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Point to Ponder:
Enjoy the little things, for one day you look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault
Story Line: Recently I attended my grandson’s second birthday party. The young man seem to recognize that it was his special day and he was in high spirits. While I was sitting at the round table conversing with other adults, he came and pulled my hand to go with him. While holding my finger he took me to the living room sofa and asked me to sit down there and left. After few minutes I wondered why I was there and I got up and went back to the round table. Noticing I had shifted my position he came again and took me back to sofa. After few minutes, not finding any purpose, I returned to the round table.
The young man approached me again and held my hand to direct me for the next walk. So I asked “Why are you taking me to the living room. What are you going to show me?
At that moment his father who is a real cool guy said “Grandpa, He is enjoying holding your hand and walking with you to place you on the sofa. He is showing you to just relax and enjoy the feeling.”
The next time I reached the sofa, it seemed that the young man had captured my purpose driven life and need for tangible deliverables. He had his other grandpa in there and he asked me to sit down next to him. Then he pointed at each of us and said Grandpa, Grandpa.
Reflection: The best part of retirement for me is enjoying time with the grandchildren. There is so much that I am relearning from them and the most important is to live in the moment. Enjoy that precious time that is in front by getting totally immersed in it; it is slowly getting back in to me. Getting up early on Thursday mornings to watch the garbage trucks with the younger grandson and learning to dance with the guitar of the older one, without having to think of anything else, are feelings easier to enjoy than put in words.
Pictures by Luisa Go and Anand Shah from March/April 2016
Recent political and world climate reminded me of this FR from 2008.
Point to Ponder: Once upon a time I had a Boss with a nice style of keeping focus on the right things. Whenever he heard criticism that another department or a person needed improvement, he would gently remind us about the things in our department needing improvement. "You have to be mindful of.."
"The laundry is not very clean", she said to her husband. "The neighbor does not know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."
Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor hung her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
About a month later the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: "Look! She has learned to wash correctly, I wonder who taught her this?"
The husband said: I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows!
Reflection: How clean is your window?
And so it is with life: what we see watching others (peer groups, competitors, different cultures and nations) depends on the purity of the window through which we look.
Before we give criticism, it might be good idea to check our state of mind and ourselves if we are ready to see the good rather than to be looking for something in the person we are about to judge.
And oh yes! I almost forgot ...
I see you much cleaner than I did yesterday ... And you?
Point to Ponder:
“If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.” Thomas J Watson
Story Line: Throughout history significant changes in society have come about because some people saw great disparities, problems or opportunities to take mankind to the next level and did something about it. Advancements have happened in many areas: social (equality, diversity, fairness), religious, art, science, technology, environment and many others, with still more opportunities.
Initially there is a lot of resistance for change in most of such cases and the person or a group of people who identify, speak up and fight for the cause are criticized, labelled, punished, held back by all kinds of different means and in some cases killed. The System and the administrators of it try various excuses and means to stop the change, and the majority of people play it safe and continue to conform to the unjust, outdated and bankrupt systems. This is true for government, religion, education, technology, art and corporations as well as any other area where there is an organization.
But the world has continued to change for the better because of The People
It is important to understand that some people play a role in few of these three stages and some play role in all. The courage and contributions of each one of these people is admirable. Without them there would not have been progress and we would still be living in stone ages.
Friday Reflections has published stories of such people around the world and will continue to do so. To all the change agents who fought for what they believed in (to name a few): Erin Brokovich, Dr. Bennet Omalu, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Galileo, Deng Sio Ping, Mandela, Gandhi, The Traitorous Eight and all the others who refused to conform to: The System.
To all such individuals in any field and any country, whether widely known or not widely known: Thank You.
The world is a better place because of you.
Point to Ponder: “Dad, you seriously need therapy for Control and Fear (FMEA). The home is not a corporation. You need to learn to let go and enjoy the way things flow in life.” My children’s pleas to me during my first year in retirement. I guess the plea was indirectly on behalf of my wife too.
Recently, a retired friend from Oregon paid a visit to my place. Both of us being retired, and having some time on our hands, decided to make a quick day trip to Monterey. As we drove down the coast, we started talking about the first fifteen months of this new phase in our lives.
My friend had already been very active in his church during his career and retired early to engage more deeply in service. Seeing his commitment, the church members asked him to serve as a trustee and elected him as chairman of the board.
Even before assuming the position, he had noticed that the church could improve some of its systems and procedures. The resulting LEAN practices could bring better utilization of resources (Time, Money People, etc.) to serve the mission and agenda of the church.
My friend saw the need for a performance management system. Subsequently, he asked the pastor to set goals for the church for the coming year. He also made it clear that there would be periodic performance reviews. This left pastor wondering: Performance Management System in the place of worship and service? Who are we to judge? Let the Lord decide. Right?
Another thing he noticed that the time for the presentations and talks by members during various forums could vary enormously. So he proposed ‘The Crisp and Clear Communication’ system, something that he had learned during his time in the corporate world. Each presenter was to get 300 seconds (five minutes) to present their idea, proposal, and whatever else it was that they wanted to communicate.
During the inauguration of this new system, when the lead presenter got up to talk, my friend noticed that she had a big stack of papers (17 pages to be exact) in her hands. At the 300 seconds mark, the presenter had progressed to only an early part of the stack, so my friend had to intervene.
“Time is up,” he bellowed.
The audience was stunned. Prior to my friend’s arrival, it seems time was endless.
I could relate as my mother had told me a similar story from the senior center she attends. One high-tech donor had introduced a similar system in the community group and created a big uproar. The seniors felt insulted - interrupted by a youngster who did not understand the cultural norms and a show of proper respect.
Reflection: As my friend and I reached our intermediate stop of Mission San Juan Bautista I reflected on the first 43 miles of conversation. So many things that we learn during our working years can be very helpful in the real world, not to forget so many things we did not learn from the real world could have been more helpful in the corporate world. Knowing what to apply and when is the key to the peace of mind and happiness. The process of learning new things and unlearning some old practices has just begun. I will share my personal experiences and learnings in the future reflections.
In serenity of the mission courtyard I prayed for the success of my friend’s well-meaning efforts to bring more efficiency in his church.
Time is The Best Judge.