Posted in about me, ebb & flow, thoughtfulness

Remembrance photography

I was invited to consider volunteering to do remembrance photography.

(Invited as part of a photography group. Not personally invited.)

I clicked through to see if it was what I thought it was.

It was.

Volunteer photographers do photo sessions with parents and their deceased infants. The example photos shown were very much like typical infant shoots — cute poses, big bows on girls’ heads, close ups of holding hands, etc.

I don’t think I could do that.

I take pictures of a lot of things, but I don’t think I could arrange a dead baby in a cute pose for a photo.

I don’t think I could keep myself together working with parents whose hearts are shattered into a million pieces.

I am barely holding it together just writing about it.

Maybe, by the time I’m a skilled enough photographer to consider that sort of assignment, I’ll have whatever internal stuff it takes to be able to handle the emotional side.

Until then, hats off to you, people who do that work.

Posted in about me, differences, ebb & flow, meandering

The silly helpfulness of fortune cookies

The best fortune I ever got out of a cookie was over 30 years ago, and while I didn’t keep it, I remember it.

“Today is a good day to go moose hunting with a belly dancer.”

I haven’t received any that were nearly as entertaining in the intervening decades, though some came close when we added the requisite “in bed” at the end.

My brain seems to see things a little bit differently than many people. (I’m pretty sure this was part of my demise in marketing/advertising.) Besides my own experience (which, admittedly, is tainted with self-consciousness), over time, I’ve had a small steady stream of people, usually friends, mention it.

Typically, it’s labeled unique.

Sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse—like anything, really.

Anyway, most of the time, this isn’t on my radar at all. I go through life thinking what I’m thinking and seeing things as I see them, just like anyone else.

But sometimes, I feel unheard, or misunderstood, or dismissed. I feel significantly different.

Enter fortune cookies.

The photo is a small section of the cork board by my desk at home.

The top two fortunes (“Your observations are useful to others” and “Your candid approach is refreshing”) are helpful on days when I’m not feeling particularly useful or refreshing.

I don’t just see them and automatically change gears, but it is a reminder to step out of the present moment and find times when these things were true. Or that my observations are useful, they’re just not being used.

And the bottom one? “Your efforts will result in much profit.” Might as well go with it. Profit can mean a lot of things, and I’m happy to take tangible or intangible rewards.

So yeah. Even though fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco, they’re still sometimes fun and sometimes useful.

Posted in ebb & flow, education, follow-up, mental health, mindset, parenting, vulnerability

Follow up to ‘Take what you need’

(If you missed the original post/project details, you can find it here.)

Kids have been off and on with the sticky notes. I have needed to replenish them a time or two, but most seem to have chosen a couple, stuck them in their music binder, and not messed with them again.

Earlier this week, one of my classes was playing a (very short, very repetitive) song from memory during the school assembly. The lead photo was taken in the hallway on the way to the cafeteria.

I’m considering putting something like this up at home.

 

Posted in connections, know better do better, marriage, mindset, parenting, podcasts, thoughtfulness, tips, vulnerability

Apologies

Apologies.

We tend not to be good at them.

We tend to force children to mutter them insincerely.

We get in the habit of muttering them insincerely, if we mutter them at all.

The first place I heard an excellent, clear explanation of what an apology should be was in Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Melon. (To be clear: I wasn’t there; I saw it online.) It was given and recorded in 2008 and the linked video has almost 20 million views. But the one I saw was a reprise on Oprah. It’s much shorter; you can watch it here. (It has a lot of good stuff in it.)

He says (starting at 7:40 in the shorter clip) that a proper apology has three parts:

  1. I’m sorry.
  2. It was my fault.
  3. How do I make it right?

A long time later, I heard an episode of Radiolab that was all about apologies. Legal, religious, secular. The history of apologies. It was fascinating and infuriating and frustrating and well worth the hour. (There’s about 5 minutes of business at the front end that might not interest you.)

But what prompted me to put this out to you today was this article from the Harvard Business Review that a friend texted to me the other day.

Like Pausch’s lecture, it includes three components of a good apology. The three pieces are a little bit different:

  1. Admit you were wrong and you’re sorry.
  2. Show them you understand the effect it had on them. (This would be amazing as a receiver.)
  3. Tell them what you’re going to do differently in the future so it doesn’t happen again.

But what really made this article impactful was the story it told prior to getting into the general “this is how you do it” part. (As per yesterday, it’s always the story we connect with…)

In the end, with mediation, someone at work apologized to someone else at work for being a jerk, and the man being apologized to broke down and cried. Because he had never been apologized to. For anything.

Part of me finds this hard to believe, but much of me sees life as it is, sees people as they are, sees my own experience, and believes that this is true.

So … own your shit. (This seems to be less and less lately.) Acknowledge it to the appropriate person or people. See what you can do to fix it, whether in the present or in the future. Make the world better by making your connections better.