Showing posts from January, 2020

Whose shoes are you wearing?

I was having one of those weeks, and then I remembered something I learned long ago.

Morning recess was spent in the play shed—sheltering us from the relentless spring rains. As a first grader I was shy and overwhelmed by so many kids clustered under one roof. I hovered near the playground teacher as kind of a safety precaution.
But then I saw Caroline. She was across the expanse of asphalt and her eyes were wide with fright. Several boys were dancing around her, mimicking a native war dance.  I left the security of the teacher’s side—who didn’t seem to notice the dancing boys.
Caroline and I stood together watching the mean-spirited dancing. They we’re laughing and a boy grabbed my dress sash and tore it loose. 
Once back in class, we sat at our desks. Mrs. MacArthur, the sweetest teacher I’d probably ever have, spoke quietly. She asked us, “Whose shoes are you wearing?” Suddenly 25 pairs of eyes were looking at their feet. I examined my scruffy saddle shoes.
After a moment of noise of e…

The College Tour

I’d taken a week’s worth of high school homework on the cross country flight to Florida. I was visiting my college-professor aunt, but neither of us had time off—it was just one of her wild hair ideas and in her trademark fashion, she’d put it together at the last minute.
We spent our days at the University of Florida campus where she was near the end of the spring semester and was surrounded by several hundred student-athletes. 
Every football player was eventually one of her students—and some went on to pro careers, like Dallas Cowboy, Emmitt Smith. But I digress. 
My aunt was the popular professor who taught a range of interesting sports-themed classes that helped launch many a career in sports management, broadcasting, and promotion.
As a 16 year-old in a collegiate world, my eyes were open wide. I slid into her classes and listened to the lectures. I walked with the throngs of students between the modern buildings. I sat outside her office and listened as she counseled distraught stu…

The Rise of Digital Natives

She tried. She really had. But after turning fifty, job promotions never came her way. 
When she was younger, she had learned to adapt to the computerized changes, but as she got older, she was passed over by those who seemingly adapted more quickly. I know her and the many qualities she has that go beyond a computer screen. 
But at 56, she says she’s fortunate to have her career—as it is.
She’s dealing with the rise of Digital Natives—the generation of young people raised in the digital age. These digital experts have an edge in the job market, where savvy tech skills make people her age, as obsolete as an old computer’s operating system.
These Digital Natives are able to thrive in the rapid pace of change. They shrug off any challenge brought by adaptation to the latest upgrades. It’s what they know best.
According to AARP, people like my girlfriend are being edged out of tech careers. While many desire to work longer, they just don’t have what the Digital Natives have. True that. 
But w…

Welcome to Walmart!

It’s easy to imagine that the most valuable players in a business are the ones at the top. 
The Chief Executive Officers, the board presidents, the corporate financial wizards. They matter. But so do the business players at the bottom.
Indeed, it’s the employees beneath all the team leaders and supervisors that can make a business thrive.
Now, Don was one of those bottom dwellers—it was a retirement job to supplement his social security check. It didn’t require a fancy degree, only a willingness to be nice. Don was our local Walmart greeter. 
He was good with faces—and recognized his shoppers. He never failed to greet each person who walked through those automatic doors. 
Sure, there was his smile, but it was his willingness to share a bit about life with those who lingered for an extra moment or two. His joy was infectious, and I couldn’t help but smile right back.
I imagined that having only one arm to do all the shopping cart hauling, might have been an impediment, but not to Don. As he …

Open or Closed Doors

It was an odd project to do on the last day of the year—installing a new door. The old door had served its time and with rot along the bottom and barely able to close, it was retired from active duty.
I thought about that old door and how many days I’d opened it to begin my work day. It had sheltered me from the cold, the rain, and the snow. If it had ears, it would have heard thousands of phone calls as my husband and I worked side by side.
The new door is beautiful. It lets in more light and is resilient to the routine rains. I look forward to opening it each day of this new year. 
This isn’t the only door I can open. 

Will I open the door to my heart and love more fully? Will I close the door of my unfair expectations, and be more satisfied with the things I can't change? 
In a season of division in our nation, will I close the door of my negativity, and open the door of graciousness? Those doors are all there for me to open or close. 
The year is just getting started, and I’ve alrea…