I have to admit I was quite interested in the topic of the influence of social media or just media influence in general. I always knew media could impact greatly in a number of ways, some positively and others, well quite negatively. Media influence is real. How it affects people really depends on their ability to differentiate credible information from opinions, reality from fantasy, and the good stuff from the noise of negativity that some media bring.
Admittedly, I'm not sure my brain is not wired for today’s times. There’s just way too much noise. Everywhere I turn there’s noise. News outlets, social media, technology applications, work expectations, personal responsibilities. Everything just runs together like a beautiful painting, water leaking onto its canvas. I wonder how many others are experiencing the same challenges of moving and grooving through all this noise. Your colleagues perhaps? What about your family? Do we stop and think about how this noise is affecting our loved ones? Our parents?
A generation that didn’t have the latest, greatest innovative stuff are now completely immersed in stuff, all kinds of it. In some ways it’s maddening. I observe the elderly at stores that only offer self checkouts, and unfortunately many retail stores ONLY offer self checkouts. Where there once was a checker to bag the goods and transport them to one's car, now there's no one. In my world where relationships matter most of all, I find this to be just nuts! And what about these new wave quick shops. No one approaching their vehicles to our parents and grandparents pump their gas. And they better know how to insert that credit card and operate the pump, because that's the only way to pay - unless they go into the shop to pay in advance. I still long for the world where we helped our elderly navigate this very complicated world in which we all live.
And what about our children? Do we even think about how all this noise will influence their very being as future adults of our world? We discuss how we must change to keep up with the technological shifts occurring all around us; after all, staying globally competitive requires our workforce to continually shift to more innovative ways. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves whether these significant technological shifts in all areas of our lives are paths we want to follow.
It's shocking when I think about the amount of information available to human beings today, comparatively to the that which was accessible during my formative years.
I was a quiet child who would work and play independently. My verbal skills weren’t developed until a bit later but I would learn about the world as I experienced it, taking in every piece of information I discovered. This would begin molding me in ways that established my whole being.
Conceptualizing terms and operations in procedural ways created substantial challenges for me as a high school student. I was a big picture thinker who depended heavily on the use of imagination and the arts to gain understanding of the world. Breaking ideas apart in pieces and examining how they could fit together differently intrigued me.
Through the lens of multiple experiences, I began seeing the world differently and thus dreaming of what could be became my new way of planning for the future. I was definitely a dreamer! Confidence was reared through relationship development, as working with others and taking note of their style and adding some of those various pieces to my own personal repertoire established the leader in me.
Driven in a selfish sort of way to contribute more greatly to the community became my motivation. The realization that I could do more for others and feel more satisfied with myself was a critical factor in my personal and professional growth. Establishing big goals with aspirations of achieving each one became my driving force. Building relationships and delving into my hobbies with others along the way was an essential step in finding success.
Placing those I served first was the professional path to which I strictly adhered. It also became my personal mission. If success is measured by promotions and titles, I found it. Maintaining an organized professional and personal life was a struggle. Balancing family and work was a goal never achieved- and I erred greatly along the way, both professionally and most definitely personally.
Too much noise with limited interaction in a world where building and maintaining relationships are central to who I am as a professional, an educator, a leader, a wife, a mother, and a friend is deafening and defeating. Navigating this new normal creates sleepless nights. My thoughts are overtaken by those little neurons that fire off sounds in the mind at warp speed that resemble a mac truck backing up, creating undeniable brain static.
I can’t help thinking only too often: I wonder if anyone else feels this way. Actually, I know, without a doubt, others do. The question is this: how do they navigate today’s times in a way that calms their mind with no overthinking, overdoing, overstimulation, which causes their thoughts to be clouded- which in turn affects everything.
Fortunately, I found some answers, those that work for me. I put them into play to help my life make sense. Perhaps they are not fitting for everyone, but my hope is one can walk away after reading this with something that is helpful in navigating the craziness of life as a result of this extraneous noise.
First, Just say no! Say no to social media and media influence. Take a break from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn. Step away from the television. Perhaps read books or listen to the audio versions. I mean think about how many hours you spend on social media or watching television. You can be an influencer without being on these platforms 24/7. Instead, build relationships, help others, send cards, texts, emails as a way to check in with others. Reach out via telephone. Dial away. Let others know you are thinking of them.
