Can We Keep You?

Today, some reflections from on this savory season of September through the lens at the starting gate of my sixth year of re-inspirement.

At the end of August, school started and I got to step in as a substitute teacher. I was having a blast with this kindergarten friend ... 

until I got the text that my Dad survived another heart attack. I rushed home and was blessed with some bonus time in my childhood village with my extended family. I've got so many beautiful memories from that trip, these are probably my favorite two. The first is my Dad, up and about, kibitzing with Scott, a retired educator, and buying ten dozen sweet corn from his roadside stand. It was the most playful moment and it was no surprise that Scott threw in an extra dozen for good measure. 

I knew immediately why Dad kept coming back to this stand all season, and though it was incredibly delicious, it wasn't for the pricey corn. Those fifteen minutes watching Scott and Dad interact put this spring in my step and, to be honest, I wanted to go back. 

For more corn, of course. 😉

Here's the rest of the story. Sure, Dad and Flo eat a few ears for lunch, but certainly not ten dozen worth. Instead, we spent the next hour or so making deliveries. Three dozen to the home where his sister lives. Two dozen to my brother Paul, to take to his Lake House. A few dozen for the workers on the farm. I even got to bring some home for my family and it made this midwestern daughter-in-law of mine very happy.

And the rest? 

To the God's Bounty table that he started at church. Just look at his signage. And with four dozen cobs of sweet corn, this table was overflowing with generosity and love.

After a week, I headed home and Dad underwent his heart catheterization to find that he was healing well, didn't have any new blockage, and it was likely stress-induced chest pains. Now, at 86 1/2, he's learning to manage his stress better. Who doesn't need that?

So I came back to two incredible growth opportunities, an author visit and PD session with some passionate school counselors in Albuquerque, the other at a Counselor Symposium in Midland, TX.

At the end of my first class, this adorable blonde boy raised his hand.

Me: Yes, do you have an author question?

Adorable third-grade boy: Can we keep you?

Not only did that make my soul sing, it also gave me pause.

It made me wonder what makes someone want to keep us?

I actually had that same feeling with Scott at the corn stand. 

I wanted to keep him. Or at least work with him. Or both.

What is that quality that makes us more present for people?

I know that one thing that captivates kids is the ukulele.

Look at this precious KINDergarten ambassador offering to carry my uke. It's like a little magnet. And I love using it as background music for my storytelling. It's so mesmerizing. 

And it feels good. Really good.

Puppets are kind of the same. 

 I took Winthrup to sub with me in a fifth-grade class last week and those pre-teens could not get enough of that engaging little guy. One girl offered to take him home; the rest made me promise to bring him back when I sub again. And I promise, it was sincere; they wanted to keep him.

Music and puppets. A winning combination.

Coupled with hope, compassion, love and joy. 

Consider the law of the lid. The people in your presence are going to rise to the level of energy, connection joy and love that you are putting out there for them. But ... they aren't going to go any higher. So why not give them a pinnacle experience complete with passion and purpose?

At the Counselor Symposium, my friend Natalie recommended this book to us, so I'm passing along a recommendation to you.  

An excerpt: I said to the Road, Where do you lead?
The Road said, Be a leader and find out.

Check it out; I suspect you'll connect with it as much as I do.

Let's wrap up with gratitude: When it was time for the door prize drawing in the breakout session after mine, the counselor sitting next to me (who had been in both of my sessions) heard her name called and went to the front to retrieve her Mental Health throw. She smiled as she returned to our table, turned to me and simply said, "thank you."

And I wanted to keep her, too.

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