Monday, October 22, 2012

I am a Tool

She joined the sales team at the store. A woman who had not worked for a long time but had extensive experience. Finally I had someone to work with who was over twenty-five. Not that I mind the younger women. They just seem to have a different work ethic. Well, that what I thought when I started at Hallmark.

I got a call from my boss asking if I would come in earlier. Evidently one of the younger women was being moved to a different store. There was unrest and I was needed. I guess I must be the restful, so I entered the friction that hung over the store. One problem stemmed from this new employee telling one of the other employees what she expected to happen when they worked together. It was a 'hm' moment for me. A warning bell went off in my head. I did what I usually do in such circumstances. I listened, I tried to stay neutral. Then I became aware of something that brings me to this page.

Working with teens years ago taught me much. I learned a technique that helped me open doors of communication. I learned not to judge. I learned to listen, even when what I heard was very disturbing. I learned to be quiet and to use intelligence instead of reaction. I learned that I am a tool. I am not the answer. This was true for the kids as risk, this was true for my family, and this is true in my every day life.

Sometimes as we age, we think our way is the only way. We come to our senior years full of opinions and judgement. We are to some degree the worst culprits. "I'm too old to change!" Well, we are not too old to change. We might as well just go to the end of our lives and drop off the earth if we honestly believe that to be true.

I learned with the teens as I have with most of my life that we walk softly into relationships. No one will do things as I do. No one will have the same craziness in their brains that usually follows me each day. I love having fun and want everyone around me to enjoy life as well. That doesn't happen if I step on them.

I was a bit nervous going back into the work arena after so many years of being out of a job. I didn't want to be the old woman. The girls wanted someone young in that position. I did not fit the bill. So I listened. I watched. I learned to care about them and their lives. I asked them for help. I asked for their opinions. We became friends and love working together. I continually learn.

We have a lot to give but cannot give it to those who are not ready to listen. Perhaps in the listening, we will make better relationships. Perhaps putting our opinions aside, we will learn to expand what we already believe and might even change our minds. Perhaps, just perhaps, we can build bridges between people. We can make the world better. We can expand our minds. We can create peace in an atmosphere of pain. Perhaps we can be more.

I am a tool. Not the answer.

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