Take some time to read Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people." The art of communication is a fine art, indeed. Establishing competencies in communicating with finesse will lead to professional success and personal growth. Sometimes turning to classic works with traditional self-help cues is just what is needed to change the world or, at the very least, change yours for the better.
Take time to view the following videos. They provide some deep insights to the influence of media:
Second, Exercise daily. It’s the potion, the prescription to better health, as it reduces stress and calms the mind. Beginning the morning with a walk outside will increase blood flow to the mind, calming it and improving one's thought process and memory.
Train your mind to adopt this simple idea. Love others. How do you do this? Start reading. In fact, listen to audio books while walking- unless you find a walking partner. Books like The Secret, The Alchemist, The Greatest Salesman in the World, Tuesdays with Morrie, among so many others inspire greatly.
Get out of the rabbit holes and start meeting new people, enjoying all experiences. I began challenging myself by meeting as many new people as possible. My mantra - One person a day, hey whatta ya say - motivated me completely. Whether on the shuttle to the airport, on a plane or train, or visiting schools or hotels, I would approach different folks, introducing myself and asking questions. Did I ever meet some interesting and fun people! Explore the landscape and visit new places, embrace a new hobby, or meditate. Whatever you decide to do, make your activity meaningful and worth every bit of your time, for time is your most precious gift.
We all communicate in our own way. I depend on emojis. If you ask my family, my friends, and even my colleagues, they would ALL say, "Oh yeah, she’s a big time emoji user!" All you have to do is view my Twitter profile and you will know without a doubt...I USE EMOJIS! In fact, I overuse them. And on purpose. One who reads any sort of narrative I post on social media or email I send out will find these cute ideograms and bright yellow faces with expressions that reflect how I'm feeling at that very point in time. They are dropped here and there throughout the text. If you see my Facebook posts, you might find a heart emoji embedded in the message when communicating my own thoughts about the GOOD STUFF. Gosh, I really LOVE posting about the good stuff. And when I do, you will see the heart emoji EVERYWHERE! I hit that heart button again and again and again when responding to posts, most definitely if it includes kids, puppies, accomplishments, amazing dishes from new recipes, feel good stories, and the like. I click on that 'ole heart to illustrate my LOVE of the message or my LOVE for the people featured in the post. Maybe even both. So why is it I'm addicted to using emojis? It's simple. Let me explain. 🤷♀️
We have become a society that uses verbal communication in written form by way of texting, messaging, posting on social media, or emailing. 🤦♀️ This is how we communicate with our friends, families, acquaintances, colleagues, clients, bosses, businesses, and so on. Rarely do we pick up the telephone and make a call. Only when we know someone, really know someone, will we understand through written message one's heart, motive, or disposition. And if we don't have a close relationship with the individuals with whom we are communicating then misinterpreting their written words is likely simply due to the fact that one's writing style is very different from one's person to person interaction. Not everyone is great at written communication, which has resulted in and continues to create relationship challenges both personally and professionally. There is a fix, however, and it's an simple one. 👇
Yes, we do have a means for helping others understand our true feelings when using written communication. It's using emojis. And that's exactly my WHY for using them! Perhaps you will try them out, too! It's a way to brighten up your messages and make written communication that much more fun! 💕😍😊
I remember a time when simple defined my life. I was young and carefree but longed to be busier, to have lots more to do. I recall not caring for this simple life, but do I ever long for it now. 💕
When I was growing up in rural Batchtown, Illinois, I finally scored that perfect job, one that would provide me with some money in my pocket so I could purchase my own snacks at the local church picnic or ballpark concession stand. It felt good, you know, to make my own money. I felt so accomplished. With the sweat that came with hard work and a tired body at the end of a work shift, I took delight in accomplishing my goals. I was ten. That's right, ten years old. I'll never forget my first day. A very young and naïve girl arrived at the barn where this sturdy, confident gentleman greeted me and my brothers, ready to share what would be required of us. His name: Otto "Butch" Klaas. He was the owner of one of the local apple orchards. I really liked him. He was patient and kind, taking time to show us the expectation and answer questions. He would explain and model our work responsibilities multiple times until we clearly understood our assignment. I learned that my brothers and I would be charged with picking up apples from the ground, those that fell off the apple trees. Let me be clear. We were not picking apples from the trees. That was a job saved for the adults and older teens, as you had to be a bit taller to reach the limbs and sometimes you had to stand on a ladder. We were just kids, responsible for filling crates with those ripe apples that simply fell onto the ground when the fierce wind blew. With every filled crate, we would earn fifty cents. One crate of apples would get me five fire Jolly Rancher sticks or Pixie Sticks or two small candy bars. I was so motivated to fill those crates. I generally filled about twelve, which would earn me five dollars and some change considering taxes and all.
