We live all year for these moments – these special Christmas moments. Whether in the hearts of children looking forward to Christmas plays, cookies, and visits from Santa to load the tree and stockings. Or whether in the hearts of compassionate adults looking forward to time with family and friends, special songs, and thoughtful giving to those who are less fortunate. These longings, traditions, and special celebrations are what we measure a year by sometimes. The waiting makes them both fleeting and precious. Sharing a smile and a surprise is the fun part. We spend time in labors of love by baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and random acts of kindness.
All this joy, and yet it is not enough.
Because Christmas, while it is celebrated in these and many other ways, is not complete until we reflect on the TRUTH. Take a moment or two as you hustle and bustle about your day to remember why we even have this holiday at all. That tiny baby, born so long ago with one purpose – to redeem and save the souls of mankind. With reverence for the season, I share with you 2 great songs – from a parent’s perspective.
With all you are and with all you do and believe, I pray that you be blessed. Merry Christmas!
Today is the next level shift to my paradigm on age and time. I remember when I realized that the new hires in my company were born the year that I started my career. That realization shifted my universe way more than any milestone birthday for me. I could see the big 3-0 coming. I could see 40 coming. I never saw “those” newbies coming and it shook me up a bit.
But today is the next level. We have an intern coming to work who will be reporting to me. And she’s the same age as my youngest child. Can it really be? In essence I am now the manager of my daughter! YIKES! I did not give permission for this to happen. I am not ready for this. I feel like I should be her friend, not her mother-aged manager! Where has my youth gone? Father time is a thief and I am not pleased. Another shift. Another mental “aging”. I sure better retire before I’m grandma-aged. Oh, the horrors just thinking about it!
Good thing my daughter told me that I’m a “cool mom”. Maybe I have a shot at being a “cool” manager. I can only hope. I think this is a good occasion to delve into some ice cream!
We have an exercise we use at work called “The Valuing Exercise”. It’s simple, but quite effective. It is a good tool for managers when they want to recognize and reward employees in ways that the person will feel valued. It consists of a pretty comprehensive list of potential ways people tend to want recognition. The employee indicates their top 3 and bottom 3 preferences. The range of options vary from monetary rewards to public recognition to exposure of the work to leadership and everything in between. People new to managing others are sometimes surprised by responses because, as always with humans, people get in the habit of giving praise or recognition in the way they want to receive it. When they find out their “tried and true” methods are on the bottom 3 preferences for some people, it throws them off. And, if they continue to do so, it can backfire and be demotivating for their people.
One of the reasons I like the exercise is that it is a business tool that teaches managers how to relate to people in work-related forms of their “love language”. That phrase comes from the book the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s a great book – actually one of the best relationship books I have ever read. There are now additional versions of the book for many types of relationships like kids, teens, and at work, etc.
As a certified Myers-Briggs facilitator, I appreciate that this concept allows for the expression of various personality types. I must admit, if I had known about and read this book when I was married it would have made a difference in that relationship. If the relationship had been salvageable, it would have made all the difference. I say that because I now recognize the signs that indicate we were decidedly NOT speaking each others love languages, even when we were trying to be loving. I’ve tried to learn and practice with my children, my family, and my friends. I have seen a difference and a strengthening in relationships in my own life because I decided to become fluent in other people’s love languages, and not just in my own. I’m not always perfect, but I am in a different world because of it.
Do you know your love languages? Do you know the love languages of the important people in your life? Do you practice the art of using them? I highly encourage you to put this book on the tippy top of your reading list if you haven’t already.