the nest

the nest

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Today's the day...

The world has been crazy lately. I've taken a dive back into political activism. I'm horrified by some of the racist, white-supremicist, awful things that are taking up oxygen currently.
I'm also amazed at the kindness and beauty that continues to surround us all. The ugliness is getting a lot of air time, but the beauty and goodness will prevail.

I choose to believe this. Call me naive if you like, but I believe that there is more good in the world than bad. I won't believe otherwise. If I did, I'm not sure I could leave this morning to bring my youngest child (and her older sister) to college half-way across the country.

I know that there are good people EVERYWHERE and that if and when my newest chick to leave the nest needs help, guidance, support, ANYTHING, some good person will step up and help. It's what we do. It's what I have taught my children and it's what I have witnessed over my increasingly long life.

I'm not suggesting that there is not ugliness and hate in the world ~ our current political leaders lack of moral leadership seem to have brought much of the hate that has been simmering underground, to the surface. As much as it winds me up and stresses me out, maybe it's a good thing. It's easier to fight something you can see.

Like generations before us, we will look at those who would preach hate and violence, and we will continue to preach love and non-violence. Hopefully we will learn from our past before too much damage is done.

Here's what I want to tell my daughter as she heads out into this complicated world of ours.

LIVE your life. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or to get hurt. This is when we learn the most. Take care of yourself. Take care of others. Believe in something bigger than yourself and trust that you are loved and cared for. Look for the Helpers. Mr. Rogers words continue to ring true. If you are afraid, or confused or just need a hand, look for the helpers. They're EVERYWHERE! Be a helper yourself.

Stand up for yourself and others. Eat healthy foods, drink lots of water and take your vitamins.

Don't forget to sleep.

Remember your hat when it's cold.

Never ever forget how very much I love you and how very proud I am of the powerful woman you are becoming.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Out of the Nest Coaching is a thing!

I'm too wound up to sleep at the moment, so I thought I'd pour out a few thoughts here! The last several months as I've been working on developing my ideas for a Coaching business have been exciting and terrifying at the same time. Once in a while I just laugh at myself because when I begin to doubt myself and have second thoughts, I'll come across something I wrote about taking chances and being courageous! I sometimes have to remember that I better "walk the walk if I'm going to talk the talk."

So much is converging right now. I'm launching Helen off to college. 2 weeks from today we leave CT to bring her and Katy to Luther College in Decorah, IA. Katy for her last year and Helen for her first. While I'm launching them I'm launching this newest venture. At the same time Fall is arguably the busiest time for my Music Together work as well. Perhaps loading myself up with tasks is a way of distracting myself from noticing the now 3 empty bedrooms... I can't say I'll miss the endless hours of driving children to various places, but I will miss the conversations and even the silence that took place in my tired minivan. There will be less laundry and fewer dishes. There will be fewer snacks in the house to spoil my healthy eating plan, and it will be so quiet. My son, who still lives in CT, has promised his Mama that we can do Sunday dinners at least a few times a month. That will help when it gets too quiet.

Right now I can honestly say it will all be fine. This is the purpose of parenting - to raise and launch the next generation. The generation who will save the world from the mistakes of those before. I'm confident that my children and many others I know, are going to be tomorrow's leaders. They are a generous, compassionate, fierce group of human beings who, despite the challenges they face, will rise and make our world kinder and better than we could ever imagine. They get climate change, and equality and social justice. They will be ready when this latest bubble of crazy pants people supposedly making decisions for all of us finally go the way of the dinosaur.

I could say all that if I could speak with the giant lump in my throat right now. 12 days from now my girls will return from Camp Calumet where they have been working all summer. 2 days after that we will pack the van and head to IA. I expect the lump I have right now to stay with me for much of the trip.

So many of my friends are in this same place right now. Some are sending their first to college, some their second, some their last... That empty nest is really here this time. I'm glad I can fill it up with new friends and ideas. The Nest will be a new place to engage in thoughtful conversation, give support and the occasional nudge. Knowing that there are those who will catch me if I fall makes it easy to let myself fly  - out of the nest. I hope you'll trust me to catch you when you're ready to join me.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trusting your kids to "do the job"

There is nothing like pulling together a group of people to create something and then letting them go! This past weekend was the Ellington Community Theatre production of "Annie!" As some of you know, one of the hats I wear is 'Producer' of ECT. Over the course of less than two months, we take a group of 75 people ranging in age from 5 - 50+, and put a show on the stage! In addition to the 75 participants, there is a staff of 9 and at least 30 volunteers.

My job is the hardest and the easiest - ultimately I'm responsible for the end result. If participants (or audience members) are unhappy, the buck stops with me. That is a lot of pressure! However, when I find good people who know their job and then get out of the way and let them do it, I can sit back and "enjoy the show!"

I think maybe we all need to take on the role of Producer more often in our lives - find people with the skills needed for any particular job and then trust them to do it.

One of my frustrations with education lately is the constant second guessing of teachers. We hire people to teach but then we micro-manage them and fill their days with paperwork, testing and reporting, so they can't actually do the thing we hired them to do. We get in the way!

We do the same thing with our partners and children. We give them jobs or assume they will take care of certain tasks, but then we get in their way and try to control how they do it. I've been guilty lately of doing this with my young adult daughters and $. I have raised smart, thoughtful girls. They are fully capable of figuring out a budget and managing their resources. They might have to mess up a few times, but this is the time to do it - emptying your checking account when you are 18 and don't have a mortgage to pay is way easier to deal with than when you HAVE a mortgage, or car payment, or what have you.

Money is a hot button issue for me - I am often stressed about it and my children know it. My son has figured it out (as far as I know!). As a college student he took full responsibility for all non-school expenses after a number of arguments about how he was spending his money. This was probably the single best thing to happen to our relationship EVER. For whatever reason, I haven't drawn a line with his sisters, but it's time to do that. By holding onto that control, I'm holding them back from learning valuable lessons about being an adult. This is the time when mistakes will have the least impact.

I'm also telling them I don't trust them to "do the job" of being a young adult and all that entails. I think because money has been tricky for me, I'm afraid that I haven't taught them what they need to know ~ my guess is that it's the opposite. I trust them in so many other ways, it's time to trust them with their finances too.