My wife, Amy, is a longtime teacher who returned home a few years ago from a “back to school” night with this story: As the evening ended, parents were invited to the hallway to ask teachers any specific questions about their child. A specialist educator was beside Amy, and Amy watched as about a dozen sets of parents approached her with one critical question: “What does our child need to do in kindergarten, first or second grade in order to be chosen for the gifted program that begins in third grade?”
Not one set of parents asked anything specific about their child’s current learning experience in the classroom or provided the teacher with insight about their child’s behavior at home. Not one set had additional questions about the curriculum presentation or teaching styles. Not one question dealt with their child’s present learning experience. All were focused on the future.
When I heard that story, I couldn’t help thinking that an opportunity was lost for those parents. This was their great opportunity to step back from the madness of the crowd, from expectations, from future aspirations, from labels such as “gifted,” and celebrate their child as he or she is—now.
My aunt has a quote from writer Anais Nin on her kitchen wall that I look at every time I’m at her house. It says, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
If we can understand and accept that we see the world through the lens of who we are and where we are, then it is even more important to step back to adjust our perspective of reality. My hope is that when we step back to examine our lives and our organizations, we allow ourselves space to live in, embrace and enjoy the present moment just as it is—now. There will be important work to be done in the future, but the present moment is our opportunity now.
So, a few things to ponder:
- Who needs to be celebrated and appreciated right now in your life and work?
- Who is in dire need of a courageous conversation and constructive feedback right now?
- Where can you find joy today?
- What actions can you lead today that will make a positive impact?
- What conversations would enhance your life and work today?
Tomorrow will come soon enough, but not until we experience the moment that is here right now.
Jason Barger is the globally celebrated author of Step Back from the Baggage Claim and ReMember, as well as a coveted keynote speaker and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com
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