I'll never forget that experience, my first job. Yep, picking up apples! Did I ever learn a lot during my childhood employment. I learned the importance of placing value on things that often get overlooked. Who would've thought all those apples that fell to the ground would be worthy of being picked up and saved and cleaned and packed to be sold. What I learned was those fallen apples are synonymous to the pennies we drop, the people we disregard, and the jobs or tasks in which we fail to engage. Thus, we could have more money if we placed value on all those pennies, for they add up. How many relationships we can make to improve our lives if we take time to get to know those who can do nothing for us from a materialistic point of view. The knowledge and skills we can learn if we humble ourselves to do the work that some believe isn't worthy of their time.
Every opportunity is a blessing. I say...value your pennies, enjoy chance meetings, and grab that opportunity that appeals to you, even if it doesn't involve a possibility for career advancement. You get one life to build a repertoire of positive experiences. Make 'em all count! 💖
So I was invited to serve on a board for a college program. Well truth be known, a really good friend passed on the invitation to me. She thought I’d be the perfect person to serve. After reading through the description and with each new sentence I was growing more and more excited about this opportunity. Serving on this board would provide experiences to network with like-minded professionals who absolutely believe in the importance of the customer experience. The director of the program who sent the invitation to my friend followed up with an invitation to me, asking that I schedule an appointment on her calendar. I must admit I thought that was a bit odd. I thought she’d want to talk with me and learn a bit more about me before investing thirty minutes in a conversation. I went ahead and scheduled for later the next week and when the time came I jumped on the call. I thought I was hopping on ZOOM, but actually it was a telephone call through Zoom. Again, I was a bit taken aback by this. This college director was looking for a professional to serve on this program board and you have access to Zoom, an application that allows an interviewer to see the interviewee. Isn’t this important, especially when selecting the viability of a board candidate? When I jumped on the call, I was greeted by a young professional. I immediately responded by offering a friendly hello followed by the name of the director.
"Hello Lori. I’m not actually the director. She has tasked me with speaking to you."
Really? I was deeply saddened by this director's behavior. She actually assigned OUR talk to one of her assistants. Immediately I knew I was no longer interested in this program, serving on the board, having this conversation, nothing. I was completely done. The assistant's greeting communicated her director's opinion: YOU are not important enough for my time so I'm passing you off to my assistant.
Of course, I was respectful and gracious to the young lady on the phone. It certainly wasn’t her fault. I answered her questions. She then explained the program, which is when I learned that I not only would be required to participate, but I would have to pay a fee to do so. Of course, the fee is significantly lower than what students would pay.
"Say what?" was my immediate internal response. I declined and thanked the assistant for her time.
I'm still shaking my head after participating in that conversation. If I could offer one piece of advice it would be THIS: If it's important and involves people, make the call, have the conversation, take the time. If the program is worth it, make sure you put the same amount of worth in the people you are attempting to recruit.
I always told my girls, when you search for the job of your dreams, you are interviewing your future employer as much as they are interviewing you. Find out what drives your passion, find THAT place that sets every bit of it on fire, and then lean in and learn all you can! ️Focus on the learning and build your repertoire of knowledge and skills. Most importantly, don't give up and do whatever it is you're going to do with all your heart! Believe in yourself, letting go of all the noise that enters your head. YOU have the ability, skills, and drive to make a difference in this world. Just be you and go for the gold!
