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Relating to Your Children

Snape’s Memory

I was rereading Harry Potter: the Order of the Phoenix recently when a scene made an impression on me in a way that it hadn’t before. It was the scene where Harry was able to see Snape’s memories of getting humiliated by Harry’s father and god-father when they were fifteen year olds in school. In the story the scene impacted Harry profoundly. It made him question his unwavering faith in the goodness of his idols and better understand Snape’s experience.

This reached me in a new way because I’ve become a father of my own little boy since the last time that I read the book. I thought about what Sebastian might see if he could view my life as a fifteen year old in school. What if the scene was of my worst moment from the viewpoint of someone who had reason to hate me? That’s an ugly little thought isn’t it? The problems surrounding me as a teenager were as numerous as the stars in the sky on a country night. I can scarcely remember a moment that I could point to and use an example of the life I want him to experience.

Frankly, it didn’t get much better over time. Littered throughout the first 25 years of my life are situations and examples that I don’t want my son to have to deal with. It’s interesting how far removed Sebastian will be from that. He was born when I was 36, 11 years after I started making significant strides towards maturity. The confident and capable person that he will experience as I raise him shares very little in common with the person I was before growing up.

That’s what got me thinking. I know I’m not the only one with a past that I’m not proud of that is working towards much better future. But how does that impact our kids? Most of us don’t want to talk much about our embarrassing pasts, least of all to the child that we want looking up to us as they grow older. But maybe that’s just what they need. I feel that quite a lot of the angst and anger that seems to come naturally from the teenage years has its roots in feeling misunderstood and frustrated. How much more meaningful would our advice be if our kids understood where we are really coming from. If they see that we have actually walked down these paths before and have meaningful advice for them based on experience. It’s very difficult for a teen to receive that advice from a boring old parent who doesn’t know what it’s like to go through the things that they are going through. I wager that it’s much easier for them to receive if its coming from a parent who can show that they empathize based on experience.

As I work on being the father that I want to be I hope that this lesson stays with me. There will come a point when he’s 15 and I’m 51 and he will be engaging in behavior that I dislike. I hope that I can still relate to my past and relay my experiences at that point into a meaningful tapestry of experience that he can relate to even if he doesn’t agree with what I’m saying.


Am I Shy?

I’m going to start this out with a request. I would like for anyone who reads this post to comment at the bottom of the page. I would really love to start a 2 (or 3 or 5) way conversation on this topic. Even people who don’t know me personally should be able to respond to this based on the information I provide in the article. This is one of those unusual times when I look into myself and just don’t understand what exactly is going on. So, give me a helping hand and post a comment, tell me what you think, ask clarifying questions, talk it out with me. I appreciate it.

Am I shy? It seems like an odd question to ask doesn’t it. It feels like most people could tell you immediately whether or not they qualified as shy. It will probably surprise you to find out that I’m one of the people who would give themselves that label. When I tell people that I’m shy they always look at me like I’m crazy. I’ve had more than one person actually tell me that I’m crazy and that I’m way too much of an extrovert to be shy. At other times I’ve been compared to a politician for my gregariousness and the lengths I go to in order to win people over. Read the rest of this entry

Your Guide to Avoiding Displacement

Displacements are an ugly fact of life in the world of big business. Sometimes they occur because the company has become more efficient or automated a process and rendered some jobs unnecessary. Sometimes it happens because organizations are realigned and redundancy is identified and eliminated. Sometimes it happens simply because the company needs to spend less money to improve their bottom line.

These situations can be unfortunate. Sometimes very good people are caught up in the backdraft and don’t have a chance to save themselves. In many, if not most, cases the people being displaced would have held down their job for years performing at an average level. These are typically not people who would ever be fired; they aren’t bad enough for that.

As a result, this is a very touchy subject. When someone is displaced they do not want to believe that it’s anything they could have prevented. It feels better to believe that they just got caught up in a numbers game. We disagree with that way of thinking here at Bootstraps. Here we believe in growth, we believe in self-development. It’s a harder road, but it is the road to success and the road to fulfillment. The path down this road starts with a simple decision. It’s the decision to take personal responsibility, to be accountable. That means that we look at the good and the bad in life and try to see what we can learn from it. What could we have done differently? What could we have done better that would have led to a different outcome?

The truth is that you have a significant amount of control over whether or not you are displaced. Keep reading and you’ll find 3 things that you can do immediately to increase your chances to staying employed. Before we get there, you may wonder why I believe that we have more control than we think. Read the rest of this entry

Teamwork: Tearing Down the Walls

I had the awesome opportunity to give a presentation on teamwork to one of my customer groups this week. I was absolutely thrilled. It gave me the chance to share the type of material that I’ve been writing about with a live audience for the first time. The speech was 20 minutes long and I’ve cut it into 3 parts for easy viewing. I’m very proud of this one, hope you enjoy. Read the rest of this entry

Strengthsfinder and Diversity

I participated in a short seminar at church last weekend to go discuss Strengthsfinder 2.0 results. There were about 25 people in the group from a broad cross-section of sexes, races and nationalities. I learned some neat things about myself that I will share. But even more interestingly, I feel like I learned something real and tangible about the value of diversity.

Let me start by telling you more about Strengthsfinder. The book, Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath was assigned as part of a program that I’m participating in at church. I figured I’d be reading another book cover to cover, but it turns out that this works a little differently. The book (and e-book) come with an access code to take a test online. After you take the test you’ll have access to your results in a pretty lengthy PDF. As part of the results packet you receive your top 5 themes. Read the rest of this entry

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