Sunday, June 24, 2018
In a recent column, I mentioned my admiration for women. Not just my wife, mother, grand-daughters, other female relatives, and friends, but all women. Not everyone feels this way. Yes, unlike the difference between being alive and the alternative to that state, cheerleading for women isn't a slam dunk. It can get complicated. I did not say women are, like men, simple souls. It seems prudent to admit up-front that along with being irreplaceable in society they are also very complex. If you are challenged in your thinking about women, I suggest taking a new look at that sex with a positive eye. Concentrate on their uniqueness. One way to do that, it seems, is to identify the qualities in specific women who move easily among groups of men, groups of women, groups of men and women.
It's easier if you pick one. We have in mind our friend, Barbara. What is it that she possesses that makes her so effective in business and social settings? Sounds corny I guess, but making a list of her positive qualities worked for us. You may have another approach, if so, that's your choice. My wife and I started out by jotting down Barbara’s strengths: There are the obvious ones - she is an attractive, hard-working woman, supportive of her colleagues, consistently reliable, a great communicator of information, an even better listener. She's compassionate and genuinely interested in other people (all kinds of people, from executives to doormen.) From early on she decided she wanted to help men and women get where they want to go in this life. Her professional career was designed to do just that.
Barbara always keeps the focus on others, never allowing the spotlight to linger on herself. Perhaps this is a holdover from her days as a young teacher where it's quite true that “they don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
People know Barbara cares because she does. It shows.
Monday, June 4, 2018
My late (and I'll add “great”) mother-in-law used to rebel against the very thought of being placed in an assisted living facility/nursing home. “I don't want to be around all those old people!” thundered our 90-year-old woman. Her daughter (my beloved wife) and I lived through a never-ending twilight zone caught between tears and fury. We used to think we were the only twosome in America suffering this pain of dealing with men and women playing in the end game.
These days we are in Act Two of this long-running human drama. The big difference this time round is that the 90-year rebel is ME. Time certainly does fly, and with it the living we used to do with little or no effort. Only yesterday were we gliding through life smiling and nodding our heads at occasional oldsters with canes or walkers. Truly, it is something else to BE one of the shufflers in the parade of ancients. It is another world altogether. We now wait endless hours in doctors' offices full of senior-seniors. “Pain management” has become big business and the product is old people like me. On top of all the endless waitings, evaluations and examinations comes a brand new test for us – a challenge to appear as normal as possible in order to avoid “one of the nursing homes filled with those old people.” Not easy.
Let me place two thoughts before you, dear reader: First, you are not the only one to be challenged by having older people to help. Two, before you know it, the old person needing assistance, understanding, and encouragement will be you.