My Hope, My Truth, I Stand with You was inspired by today's times. So encouraged by what I see in others, I thought it was a time for me to use my voice and limited skills by writing a song that emphasizes the behavior I hope to see in others. I am committed to stand with any person who experiences being treated in a way that lacks compassion and concern for others, and, most importantly, LOVE. ❤
The only word that comes to mind when thinking of child abuse is WHY? Why would any adult harm an innocent child? I found myself reflecting on the WHY behind child abuse so often. It's my motivation for enlisting in the United States Marine Corps as a military police officer. This experience would provide me with the training I needed to practice law enforcement. Concluding my military stint, I could then transition to civilian life with the experience necessary to land a job with a police department. I soon discovered that serving as police officer would allow the opportunity to react to child abuse cases after they had already occurred, meaning I could help with an investigation and follow the cases, but ultimately I had limited to power to do anything at all. I desired to do more, to be more impactful by serving as a protector, an advocate who might recognize this behavior early and prevent abuse from happening - before it is too late. This is when I decided, without a doubt, that education is for me, I worked as teacher, school leader, and district superintendent. I've been privy to information no one would want to hear or know. I've seen too much, which is the motivation behind this song. What follows are words from an onlooker who recognizes the abuse is occurring, speaking on behalf of the victim and revealing the actions of the perpetrator. Ultimately, peace, love, and justice are found. 🙏
In support of suicide prevention, I'm sharing my heart again...💕
When it comes to putting my heart on paper, I am intentional in posting positive messages, but this one is quite different. This is so out of the ordinary for me. Not that it won’t include a positive spin, but this message goes beyond my comfort level...until now. The reason for posting is twofold. First, I want to share an experience, one of which many are unaware. It needs to be written and read, for I know there are others who need this. And second, I want to send a strong message from the voice of a friend, a mother, a teacher, one who has been relatively quiet about personal challenges and why addressing them now can be healing, especially today, this day: September 10, 2020 ~Suicide Prevention Day.
So let me begin here. While at my brother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving a few years ago, our middle daughter, Delani, called her dad from our home in Shipman. She was completely distraught, unable to be sensible in her communication. She said those magic words, basically “I’m tired of this life; it's not worth living.” Upon realizing she overdosed on something, Scott immediately called 911 and traveled back from Columbia to meet the ambulance at the hospital. I stayed with our youngest daughter, as she was unaware of the unfolding events. I was unsure who responded to our home but later found out the names. Do I ever appreciate our Shipman Volunteer Fire Department. I can’t begin to communicate my gratitude! They left their family on Thanksgiving to help mine. That's selfless service. 💖
Delani was transported to Jersey Community Hospital where she was admitted, evaluated, and what followed were several tests to determine treatment. Her liver enzyme levels were high and she was being monitored in Intensive Care. She participated in a lot of reflection, received visits from some special friends, and after several days was released, quite the blessing. The ICU staff at Jersey Community Hospital was incredible as well. I remain so very grateful. 💖
Why would a young, beautiful girl with a bright future ahead of her decide life isn't worth living? Well, Friends, that remains the big question!
Why? Why? Why? How many times have I asked myself that very question over the years?
I find myself reflecting on my own tragic experience from years gone by, a sad circumstance about which I rarely talk, but it’s necessary no longer to stay silent, for others need to know.
Nearly 25 years ago, my boyfriend and I discussed our future together, which didn’t look promising for a number of reasons. The specific details do not matter and I’m not sure I can remember them anyway, as so much remains a blur. What does matter and what I clearly remember are the grief, struggle, and guilt that followed his actions. After our talk, he drove to our home, wrote out a letter to his parents and me, set up a shrine of pictures in our living room, and then shot himself.
The big question remains unanswered...WHY? His actions have haunted me - even to this day! His family that was once mine never spoke to me or Shayelle again, even though we were family for two years-plus. It was as if we never existed.
The act of suicide is costly to so many. Some describe it as an act of selfishness. I don’t see it that way. Fact is, those who engage in this act are experiencing indescribable despair. They know of no other way to relieve their own pain. They do not plan out the extreme hurt they will cause others. It just doesn’t work that way. I know this...now.
I have asked myself several times, as I reflected on Delani's actions that day: What kind of a mother am I? I worried what others might think of me, especially after they come to realize we don’t have the perfect life. Could I have done more, parented differently? All these questions filled my head. I also think about my former student, Briley. I had seen him at the high school musical. He looked great, seemed to be doing amazingly well. He was laughing and cracking a few jokes. He smiled and said it was good to see you. Oh, if I could only go back. What happened? What if I had reached out? What if I had done more?
So many questions...
