World Hello Day

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Two things that should probably never be in the same sentence are “Kay Wyma” and “Cafeteria Cashier.” It has something to do with my Overtalkers Anonymous recovery program (kids waiting in a line with their food trays just wanting to pay and sit down – they don’t have much interest in chatting) and my technological challenges.

A couple years ago, our Middle School cafeteria went the way of the computer. And after having been a cashier in the cash days (where we had to do the math in our heads – let’s just say I added a good $20 at the end of my shift to help my drawer end well after all my mistakes), I’m happy for the electronic upgrade. But somehow I still manage to get lost and struggle to give a kid the right change and press buttons that result in booting me out of the system.

But no worries, plenty of  real help – as in the amazing gals who staff our cafeteria – backs me up and gets me back on line in a flash.

One of the nicest benefits of the computerized cafeteria system is that each time a student flashes his I.D. in order to pay for his meal from an on-line account, his (or her) picture and name pops up. So with every kid, I get to – by name – cheerfully yell after them, “Have a GREAT day – Molly”, or Zack or Sam or Sally.

It’s Middle School, I know. They don’t like to be called out or have attention, especially from a mom, drawn their way. But I still do it. I want them to hear their name. Said happily, positively. Sure they might cringe on the outside, but at least for a moment they can feel known in the sea of people. And the truth is, I almost always can see a faint little smile as they walk away to find a seat. Some of the kids even stop and shoot me back an, “I hope you have a great day, too.”

People love to hear their name. It warms my own heart when I look up as someone has said, “Hi Mrs. Wyma” and I see a friend of our kids smiling at me.

Dale Carnegie always said, “The sweetest sound in any language is the sound of one’s own name.” Why? It means you’re known. And in today’s world, more than ever, people need to hear their names.

Sitting in that ginormous cafeteria, filled with loud sounds and a sea of people, I loved hearing the workers behind me sporadically calling out names, “Hey Dooley – How’s your day?” And even better, watching sheepish smiles erupt.

Today is World Hello Day. (Yes there is such a thing.)

November 21, 2014 is the 42nd annual World Hello Day.  Anyone can participate in World Hello Day simply by greeting ten people.  This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.

So take the opportunity, use this special day to practice. Say, by name, hello to people next to you. To the grocery clerk, to the Chick-Fil-A cashier, to your mailman, to… Just do it. And make your family do it too. It will make everyone feel a little better.

As if on cue, I got into my this morning to see this.

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My daughter’s nametag from an event she attends once a month. Her name, printed – not handwritten upon arrival – on a name tag does more than tell people who she is. It reminds her that she belongs. Doesn’t it do the same for you?

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

Life’s Clutter Drawers

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To dream the impossible dream… :)

“When did more than napkins fill this space?” I asked aloud as I tried to pry open an overstuffed drawer.

I looked at the kid next to me who simply needed a pencil to finish his homework. Pencils and hair ties – no matter how many we buy, they disappear. Where in the world do they go? I guess not in the drawer where I thought I had put them. But how would anyone know. We can barely open it.

At any time over the last year, I could have stopped what I was doing, emptied the drawer, thrown away junky peripherals and organized it. But we all know that wasn’t going to happen. Too many plates in the air. I can do it tomorrow.

Tomorrow. I guess tomorrow has come and gone a few times.

We’ve lived in our house for about a year and a half. Before we moved here, we lived at my folks house while we remodeled this house. So, we actually moved twice. Once into storage and once here. And each move involved major purging. I finally let go of toys or clothes I was “saving for my grand-kids” and plenty of my own “someday” things. As in, “I’ll be back in that outfit again, someday.” Things that might date back almost 20 years, five kids, and a gazillion fashion trends ago. Suffice it to say that even the resale shop didn’t want most of it.

“People really don’t wear these things anymore.,” the Clothes Horse Anonymous sales clerk told me.

“But they’re so nice,” I protested. She didn’t hold back any punches.

“Sorry, Honey. I don’t think these styles are ever coming back.”

Awkward.

Okay. So, we purged going out of our old home and moving back in. Because when you’ve lived for six months without all the treasured necessities, it’s easy to conclude that they aren’t a necessary as I thought.

As I struggled to close the no-pencil drawer, I wondered how we’ve come so far from the clean, clutter-free, organized drawers (and closets and bedrooms and, … ) that were ours such a short time ago.

I’ll tell you how.

It’s called out of sight out of mind.

And it goes a little something like this. We walk in the door from wherever and we put our stuff down on the counter. With seven bodies in our home, that can be lots of stuff. We take care of most of it. But the little junkie things that may or may not be worth keeping or attending to stay on the counter. Then we clean up, but don’t know quite what to do with the little knick-knacks that warrant being kept, but don’t really have a spot.

