Years ago, there was a man on the committee which hired me in San Antonio. He had worked for the federal government since he returned home from military service in World War II. He was my Dad’s age, he had no kids, and my folks lived in Kansas City, so we became family of choice.
You’d have loved his warm smile and bright eyes flowing from his unselfish personality. You’d have respected how he climbed the ladder of GS ratings through devoted hard work. And, you’d have been heart broken when his kidneys failed.
We hear a lot of bad press about bureaucrats and federal employees pursuing and exercising power for selfish reasons. We need to hear more about people like my adoptive father. When he had to retire after 30 years of service, he had accrued a couple of years of vacation and sick time he had not used over his career. After he stopped working, he continued to receive the salary and benefits he had earned over the decades and made life a little easier on his wife during the treatment years.
I miss him.
I want to continue to work with and for people like him. His vocation was a federal employee, but his passion was this country. He served the nation to continue what was good and to solve bad problems. I want to serve such public servants. Your Blue Cross will pay for your services here.
If you need a counselor who is a preferred and experienced provider with your FEP insurance, no matter where you live (we can use Telehealth).
As Paul Harvey used to say, I’ll tell you the rest of the story: 509-466-6632.
Holly T. Meginniss, MSW, LSWAIC
I spend a lot of time working with families, particularly with teens and their families, on the need for teens to experience the natural consequences of their choices, good and bad, as well as taking responsibility for mistakes. I work hard to assure my families that I do empathize with them how difficult it is to see your child struggle. As I say, it is easy for me to say, but not always easily done.
But the truth is I have been exceptionally lucky to have two children who have been able to learn lessons with a minimum of traumatic consequences; my daughter is now an adult who works in a job of considerable responsibility, and recently married a wonderful young man whom she has dated for several years. My son is about to start his final year of high school, and is exceptionally bright. He has also learned a strong work ethic, and with the challenge of ADHD has understood the importance of taking his medication daily, and developed habits to manage his symptoms that allow him to be successful at all his endeavors.
Recently my son was given the opportunity to do some photography work at an event for kids; to be able to tell the story well, my son was part of the staff that stayed with the campers for the entire event. Near the end of the event my son realized that during the travelling around to different activities in the area he had lost an integral piece of equipment needed to complete one of the assignments, as it needed to be done for the final day of the camp. He contacted his sister, who was not sure how to handle the situation, and sought advice from me. Of course, this all happened late in the evening, and it was going to be about 2 hours of running around for myself and my daughter.
I became frustrated with my son, and expressed this on the phone. One of the dirty little secrets of my profession is that sometimes emotions get the better of us and we make mistakes with our own children. This did not help the situation, as my son was plenty hard on himself. As my daughter and I were harping and getting ready to make the trip, an unexpected voice of reason came forward—my son-in-law. He gently reminded us that he too struggles with ADHD, and has made mistakes in his job that he has had to solve; if it were him, his wife would have had him solve the problem.
I realized that he was right; as excruciating as it was, I called my son back and told him we were not coming. I gave him suggestions on how to calm down, and we formulated a strategy to let the other staff members know what was happening, and see if they could help him brainstorm ideas how to solve the problem. I also assured him that if worse came to worse, his brother-in-law would be there early in the morning as planned and would bring another computer. I went to bed knowing I did the right thing, but feeling like the meanest Mommy in the entire world.
When parenting children, it can be so hard to be the voice of reason, and to not save them from their mistakes. Yet if we want to be their first and best teachers, we have no choice. I often refer to this as “controlled failure”; when children have opportunities to struggle and problem solve when the consequences are not catastrophic to strengthen those “muscles”, they are able to take the reins when the problems arise on their own with confidence. It also gives children the opportunity to feel the success of problem solving, and the positive consequences of taking responsibility for making mistakes. In that we help our kids gain the most valuable gift of all, wisdom.
My son did practice problem solving, and not only did his project get rave reviews, he also got the piece of equipment back. He came home from the trip tired but satisfied with his work. He also said that he learned his lesson, and will make sure he can’t get stuck again in this situation.
I didn’t see “Fifty Shades of Gray” because I had clients who told me not to see it due to its subject matter. Also, I don’t really have 50 pairs of sunglasses. Those disclaimers aside, I do want to suggest to all black-or-white thinkers that there may be other options.
When I was a child, my older brother and I would watch westerns on our black and white TV. The good guys wore white hats and did good deeds. The bad guys wore black hats and did bad deeds. As we grew up the characters on the screen grew more complicated. For example, Bill Murray played characters in three movies doing bad deeds at the beginning, then changing into a good guy: Ghostbusters, Scrooged, and Groundhog’s Day.
Between good and bad, all or nothing, or black and white, there must be at least 50 shades of gray, as well as every color in the rainbow. I do not want to be wishy washy, however I do want to acknowledge that between right and wrong there be options. When the Pharisees confronted Jesus for breaking the Sabbath, which they would have labeled as a sin, He showed them there was another option for looking at his behavior (and at the choice of King David feeding people on the Sabbath).
Feeding the hungry seems good, but what if it’s done to call attention to yourself? Being selfish seems bad, but what if a conceited weatherman grows into a loving and lovable man (okay, most guys would change to get Andie MacDowell to love them!).
Freedom of speech seems good, but what if the nonverbal communication is rioting, looting, and harming others? Condemning a singer who wants to blow up the White House seems good, but what if she’s gone through something bad and wants something legitimate, even though she may have pursued it in illegitimate means?
Don’t be wishy washy or absolutely convinced it’s “my way or the highway” because there may be many shades of gray between perspectives. Be curious and fascinated, open to different ways of looking at things.
Expect a lot in the Spring?
One of my neighbors has been snowed in all winter and for a mobile business that is named Expect-A-Lot, I’m afraid that prospects may be learning not to expect a lot from them.
I wonder what my neighbors and prospects see me doing that is unwittingly eroding my credibility?
“If we could only see ourselves as others do . . . “