they honestly possess influence at its greatest? It is my opinion that the answer is no, for real genuine relationship trumps iconic moments of glory every time.
Face-to-face, consistent, accountability is what is life changing in the end. And what kids (mine in particular) see me living, texting, writing, and what their ears hear me saying about and to others, is the greatest influence to abolishing hyped up, misdirected fear there is. Dr. King was all about this particular angle and made staggering headway using it towards fear’s demise.
Fear serves no one well. Responding to inappropriate actions with further inappropriate action, gives way to an even greater foothold where it is concerned. It limits and produces myopic vision that sees snippets and parts rather than the whole.
Fear feeds on opinion rather than fact. It takes root quickly and tenaciously where stereotypes of others based on culture and color are used to qualify those opinions whether they are relevant to occurring actions or not.
The oldest of my children asked me after the principal walked away that day, “Mom, are you in trouble?”
I meekly and humbly replied, “Yes.” It went far deeper than that one word answer.
One of Webster’s definitions of bravery is “showy display, magnificence.” Richard Sherman’s prowess and play are certainly in that category, are they not?
Wisdom, on the other hand, which is defined as: “a wise decision, good sense showing in a way of thinking, judgment or action”, seems to be what is lacking. Not just on the part of the athlete, but a lot of 12th man individuals who continue to weigh in.
Perhaps pursuing impact through relationships with the power of our personal influence in mind would serve to honor the legacy of Dr. King’s dream. A dream, referenced often, and revered much, that involved abolishing fear so that understanding could reign.
Let’s be leaders who stick to the real issues, readily admitting fault when there is a need.
Courage: it “involves qualities of the spirit and personal conduct.”
In the future, even when I “lose it”, have need to apologize and own my errors, may it always be void of color.
The greatest adversity in my life thus far has been the circumstances and aftermath of my brother’s death.
Even the greatest of cliches in life resonates truth when the rubber meets the road. Adversity builds character, and with it, can unwrap gifts that are incredible.
From the time my brother entered junior high, Bruce Brown began to mold and influence his pliable young life. The results were much of what you grew to love, admire, and cherish about Tim.
I knew Bruce and his wife, Dana, through my brother. When he passed, they, along with so many others, supported, encouraged, served, and bolstered me.
They continue to.
Bruce’s legacy within athletics is impressive, illustrious, and chock-full of success. He is a man who weighs that success in consistent, measured contacts with former students, athletes and coaches. Oh, and there are “cheerleader-loving-sisters-of-former-student-brothers-who-turn-out-amazing” types like me in there, too!
That last post resonated with so many of you! I smiled at all of the commentary I received in e-mails, comments, and face-to-face.
Bruce is gracious to me and reads the blog. His wisdom is so faithful to encourage, connect, and uplift others.
It is my privilege to share his words with you here. Good things do come from adversity, and many of them are true blessings in disguise.
He’s one of them.
“Well said! Listen for truth, separate out the mean spirited or garbage and flush it – keep your focus on the people (like me) where you are making a difference.
WIN – What’s Important Now – move forward and don’t let anyone impact the positive energy.
Secure people solve problems, insecure people create problems when they don’t even exist.
You’re the best!”
I happen to think that he is. Those are some insights to file away; and they are guaranteed to bless during and through adversity!
You know how you attend any number of large gatherings, and someone invariably takes to the podium, announcing that they have a few housekeeping items?
What in the holy heck DOES that really mean? You’re generally in a hotel, surrounded by people being paid to accommodate you, and this is the best we can do for this title?
Well, today, is just a quick rant on my part, 14 days into this new year.
I went from a happy-but-significant post about my brother , commitment, friendship and the power of traditions, to the following statement on a photo:
“There comes a point when you have to realize that you’ll never be good enough for some people. The question is, is that their problem or yours?”
A bit of a wind suck/energy drain, is it not? And yet, if you will allow me, I think it needs to be addressed just a bit further.
In recent days, I have had a rather daunting series of negative, critical, and unsolicited input regarding any number of topics; but inclusive of: my personal intents and actions,(albeit misinterpreted) business decisions, children and their choices, several of my personal choices…you get the idea. And have I mentioned this is only a partial list?