So, we slide them into the drawer. No worries. It’s only a few things and I can still grab the napkins that are so neatly stacked in my clean drawer. And that works for a while. I feel a teensy bit bad messing up my lovely napkin drawer, but each time I justify sliding peripherals into it by telling myself I’ll deal with it tomorrow when I have time.

Before I know it, I can’t even find a napkin because the drawer is home to so many other things. Next, I convince myself that napkins should never have been in the drawer to begin with. It was destined for junk-status to begin with.

Digging through the mess, most of which is stuff we need and use, I couldn’t help but think of how we have junk drawers in life. Like relationship issues that conveniently put aside until another day. Because in the moment, the issue might not be that big of a deal. We can deal with it tomorrow. It doesn’t matter. Just this once. Until the tomorrows build up and all the minors have morphed into majors and we can’t get to the bottom of the drawer due to well-intentioned avoidance.

It’s not just relationships. All I have to do is look at my email in-box to see very real things that need attention. Most of the reasons that warranted my deal with it tomorrow approach were reasonable. I just didn’t know exactly what to do, or the issue wasn’t on fire, so tomorrow’s fine.

Dealing with something tomorrow is absolutely fine. How many and how long I put things off is probably the bigger issue. I never minded a few things in that drawer. But as we conveniently shoved stuff inside, I didn’t realize how full it was getting and how hard it would be to find what I needed until we could barely pry it open. Keeping accounts short, keeping the clutter at a minimum, sure can alleviate stress. Especially as the holidays approach and we open life-drawers that may have been overstuffed for a while.

Because the truth is … I feel better – physically, emotionally, spiritually better – with the drawers less cluttery. The nicest part, no one is asking for complete clean AND it’s not a road you have to go alone.

“Why don’t we just clean it out?” Jack asked, still in need of a pencil. And I thought why not? clean it out – today. Sounds good. Of course he added, “Will you pay me?” I laughed, grateful all the same to have someone rummage through the “junk” with me.

Especially when a sister walks up with an offer to help. “We don’t need that…. Keep those… What in the world? For sure get rid that…”

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

P.S. Thanks to everyone who has been so sweet in checking on me to be sure I’ve been okay since I’ve been Blogosphere MIA. All is good. Some things in life just take some extra time. Thanks for not giving up on me. XOXOXOXO

CMO – Chief Mood Officer by Courtney DeFeo

Y’all remember Courtney DeFeo (Lil’ Light O’Mine) who has been such an encouragement on appreciating and watching out for folks in our lives that sometimes get overlooked or underthanked? Well, she’s just written a book. And I asked her to share something from it. She cracks me up – and blesses me at the same time. Might she encourage us all in our role as CMO (Chief Mood Officer).  Because, even when the moods are bad – here’s hoping we can laugh in the midst, because we are ALL there at one time or another.

Thanks for sharing Courtney! …and thanks for walking the road with me. -K

View More: http://aleamoore.pass.us/defeofamilyDo you know what happens when you ask your kids a question? You get an honest answer.

I was basically fishing for a compliment. The conversation went like this with my five-year-old. We had just moved to Orlando from Atlanta.

“Ella what do you remember from our old house?”

I was smiling – thinking my darling angel was about to mention one of the award-winning birthday parties I threw her, or her Pottery Barn Kids decorated room or all the million toys we bought her.

And here came the answer.

“I remember when you got mad and kicked the dryer.”

That moment felt like she kicked me in the deepest part of my heart.

It’s true guys. I have never hurt my kids or kicked my kids, but I did kick my dryer. And my five-year-old remembered it. Shame. Guilt. Embarrassment.

Yes, me the author of In This House, We Will GIGGLE kicked a dryer. Are you serious?

I am normal. I am human. I have bad days and good.

I’ve come to realize that I am the CMO— Chief Mood Officer—in our home. When I am annoyed and uptight, the whole family is on edge. If I am stressed, everyone is stressed. Sure, the kids’ fighting or lack of sleep or something else may be at the root of my mood. But I’ve discovered it doesn’t really help to figure out who caused what. I just need to break the cycle.

As CMOs of the house, we moms have some amazing superpowers. We carry delight and joy in our very fingertips and eyes. Our children crave our love, touch, and approval. They want to know we see them and we love them even when things are going downhill. If the mood in the house is tense, we can assess if it’s because we ourselves are too busy, too stressed, too critical, or too tired.

Often bringing in joy is as simple as scooping up a little one to give him a heartfelt hug or smile and word of affirmation. You can almost see the life come right back into his heart. As adults we get the same feeling of affirmation from our heavenly Father during our prayer time and time in His Word.