Fact is, I’m sure I could’ve done many things differently but the past is the past and living in the past is not healthy - and it's not my way. This reality in front of me is the one I have chosen to live. How I approach THE NOW is what matters. What I've learned along the way is this: Addressing others with love and compassion is what's truly important to me. I love my daughters and will support and love each of them for who they are and what they bring to this life. My family too. I also remain a big fan of kids, and adults. I want every person to know that he or she adds value to other's lives and when life gets seemingly too tough, I pray each one knows to turn to a loved one. Talk to someone. I’m here as well. I'm available! Just a phone call or a trip to the country away.
God has blessed me so, gifting me with a heart that is truly moved by supporting others. I’m uninterested in engaging in people talk unless it centers around the good or what I can do to help another! I have my own challenges, remain imperfect, and know life is hard. So, if you need me, call me. No judgment, no shame, no guilt, and all in confidence. If you are willing to offer the same, please stand up and speak out! One statement: I'm here for you! 💕
I remain thankful- so very thankful - for those who’ve offered to lend a hand or communicated a kind word during my own trying times. I learned a long time ago: People matter. Kindness counts. Love wins. 💖
#suicideawareness #peoplematter #kindnesscounts #lovewins
I provided musical entertainment at a local fair several years ago. My girls, at an age of innocence, were seated in the stands. When the set was over, I walked over to get them. They both walked toward me, seemingly defeated. Delani, no older than seven, which would’ve made Korrie four, looked up at me and said with deep sadness, the ladies behind us said bad things about you while you were singing. They were not nice. They said you couldn’t sing at all!
I still remember both girls’ facial expressions and words, and felt the hurt in my heart knowing they discovered at such a young age the poor behavior of adults who should be the models of exemplary character. Immediately, I felt something move inside of me. Without much contemplation or reflection or even hesitation, my response fell from my lips.
I immediately replied. “Girls, some people just don’t think about their words - even though they could be hurtful to others around them; they just don’t think about it. Let this be a lesson to you. Always choose your words wisely. Most importantly, use your words in a way that is classy and kind - to motivate and inspire others, ALWAYS! ️For it's your words and behavior that define your character. Never forget: Words really are THAT important! 💖
I know the importance of human connection. 💕
Thirty-two years ago I gave birth to Andrew, a beautiful little boy who, while receiving his two month baby check, was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a heart defect requiring him to undergo immediate open heart surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I learned to navigate the hospital ins and outs pretty well considering I stayed at Andrew’s bedside for his two and a half month recovery stint. Over that time, I got to know his sweet roommates. We shared a large room with three other infants, one of whom shared the same name, Andrew. This Andrew suffered from a less severe condition but there was one distinct difference between the two that is too important not to share.
During those months I saw the other Andrew’s parents three times, maybe. Dad was a military enlistee and Mom stayed at home to care for their toddler. When visiting, they never stayed too long and not one person from that family ever stayed the night. I tried to understand this, to empathize. Caring for a toddler and only having one vehicle made visiting the hospital nearly impossible. They lived roughly an hour away and the mother found it quite challenging to drive in the city. I know it was a hardship for them.
During my Andrew’s hospitalization, I learned from the staff that I could not hold or touch another patient, although I longed to hold the other Andrew while my Andrew slept. He desperately needed some love and attention. I did manage to lean over his crib and chat with him every chance I got, but no holding, touching, or loving on him.
Mid-August 1988, Andrew was released from the hospital, nearly two and a half months after his surgery. The other little Andrew never checked out. With great sadness I learned he had died. It was a devastating blow! How could this be? I reflected for weeks, wondering what had gone wrong, but I knew the answer. I knew the answer without a doubt. That sweet baby died from a lack of love. He experienced limited interactions from humans, little touching or talking or holding - few smiles and rare talks. He failed to experience the joy of the human experience. I could go on and on about this sad occurrence, but today I’m stressing this point:
Kids (adults too) weren’t made to be isolated, working in cubicles, alone with only a computer with which to interact. Kids were meant to play, act, manipulate, communicate, touch, hug, hold and most especially LOVE.
There will come a time when a sense of normalcy returns. I’m not saying that everything will return to exactly how it once was before Covid 19. But what I am saying is this: The need for teacher/student and student/peer interactions are essential, now and in years to come. You see, I’ve seen the outcome when it doesn’t exist. To LOVE and to BE LOVED ~ well, it's ESSENTIAL! 💕