A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. William Arthur Ward
Happy Holidays! Finally sitting down to blog at work on December 22. Missing wishing those who celebrate Hanukkah a very happy and joyous one because of my vacation! I hope the season of light was beautiful for you. For those about to celebrate Christmas, may it be merry and bright!
I had the privilege recently of attending a Wise Women luncheon. My own faith community was celebrating the Near 90 women. Each had their own spur of the moment wisdom after sharing a few stories. The stories were amazing and I wish it had been recorded. I did manage to capture the brief wisdoms, as I’ll call them. They were:
- Mildred Buck shared to remember to accept others.
- Donna Stuart shared that we all need spiritual nutrition.
- Sheila Hungerford shared to be slow to judge.
- Joyce Seebart shared to pay attention to what you’re doing now because it’s going to matter at the end of your life.
- Barbara Fitch shared to never stop learning.
Each of these women shared such simple, beautiful lessons that just rolled off their tongues so easily. Imagine if we could remember them as easily.
I just finished reading an on the 12 guiding principles of what it means to genuinely work in community. We all have rules. I even have my own rules for living. I’ve shared them in speeches. Maybe I’ll share them at the end of this rambling blog. Back to the 12 guiding principles. Here they are:
- Include those who live there, those who work there, and those who deliver or support services provided there.
- Spend time understanding differences in context, goals and power.
- Appreciate the arc of local history as part of the story of a place.
- Elicit, value, and respond to what matters to community residents.
- Facilitate and support the sharing of power including building the capacity to use it and acknowledging existing imbalances.
- Operate at four levels at the same time: individual, community, institutional, and policy.
- Accept that this is long-term, iterative work.
- Embrace uncertainty, tension and missteps as sources of success.
- Measure what matters, including the process and experience of the work.
- Build a vehicle buffered from the constraints of existing systems and able to respond to what happens as it happens.
- Build a team capable of working in a collaborative, iterative way, including being able to navigate the tensions inherent in this work.
- Pursue sustainability creatively; it is as much about narrative, process and relationships as it is about resources.
These are great principles. I always add know what you can do and what you can’t do at the outset. It helps.
I hope to write again this year but I could get distracted and excited about year end next week. So, in case I forget I’ll share my rules for living as I go. They’re mine. What are yours?
- Know what I’m passionate about and know passion is just an emotion.
- Know my purpose – why am I here.
- Know what I bring – my special skills.
- Come as I am—especially not good at being anyone else
- Know the difference between my values and my beliefs—because I can be too sure of myself
- Have fun
- Remember who I’m talking to — the optimist sees the glass half full, the pessimist half empty, the rationalist sees the glass twice as big as it should be.
- Forget the 30,000 foot level. What can you see from there really? The Lakota believe you should look at things from 2,000 feet where you can see the curvature of the earth and the mouse, an eagle’s eye view. I want that one.
At our last board meeting, Helen Funk was sharing a deeply personal story that resulted in her learning it’s okay to #embracetheawkward. Reach out someone in need. How can you know? It’s okay to smile at people. It is the universal language. We don’t know what burden they are carrying and a smile can lighten the load. Be well, cheerio,