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Posts Tagged ‘Thinking’

At what point do we, as parents, begin to imprint our personal beliefs on our children? Arguably from the time we bring them home from the hospital; after all, we are teaching them about our values and beliefs simply as a matter of course in how we live life each day.

The question is, when do we become aware that’s what we are doing and decide to be intentional about it? I’ve had this discussion with myself, and my husband, on numerous occasions over the past several years, and most recently 30 minutes ago…on the topic of selling popcorn!

Our son is 7 and is a Wolf in his local Cub Scout Troop (or is it a den or a pack? Frankly, all those distinctions elude me, but I digress…). The biggest fundraiser for his group is selling tins of popcorn, caramel corn, and chocolate coated popcorn. Some members of his troop will sell by going door-to-door in their neighborhoods, after services at their church, by setting up tables outside local merchants to catch shoppers on their way in and out, and, presumably, some of their parents will even sell for them at their places of employment (I’m not sure this actually helps the child grow in any way, even though it does raise more money).

To motivate the kids, there is a listing of the incentives one might obtain by selling at a certain level. The more you sell, the cooler item you can receive. For example, if you sell $550 worth of popcorn, you can have a Lego Fire Truck (this is what my son has his eye on!), but the levels gone on up into the thousands of dollars sold.

In full candor, I cringed knowing this day would come. I understand the growth opportunity for the kids and the need to raise funds for the Troop. I am not a fan, however, of what the items are that are chosen to sell (usually cookies, cookie dough, very expensive wrapping paper, tins of popcorn) as they are often not anything we will eat or use or send as a gift. I’m not a fan of going door-to-door to sell, either (and have been shocked when young kids ring our bell and I see no parent in site, accompanying them). In fact, I would prefer to simply write a donation check and skip the sales process altogether! But, that wouldn’t allow the kids to experience the process and learn the lessons that come with it. I also recognize my thinking about and reaction to this “opportunity / activity” is not how everyone else looks at it.

My husband explained to our son how it works, and he’s excited. He says he wants to visit our neighbors, dressed in his Scout uniform, and sell them popcorn. Of course, it’s about earning that Lego Fire Truck! And no one has dampened his enthusiasm, yet. So, I’m working on restraint. I’m working on not coloring my son’s experience with my personal thoughts, feelings, or beliefs about this activity and process. It’s actually kind of fun to see his un-jaded enthusiasm for it, even if it’s one of the last things I would want to do.

Thinking this through has left me wondering about how we unwittingly impose our beliefs on those around us and change the way they view the world. Sometimes, those beliefs we instill in them are based on untruths and don’t serve them well later in life. Sometimes, they may bump into enough barriers because of those beliefs that they are forced to unlearn some things in order to achieve their goals and realize their potential. I don’t think we do this to the people around us intentionally, but it happens nonetheless.

All the more reason for becoming as self-aware as possible, so we can be more intentional about what we say, how we behave, and what we expose others to.

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I started drinking coffee in high school. It was the thing to do, right? After all, my parents started every morning with a fresh pot, and it always smelled so good. Even today, I love the aroma of good coffee beans or coffee brewing. However, my coffee drinking habit changed dramatically a couple of years ago.

Well, it changed the first time about 8-½ years ago, when my husband and I decided to start a family; I switched to decaf at that point, and have not switched back. But I digress…about two years ago, I was still drinking my two cups of decaf every morning; one while getting ready to leave for work, and one in the car on my 45-minute commute. It was a strongly ingrained habit, part of my daily ritual, prepared for and completed each day fully on auto-pilot (without any thought given to this practice…oooof!).

One day, however, it all changed, and I don’t know what the catalyst was, exactly, unless it was related to my deepening thoughts around how I was wasting my life energy, time, and talent in a dead-end corporate job where I was in the wrong role and my true talents (growing people) were not appreciated nor desired. Those thoughts led me to thinking more about everything involved in that job — including the daily commute of 45 minutes each way — and what changes I needed to make in my life. After all, it’s not a dress rehearsal; this is the only one I get and I am determined to make the most of it!

In that process, I actually tasted my coffee one morning. Yes, actually was conscious, attuned to, and thinking about what my coffee tasted like and I realized it didn’t taste like anything! At least nothing yummy, anymore (I had cut out the sweetened, flavored, non-dairy creamers for other reasons…and was just down to coffee with skim…blick!). I thought, perhaps, I’d just made a bad pot (not particularly specific about the amount of beans I would grind each time). So, the next day, I considered the flavor, again. Still “blick!” And I decided there was no reason to keep drinking it. I cleaned out my coffee maker, stored it in a cupboard, and that’s been that.

However, I do still enjoy a caramel latte on occasion. And in the last month, I’ve had occasion to order one in a coffee shop where I was actually at a table, rather than on my way out the door. On both occasions, I received my latte very pleasantly presented in one of those short, wide, over-sized coffee “bowls” coffee shops are want to use, and my immediate reaction was irritation! That’s right, I was not delighted, but irritated!

Skilled barista’s are particularly talented in all things coffee, and one of those skills is filling those “bowls” right to the rim. Nice to not get shorted on a high-priced beverage, but maddeningly impossible to move it without spilling some of that precious liquid, leaving a sticky mess. It also requires one to actually stay in one place, carefully sipping (at least at first) one’s drink. I had forgotten to request a “to-go” cup; my fault.

The result? I was forced to pay attention to my latte and how I drank it. I sipped it slowly and carefully, so as not to spill. I took the time to drink it at a leisurely pace, actually tasting all the flavors. I watched people in the coffee shop around me. I breathed. I relaxed. I savored the moment and the latte…and when I did allow myself the time to do that, rather than hurrying on to whatever was next on my to-do list, I was intensely grateful for the oversized coffee “bowl” with liquid to the brim. It reminded me I’m not in a race, and busy doesn’t equal productive, nor does it equal time spent on things that truly matter.

My questions to you, faithful reader, are these:

What part of your life are you not “tasting,” not fully experiencing?

What habits do you  practice on auto-pilot and how are they serving you (or not)?

What are you missing because you don’t take the time to savor the moment?

I would love to hear from you…use the comments box below and let me know what you come up with.

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