Check out Courtney’s book (especially great for moms of young kiddos) to get the skinny on her fun and creative ways to set the mood (there’s more than candles or music – even though Pandora’s Pride & Prejudice station goes a long way) – that can add a little lift to life in every home.

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Courtney DeFeo is a popular blogger and creator of ABC Scripture Cards featured on “The View.” She is a graduate of Auburn University and has worked in marketing for Chick-fil-A. Courtney and her husband, Ron, are the parents of two children. To connect with Courtney, visit CourtneyDeFeo.com

Raised in a Glass Jar by Kathleen Fischer

The following reminder is by our dear friend Kathleen Fischer.  I hope her words bless you like they did me. When I saw this, it reminded me of something I read last week by Tim Elmore on listening (from Habitudes). He said there are 5 types of bad listening. And, even though generic in nature, they seem to be especially applicable to the way I/we tend to listen to teens. 

  • Judgmental listening – jumping to conclusions about the speaker
  • Selective listening – only hearing what you want to hear
  • Impatient listening – finishing other people’s sentences, interrupting them
  • Egocentric listening – thinking about what you’ll say as others are talking
  • Patronizing listening – pretending to listen, but really off in your own world
  • Stubborn listening – listening, but not open – your mind is already made up

It convicted me that in my role as parent/trainer (probably as friend, too), I need to work on my listening skills, especially with my teens. I need to listen, not only in order to love them well by hearing, but also to instill and model good listening skills so they might learn how to listen in return. (Okay, so maybe that’s a bit pie in the sky, but one can hope :) In that vein, I especially appreciate Kathleen’s admonition: But across the arc of adolescence, a radical shift is necessary in family conversation….parents need to speak less and teens need to speak more. Listening – only a portion of Kathleen’s thought provoking post today.

Thank you, Kathleen (as always) for encouraging/inspiring us today… and thanks for walking the road with me.  -Kay

Swan-Nest

A man raised a baby swan in a glass jar, but as the bird grew it became stuck in the jar. The man was caught now, for the only way to free the bird was to break the jar, killing the swan.  – Zen saying

It was clear that they loved their girl, had the best intention of protecting her. Her parents acknowledged that, hoping to shield her from difficulties, they had limited her friendships; made sure she was in a good school with nice girls; closely monitored her contacts and activities. The young girl had been raised in a veritable glass jar…the whole world was hers to see but she was to remain protected, set apart until….when?

But, as teens do, she saw the bright lights of the world beckon her….she wore daring clothes away from her parents’ sight; she found intriguing companions on the Internet; she shielded her parents from what she knew would hurt them and might estrange her. The GOOD NEWS: breaking the jar did NOT kill the lovely swan.

But the crisis which ensued begs the question of all loving parents: how can we raise a teen “in” the world but still safe? 

Parents have 3 jobs: safety, decency and exiting their kid’s life.

I believe that we know when to exit our child’s life because he/she is managing her own safety and decency pretty well (Note: I did not say “perfectly” because even really good kids can misestimate danger or a bad situation). One of the most important tools to help our teens learn to manage for themselves is a simple one, conversation. But across the arc of adolescence, a radical shift is necessary in family conversation….parents need to speak less and teens need to speak more.

By the time our teens are 13 or 14, they know what WE think…what we need to know is, what do THEY think?

  • Have they absorbed the family’s values?
  • Are they able to spot trouble and formulate a plan to keep themselves safe ?
  • Are they able to weigh and discern possibilities?
  • Are they becoming more flexible so that if Plan A doesn’t work, they can shift to Plan B?

One dad I know who was working on his communication with his teen son coined a new term, “bottom-lining.” He would say, “I think I’m bottom-lining it too much for him,” by which he meant that he was coming to a conclusion and enforcing it on his son rather than encouraging his son to think things through for himself. Even when our kids get it wrong, we can remain helpful if we frame a failure for them (and for ourselves) as a learning experience. Questions like

  • What was the good/safe part of this plan?
  • When did that part go awry?
  • If you had it to do again, is there anything you’d do differently?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t know this time last week?

I’m fairly certain that we cannot raise our lovely swans in glass jars without great risk to them and to our relationships. A parent’s role is to help them to develop the ability to make safe and decent choices for themselves. As one sage put it,

Our job as parents is not so much to prepare the road for our kids but to prepare our kids for the road.

Kathleen M. Fischer, longtime Dallas resident and mother of three, is a registered nurse with a master’s degree. In a career spanning more than forty years, she has worked in public health settings; taught in public school and at the university level; and presented professional educational seminars. Kathleen continues to be a popular speaker in corporate, professional, church and community settings, often presenting topics from her books, Bringing Our Boys Through the Second Decade and Simple But NOT Easy – Regaining Balance In Our Family Life.
Listening is more than hearing … how well are you doing?