Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker

All posts in March, 2018

It was a dimly lit restaurant. Still she was dressed in pink, and while I admit it’s hard to tell the gender of babies, clothing color is a reliable clue. So, it surprised me when the waitress began playing with my granddaughter, asking “How old is he?”

Twenty minutes later, that same waitress served our dinners into my daughter-in-law’s lap, spilling the contents of her tray as she approached the table. We made light of the occurrence, assisting her with basic cleanup, but the interaction got me thinking.

In today’s world, too many people are “at work” but not “present.” Preoccupied. Disengaged. Daydreaming. Bored. Text Messaging. Socializing. Whatever. Their bodies are somewhere their mind isn’t. They’re easy to spot as they go about their tasks in a robotic dance of just enough-to-get-by-ness.

These disengaged people seem unaware their present actions carve their future opportunities. They’re surprised when (continue reading →)

Tips, Winning at Working 

In my local paper there’s a column of reader comments. People leave input, “no more than 30 seconds” on a call-in line. Each day a few of these short statements comprise the section. While occasionally there’s a thank you for a random act of kindness or a plea to include grateful messages, most are in the against-it camp, even suggesting, at times, those who disagree should “move to another planet.”

Like a toxic vine, being against-it, whatever “it” is, seems to be burrowing deep into our cultural mindset, modeled with fervor of late in the political arena. What one party is for, the other is against. Even before an idea makes it to twitter or the blogosphere, opposing party pundits and representatives rail against whatever approach the other side might be considering.

But before finger-pointing and smugness gets the better of us, consider that the against-it road is alive in most workplaces, communities, organizations, schools, and homes. The labels are different: it’s the boss or the staff, the parents or the teachers, the rich or the not-rich, the corporations or the “real” people, the women or the men, the baby-boomers or the millennials.

Being against something is so much easier; even easier still when all you have to do is retweet or “like” a post. No thinking required. When we follow the against-it path, we don’t have to be (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Life 

In December 1776 eighteenth century philosopher and author, Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls … ” from the 1st volume begins, The American Crisis. Paine would go on to write a collection of pamphlets during the American Revolutionary War. Common Sense probably being his most famous Paine, like many other politicians and scholars, knew the colonists weren’t going to support the war without proper reason to do so. The purpose of the pamphlets was to stir and inspire the colonists. And, written in a language the common person could understand.

Fast forward to February 2018, Paine’s words have come and gone in my mind and come again and gone, more than a few times – the day of the Parkland Florida school shooting, subsequent days after as more personal stories were shared and most recently – when my daughter Sarah called to tell me about her day. Her middle school went to code yellow (bomb threat) that morning. She told me of the emotional conversations she had with her colleagues, parents and mostly with her 6th grade students during the day. I listened … she talked. At the end she said, “I don’t know Mom, why we all can’t be better? We need to be better.” It is a good question. Why, can’t we be better?

Later that night, I sent her this message – “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”* – I hope you will try again tomorrow. And, I will too. Love ya, Mom.

I am no Thomas Paine. I’d love to hear what you are telling your children to stir and inspire them in these times.

Until next time take good care and be safe out there.

beth

*from author and artist Mary Anne Radmacher

 

Hitting Your Stride, Life