Timing may not be everything, but it’s SOME thing. If I had paid attention to timing…oh, if I could take back the advice I gave to a boss, my wife, or a child of mine at moments when they were incapable of hearing it as positive…If I had only have taken the risk to disclose something when there was a moment of unique trust and shared vulnerability…If I could have said what I was thinking when the topic was ripe and not at the following meeting when the water had flowed miles beneath the bridge…
Most times those moments are highly individual and unique. But occasionally the timing is broadly shared. The moment is cultural and not just personal. Like, um, right now. People are seeking to give and get something nicer at this moment, something more human. For example, I was caught by surprise last week when my very new assistant gave me a beautiful Cross pen set…and gave me the gift of saying that she enjoyed working with me. The season hands us the wrapping paper to give the thanks and appreciation we should be giving all the time.
Back in the day, you might give your teacher one of those great snow globes; or maybe an ornament or a candle, maybe some cookies to recognize and thank her…or the mailman…the milkman…your secretary. Today we seem to have less time for these little things, but on the other hand we do have these remarkable e-tools – emails, Facebook pages, etc. Mid-December’s a marvelous time to let people know that you have a pretty “wonderful life,” and they may be vitally important to making it so.
From a leadership standpoint – whether you’re leading up, down or across – it’s especially important to celebrate the accomplishments, contributions and values that matter in the worlds that you care about. Give thanks and celebration to your children, staff, boss, students or teachers especially for those things that make a difference and make things better.
And if this last bit of advice sounds too instrumental, utilitarian, or manipulative, well then, it never hurts to just share the love, as you
Lead with your best self!
P.S. Reading for Leading takes a brief hiatus for Christmas and New Year. I’ll be thinking about making 2012 my best ever year. Expect a message on goals, when we return the first week of January!
Christmas Love Story
Divine Law can neither be ignored nor put aside. Perhaps, the most important of these laws is the ‘law of love.’ Put simply, “Love is Law, Law is Love.” This amounts to the same thing as “the gift of giving” without the “hope of reward or pay,” or serving others.
Here is an interesting story, Christmas Love by Candy Chand, that speaks to the Law of Love:
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations — extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six-year-old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment — songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row-center stage — held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.”
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down — totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W.” The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W.” Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: “C H R I S T W A S L O V E” _______________________________________________________________________
Candy Chand is the author of, Gift of Grace, available at bookstores nationwide and by clicking on this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931412200/heart/ref=nosim
The Law of Love (www.LawofLove.com) flows through all religions.
Thank you, Dan, for this timely reminder. That our appreciation for someone can be the “wrapping around the gift” – a great metaphor! And I thank you, for the many thoughts this past year that have helped me to Lead with my Best Self!