Happy Mother’s Day to Patricia Chambers (5YTL)

MomToday is Mother’s Day, and I usually pay homage to my mom.  It has now been over 13 years since my mom has passed, and on days like today, it can feel as recent as yesterday.

I was discussing with a close friend recently the truth in the thought that we all individually tend to deal differently with the loss of someone we love.  Family history, individual experience, and plenty of other contributing factors allow us each to process grief and incorporate loss differently.

One of the lessons I have learned from loss is that it is important to me to treasure the relationships I have with people who are still living.  That landscape is different for each of us as well.  I am fortunate that my life today is rich with people who are loving, kind, compassionate, forgiving, and love to laugh.  Given the occasion, I want to introduce you to my mother’s mother, my grandmother, Patricia Chambers.

I’ll start with a quick story as to why I call my grandmother Mom.  My grandparents lived in Memphis when I was growing up.  Each December, our young family would travel to Memphis to celebrate Christmas together.  On one such visit, this young boy was made jealous by my aunts and uncle (and Mommy), calling my grandmother Mom.  I climbed up into my grandmother’s lap and whispered into her ear “Can I call you Mom?”  Of course, as grandparents do, she said yes.  So ensued a lifetime of confusion with stories told that include characters named “Mother Mom, Dad, Grandfather Dad, and Grandmother Mom.”

My grandmother has always been accommodating like that.  She has always been a sounding board for me.  She taught me manners, etiquette, and correct grammar (much to the chagrin of many in my life).  She taught me the importance of privacy by respecting mine and teaching me the wisdom in respecting others’. She has taught me, through example, how to survive and persevere through loss.  She has taught me that it is possible to learn to laugh again after the tears have stopped.  She has taught me to respect and honor those who came before me.  She has taught me the absolute importance of family.  She has entrusted me with her heart and her truth.

Having lost my mother, three cherished sons, her husband, two brothers, her parents,and countless other friends and family, she accepts that she is alive today with many people to love that include her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  There’s nothing like the face of a great-grandmother when those kids are all hyped up on her arrival, competing for her attention.  It’s magical to watch, and it is certainly magical to her.

  • Mom is a remarkable woman.  
  • She is elegant.  
  • She is poised.  
  • She is wise.  
  • She is loving.  
  • She is sweet.  
  • She is funny.  
  • She is smart.
  • She is kind.  
  • She is proud.  
  • She is my grandmother.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you very much.  Tomorrow Begins Today.

Don’t Be A Jerk (5YTL)

We’ve all known these people.  

He or she is just too important to meet or talk with you.  If you do get the opportunity to actually meet or talk with him or her, they are condescending and possibly abusive.

Even worse, you might be one of these people.  Tsk…Tsk…  My best advice to you is that you keep reading and change immediately.

I like to advise folks that these are just people.  Sometimes we let fear from past experience cripple us from approaching people.  Just because someone has treated us poorly in the past doesn’t mean that they’re destined to do so in the future.  In fact, pushing through fear to treat someone as a person has served me well in many instances.  People like being treated as people, even as equals!

If you find that you’re up against an egoist, and it seems like they are completely unapproachable, there are a couple of things you can do to change the conversation and put yourself on more solid footing.  Let’s look at a couple of those now:

  • Imagine them at their own birthday party.
  • Imagine how they feel about their greatest insecurities.
  • Imagine how you can help them grow through and beyond their greatest weaknesses.

We all have kernels of fear and insecurity that cause us to behave defensively. Sometimes, we put up walls in our insecurity that make us less approachable.  Sometimes, we’re inundated with people looking to take from us and failing to bring value to us.  If you were constantly barraged by people who only wanted to take from you, you might also build up a resistance and skepticism to newcomers.

The truth is that we are all people, and we cannot help but bring our full experience to our daily interactions.  Remembering that we are all just people can go a long way toward allowing us to connect in meaningful ways with each other.

Don’t let fear derail your success.  If you can recognize the humanity in the people you’re dealing with, you can leverage that humanity into a meaningful relationship.  When we’re working with people inside meaningful relationships, we can accomplish great things together.

So, don’t be afraid.  Make the call.  Introduce yourself.  Extend your hand.  Say hello.  We’re all just people.  In truth, we all just want to be treated like people.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we were more interested in each other as people and less about what we could get from each other?  

I’ve heard it said that people do business with people.  Let’s prove it.  Tomorrow Begins Today.