As I see it…
Decisions, priorities, choices and convictions should reflect the unique, significant and beautiful diversity of your own life and calling. It is honestly baffling to me how many opinions, influences from peers, and societal expectations, influence often significant choices and personal actions. If we “go against” any of those expectations by honoring conviction that is personal…and lo and behold it works out…then we are simply “lucky”, or better yet…actually admired for not listening in the first place!
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that criticism can be and often is, a wonderful tool that is there to mold, shape and influence. It can be a catalyst for an idea, which possibly gives birth to a concept; ultimately even bringing about change. I’m talking abut criticism that is there for the purpose of building up rather than the kind that was wielded with destruction as the intent of choice. They are very different beasts indeed.
Charting the course of one’s life in order to have the end result be a reward of significance and making a difference is serious business. And it involves evaluation, engaging and encouragement on many levels.
Perhaps if everyone spent as much time analyzing PERSONAL intent, work ethic, commitment, and conviction…the need to “keep house” contingent on the approval of others, could give way to greatness occurring on a regular basis that emphasized an extroverted focus rather than an introverted neurosis.
You have but one life. Live it, love it, and lead in such a way, that your own house is in order.
Oh, and know this: great leadership doesn’t sacrifice conviction and excellence for popularity; whether or not people of significance are doing it.
If you aren’t being criticized by someone, chances are…you aren’t risking enough.
And someone needed to hear this today. Possibly me.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have some further personal housekeeping to do!
I was lying on the bed several different evenings over the span of the holidays with Son #5, recapping gifts that have been both given and received. It’s amazing the impact that a few wrapped items regardless of size or value, can bring to an individual.
But what about those gifts, often taken for granted, that are priceless, never have duplicates, and require consistent investment both on the part of the giver as well as receiver?
Yes, I’m talking about legacy and friendship.
I’ve written here before about my friend Cathy’s love for football. But the love for football has deep roots and connections to a lot of life that has been lived over the years, memories that have been made, jokes that are consistently referenced, and finally…regret-free living. That’s one of life’s best gifts ever, is it not?
You’ve seen this picture several times before.
It represents the last Jamboree in June of 2011 my brother coached.
What hasn’t been highlighted, is the fact that this particular event was an hour away from Newport, and an equal distance from Cathy’s home.
Working full time, having a schedule that reflected that, and a son still in high school; it was a stretch to request that she attend. Tim asked her to be there.
And she almost said no. But have I mentioned how much she loves football?
As you well know by now, I’m there for two things: the cheerleaders and half-time show.
Tim rode the bus, and my mom and I, who were visiting Seattle at the time, road with Cathy.
She watched each play fervently, texting my brother on the field regularly with her commentary. ( THAT was appreciated…NOT!)
Afterward, Tim rode with us and we stopped for dinner at his favorite place: Red Robin.
They talked players and plays, plans for the season, and ins and outs of football that I shall never get no matter how many years pass by.
It was late when we were finished. We said our goodbyes, hugged one another…and that was it for Cath and Tim.
For in September, Tim was gone.
Over the Christmas holidays, Cathy and her kids visited Southern California. Born and raised here, she returns often, and we have been Disneyland buddies and “family” for over 20 years. Despite the fact that her husband, Dave couldn’t make it at the last minute, she forged ahead, making the drive alone.
But really, there is so much more to it.
Here we are this last trip.
I had received a text that we were going to have “Ugly Sweater Day.”
Something we pulled off rather well, if I do say so myself.
Park goers had some serious commentary about our group.
Our group that had individuals in it, who had driven an hour or more to be a part of said day’s festivities.
At a season of the year when time itself becomes a gift and commitments encroach upon structured schedules in every way; priorities must be chosen.
For most of our now very mature adult lives, we have been investing in traditions.
(Notice the WET in this shot?)
Those traditions have given way to legacy. A legacy of traditions and events that have woven deep and lasting relationships: relationships that can only become this rich and meaningful with time.
While we were discussing the football Jamboree, Cath said to me ( for about the 100th time), “You have no idea how grateful I am that I overlooked convenience and decided to go. Because of one decision, I have no regrets.”
Life is rarely convenient, and relationships are forged through adversity; regardless of how big or small.
I’m so grateful that amongst our friends and family we can offer and build into our children true gifts:
Gifts of lifelong relationship coupled with no regrets.
Here’s to many more in 2014.