Writing Workshop Wednesdays (28)

The other day I was talking with a friend, and we agreed we weren’t sure what we wanted to be when we grew up.  She has been a page, paralegal, marketing consultant at one of the most well-known golf courses in the country, and a dog walker.  I have been a page, pool guard, coach, and teacher.

If you could be anything, regardless of schooling or experience, what would you be when you grew up?

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Five Minute Friday: Welcome

Welcome.  I think I have had this discussion about feeling welcome over fifty times in the seven years I have known woman blessing Sarah, my co-leader to two Girl Scout troops (only one in which she has a daughter), my co-coach in soccer, my co-teacher at church, and my co-yogi.  In these endeavors, we always make it a priority to make the children as well as the parents feel welcome.  We send invites to events we are attending outside of our scheduled events which range from VBS to Zumba at the library.  We do this because in our conversations with one another we have discussed our experiences with the warm, nurturing feeling of being welcomed with open arms as well as the opposite, the loneliness which inevitably accompanies a feeling of being unwelcome.

We ended up at the church where we attend due to woman blessing Sherri who continued to welcome, invite, engage, and inquire whenever we saw her in the hallways during preschool pick-up.  She is one of those people whom you feel as if you have known forever upon meeting her on day one.  We finally succumbed to her advances and eventually ended up teaching Wednesday evening Bible studies to preschoolers under her direction.  Now that was a warm welcome which created results.

As a child, I changed schools four times in three years as the aftermath of my parents’ divorce.  As an eight-year-old, I can tell you how much a difference it made when I felt welcomed by students, teachers, and parents and when I did not.  I think of this always when I work with children of all ages as well as adults (who inevitably house an inner child).  Perhaps, they, too, once, twice, or several times have felt unwelcome.  Wouldn’t it be incredible to be that person who allows him/her to feel welcome for the first time?

This evening I plan to welcome my Daisies and Brownies to the Cookie Rally, and I definitely plan to welcome my two volunteer Cookie Queen Goddesses with open arms.  Whom do you plan to welcome today?

Use Your Words for the Better Good

The other day I was discussing with my longtime loyal friend the lack of filters people seem to have when they speak to others with no thought to feelings or lasting repercussions of their words.  Words, I believe, should be utilized to build people up, encourage them, and make a difference in a positive manner.  Thus, a FREE means of making a difference in the world in which all people are capable of participating. . . amazing.  So, why such a lack of membership in such a tangible fraternity?

In discussions with my class over the social media Yik Yak, they were explaining how the posts were anonymous and typically negative in nature.  My response was, “Sounds as if people have too much time on their hands,” and “This could be a phenomenal medium used to encourage and praise,” without any need for author recognition.  So, why do people, regardless of age, use their words to bully others?

Believe me, I have been a victim of verbal bullying on more than one occasion as simply a human being, but also as a volunteer leader, volunteer coach, and volunteer teacher.  While informally researching this post, I talked with my salt-of-the-earth friends who never hesitate when it comes to donating their time and talents for others.  One friend told of how she and her husband were accused by a parent of bullying their child during a summer softball season.  This is the same woman who drove 3 1/2 hours with two young girls and a newborn to surprise me on my birthday and then turn around and drive 3 1/2 hours back that same evening.  Another mentioned a complaint by a parent when she cancelled a preschool soccer practice due to rain, and she responded with a reminder, “These kids are not training for the Olympics.”  A further woman blessing whom mentored me my first year of coaching over fifteen years ago advised of closed practices as a means of eliminating parental harassment from the sidelines, and she was oh so right.  It is no wonder people look away when asked to volunteer.  Yet, one rarely sees those who complain or critique stepping forward to answer the need for volunteers.  Brian Gotta wrote a Letter from a Coach which eloquently explains this phenomena.

I have had parents suggest I plan field trips and then fail to show with their child.  I have had parents complain about their child’s playing time, but then arrive for the games with player in tow late, time and time again.

This longtime loyal friend of mine who sat for hours in the waiting room with my husband while doctors removed my breasts, who allowed me to trim her hair after school in her classroom, who demanded I participate despite a carbuncle growing on my eyelid, who has been my voice of reason for over fifteen years, who uses her words for the better good ended our conversation with, “Sometimes I see all the mean and negative ways people act and wonder how much society disappoints God.”