Several years ago I sat in a room full of volunteers that were being trained to go into schools and work with children that were at risk of dropping out. One of our exercises was a simulation that was designed to help us better understand the day-to-day realities for their families.
- We were divided up into small groups.
- Each one of us was given a role to play.
- Then we were given a real life problem that needed to be solved.
- And a name of a place we needed to go to for help.
In the simulation I was the small child of a single mother that had no car.
- “My mother” needed food and a job and childcare.
The simulation was timed to help us understand everything that she needed to accomplish in one day – just to bring home food. (Let alone finding a job or daycare.)
Each time we got off the simulated bus, we walked into a facility and stood in a long line. To eventually be re-directed to another place for services that was across town with different operating hours and another long line.
My job was to simulate how a child begins to act as a few hours becomes a day without food, without a nap, without play.
Do you know any person or organization that is in the midst of their most significant struggle – ever?
Would it help you get through the struggle if you knew that it was necessary to unleash your greatest strength?
There is a pattern throughout history that fills me with so much hope that it almost makes me wish for a big struggle…
Last week was the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
I wasn’t alive yet on that day, but immediately my mind thinks of events that have filled my lifetime that bring shock and awe, experiences that are burnt into our consciousness so deeply that it only takes one of our senses to catch a glimpse or a wiff, or a sound and we are instantly transported back in time.
Days like September 11, 2001.
- Days that are impossible to understand and process.
- Days that remind us who we are and what we stand for.
- Days where strangers become friends and family.
- Days where we grieve and work together.
Days that interrupt the life we have always known and distinctly mark it as the past, leaving us no choice but to create an alternate reality.
Days that we are all reminded that we were created to be a part of a community.
When I think of the days where shock and awe bring us together, I also think of days where painful events alienate individuals from the community we need:
Days we live through these words and the emotions and realities that go with them:
- Mental Illness
And then I think of the people that have pushed through the loss, the confusion, and the pain. …People that grew wiser, and softer and stronger and turned the shock and awe into a defining moment.
One evening several summers ago, my husband and I (who don’t have children of our own) were at a playground with my six and seven-year-old niece and nephew. They took me to the highest part of a fort and told me that I was the princess, they were my guards, and that my husband was “the bad guy.” I was instructed to stay in the tower and they would protect me! In the moments that followed, my husband and I were transported back to a world we have nearly forgotten.
As I found myself savoring each second of that evening, I also found myself wondering why we don’t visit that world more often.
The entire experience made me think about the Disney Movie, Monsters, Inc., a movie about Monsters that power their world by capturing the energy in a child’s scream. Through a series of events they discover that a child’s laugh produces much more energy than a scream. …Ultimately transforming their entire world. Do you see the connection to the workplace?
Change is growth.
This week I realized that it has been 8 months since we agreed to turn an unwanted opportunity into an adventure. Today as I type this the last box has just been unpacked, the pictures are hung, and we’ve taken one quick spin around the compound on the Harley – celebrating that we are finally settled!
This weekend we shopped at one of the stores that we were in, on my first day here, causing me to reflect on that day:
- Shortly after 3 AM the anticipated call to prayer blared from a speaker.
- Once we were up we drove on roads that have lanes painted on them, however those lanes really don’t mean anything, as drivers simply drive wherever they want, whenever they want with no driving protocol or enforcement.
- As a woman – driving is not a wise option for me. (It’s not a law, but you can get arrested if you do it!)
- I was wearing my new black “cloak of invisibility.” (In case you wondered, it is effective – as my husband quickly discovered how difficult it was to identify his wife when everyone is wearing a cloaking device! Since that day we have wondered how small children learn to identify their mothers in a crowd and joked that perhaps I should add a huge Harley Davidson decal to the back of my “cloak” so he can spot me in a crowd!)