It’s a new year and I am raring to go! Like most of you I enjoyed the joy of the Holiday Season. The excitement and rush that comes with remembering why we celebrate, giving, sharing and singing the songs of old are simply divine. Celebrating with family and friends allowed me to see the growth and change that we all lived into in 2013.
A memorable moment for me was talking with my five year old grandson Myles as we made breakfast one morning. As I took out the ingredients to make pancakes he assisted. Myles carefully measured each of the items one at a time. As instructed he dumped them into the bowl. After working really hard to make sure he was doing it right he asked, “Why do you have to measure all this stuff Nana?” I replied. “Because we want it to taste good and come out looking like people should eat it.” As we continued the pancakes came out looking differently. Some of them were golden as if we had stopped at Perkins; others came out darker in color, wrinkled and not exactly round. We made enough for eight of us to have for breakfast.
“Well Nana”, Myles said, “Looks like there won’t be enough pancakes for everybody.” I asked why and he said, “They all look different. Some are round and brown and some of them don’t look like Perkins pancakes”. “You’re right” I said, “But they will all taste the same”. Myles replied, “Okay, they have to take whatever they get and like it”!
Reflecting back on that brief moment I think to myself what a lost opportunity. I could have added just like people we all look different but we are all made the same. On the other hand, Myles was on point. He had thought about the response we might get from those who were going to eat the pancakes because they were all different. Based on our conversation only a few of them were deemed to be just right. Actually only two or three had the size, shape and coloring of what we considered to look like the perfect pancake from Perkins.
As I think about how our world view is shaped by what we see, believe to be right and what is told to us I can’t help but think about my work. The visual images, language, beliefs and other things that come into our being show up as some fairly consistent predictable patterns. Now I ask myself, how can I not only show up in my conversations with others but listen for opportunities to learn and to share.
The predictable patterns that continue to be road blocks to my becoming a better human being will be a focus in 2014 so that I continue to grow and develop personally and professionally. I ask myself how did others that I deem to be leaders do “the dance” of listening, learning, sharing and continuing to move forward. I think of my father who sat on the porch each day in the dew of the morning watching the world wake up. When asked what are you doing. In an unassuming manner he would say, “I’m just sittin here lookin and listenin”. He did “the dance” every day, knowing when to speak and when to listen, when to sit still and when to move.
So in 2014 what can I do to challenge my worldview and the predictable patterns that I fall prey to? I truly want to respond differently to “the pancakes” in my life that don’t fit my “Perkins pancake” description. I know that this focus will help me in my growth and development. I want to better model leadership in the field of trauma and its historical context from which I come. It is from this personal space of authenticity I hope others will see me and ask questions.
To connect through our stories will build and cement relationships I have and those I desire. I want to have more meaningful conversations to unravel and dismantle the context I and others see so many people in…maybe I will learn some new steps in “the dance” of being fully human.