I'm migrating everything over to a new address.
♫ Baby let's smove... Away from here. ♫
I'm migrating everything over to a new address.
♫ Baby let's smove... Away from here. ♫
We're deep in the middle of parenting (although on the grand timeline, it's probably still the beginning as Robard points out in this clip from Parenthood) and a blow out the weekend before last had us thinking (again)...
What can we do to make things better?
This is what we came up with...
That first point is probably 90% of it (and the hairiest).
The Spaniard and I can be ego-driven hot heads at times (mostly me) and we think that's probably the biggest thing that gets in the way of our efforts. So...
For 90 days, we've committed to No Ego Parenting.
It's been about 10 days and seems to be having a positive impact (less stress, everyone appears happier and a little kinder). The biggest challenge so far is sticking to the 'no ego' in how we talk (softer spoken, less edge, no interrupting because we want resolution faster, less direction because we know what's right because that's the way it's always been done and I don't have time to wait for you to figure it out because I'm in a rush to get somewhere so I can be busy and in a rush to get to the next place).
Our accountability check... If one of us catches the other crossing what seems to be the ego line (even slightly), the other is allowed to say "Put your hands up" and the ego line crosser has to put both hands up immediately (reaching into the sky) and say "Put your hands up" in the same high-pitched voice as Amy Poehler's Michael Jackson imitation below (try to have an ego when you're doing that).
The kids have already put this into the family vernacular as a way to communicate someone's doing something wrong.
I can tell you that the past 10 days have been better but it's not easy. Which is okay, of course. We're trying to improve things.
I’ve been thinking about the business of Christmas… why we celebrate it and where it came from. It took me 44 years to look into it (of course, the first couple years I was learning how to talk and the next couple decades I was learning how to think so… maybe it only took me about 25 years to dig in).
Please understand, I’m not kidding…
It looks as if the early Christian church was looking for a way to compete with the pagan celebration of Saturnalia – a month-long festival that honored the god of agriculture, Saturn. Apparently, during Saturnalia (are you laughing at this word yet?) there was also a group of Romans who celebrated the birth of a sun god named Mithra (who was born from a rock). Mithra’s birthday was December 25.
Bottom line… A fourth century Pope set 12.25 as the day the Christian church would celebrate the birth of Jesus (a day that wasn’t celebrated until that point).
History.com has it laid out nicely beginning here.
Now… I bring this to our attention because I don’t like going through the motions (although I hypocritically do).
I believe our focus every day should be on loving our people. But what exactly does that mean?
To me… all of these holidays we celebrate allow us to more often compartmentalize our gratitude and care rather than encourage it to be a part of our daily lives (missing out on a daily celebration that might otherwise exist).
At Christmastime, we embrace getting together more and giving gifts to each other (things) yet at the same time complain about the busyness (and business) behind it all, changing nothing year after year. (“Let’s get together after the holidays when everything settles down.”) Then we go into a New Year, pausing and reflecting at certain points over certain things dictated by our federal holiday calendars and those of our chosen faiths (and remember, a belief that there isn’t a god is also a faith).
But in our day-to-day (the bulk of our time here) opportunities for care (love), will we be awake enough not to go through the motions and make a positive difference to others whenever (wherever) we can?
Can we remember (more often) that we’re here for each other – that that good feeling we get more often around our winter holiday of choice comes from a love that we can (and should) have every day?
“But then it won’t be special.” (special: being other than the usual)
Wouldn’t that be great.
12.25 is arbitrary. Merry Today.
(Valentine’s Day? You can’t handle the truth.)
Smyuletide carols being sung by a choir... And folks dressed up like Smeskimos...
A turkey and some Smistletoe... Help to make the Smeason bright.
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Gordon Livingston
I'm into my second time through and was completely smoved by these words from Gordon...
"This tension between simplicity and effort works itself out in our daily lives. If we believe in the sudden transformation, the big score, we are less likely to pursue the harder and less immediately satisfying work of becoming the people we wish to be.
So here's to the role of time, patience, and reflection in our lives. If we believe it is better to build than destroy, better to live and let live, better to be than to be seen, then we might have a chance, slowly, to find a satisfying way through life, this flicker of consciousness between two great silences."
Let's encourage each other more.
(168 pages | serious | quick read - but not really because you're going to reflect more)
The car in front of me on the way home from the office last night...
This morning after I finished my coffee (I'm not kidding... no special effects... that's the way it dried out)...
Now, I just need to figure out how it all ties in to the screaming cheerio.
"We're lying to our children when we tell them they're proficient, but they're not achieving at a level that will prepare them for success once they graduate."
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
(from this AP story)
So as parents, teachers, and grown-ups…
Let’s wake up and stop mouth breathing our way through the day.
Aren’t we tired of mediocrity? Of lying?
"I think one of the misnomers is that we have some kind of miracle going on. We spend more time teaching," Adams says. "We're in school six days a week. If I could figure out a way to raise enough money, I'd have it seven days a week. Students are in the building from 7 a.m., sometimes even earlier, to 5 and 6 and 7 o'clock at night."
How hard are you working?
TGIS (thank God it's Smonday)
Hey, kids… If we don’t push you or hold you accountable, do it for yourselves. Don’t wait. You matter and you have a verse to contribute. Count!
One more from Paul Adams (principal)...
"I think I have an obligation to do the very best I can because I stand on the shoulders of many people who have died, who have sacificed and I think that is my contribution to civilization... to move it to the next level."
We need to stop looking into our hands so much.
Cells, berries, and ithings get too much attention.
Five days ago, I decided to try an experiment. It's part of my real world immersion program.
I'm doing my best to make it so no one knows I have a cell phone. No checking for emails or messages when people are around me. No answering a vibrating phone (a ringtone? please) if I'm in a face-to-face conversation with another human being (which I rarely do but have -- ruuude man).
My thinking here is this'll make me more available to the people in front of me and the life around me and also help me focus more. I'm guessing it'll also help me improve my real world communication skills (listening is a part of communicating) and consequently help me help others better.
The only downside I can think of is not being instantly available for a real emergency (but this is possible several times throughout the day anyway).
So far, it feels good. (update after 2 months below)
(It's scary that people text and read while they drive (grown-ups are especially surprising given that we're not supposed to be that stupid)... make-up application too (yeah, I saw you taking that turn putting on your mascara in your rearview). I'm sure it'll slow down as we personally know more and more people who have accidents (severe or not) but we'll probably have to stick our finger in the socket a few times before we get disciplined.
If you're up for a frightening (and very disturbing) awareness video on the topic (I've shared it with my 15-year-old who is with driving friends now, but I'm pretty hardcore as you likely know if you read my stuff), here's 4 minutes. Do not watch it if frightening and disturbing are not your things. It's a British PSA.)
Update: Nothing but great things to say about the device diet. In fact, I downgraded to a regular phone a couple weeks after this post. The phone still has great keyboard features, etc. but it's less of a distraction now (and I save $500 a year in usage fees). I did violate the diet a couple weeks ago though and got a lesson -- classic bad dad moment. I was looking up something on the phone at my son's basketball game and missed his one basket of the game. I'm pretty confident I won't pull that again (loser).
Grocery store checkout. Magazine display. 3 weeks of the last 4.
You can walk off belly fat. Whitney and Oprah are in a cat fight. Jessica lost a puppy. Jennifer's having a baby.
It's on with Justin and it's over with Justin. The walk off has you in your skinny jeans. A Kardashian is having her dream wedding (who are these people?).
Oprah's in it with Michelle now. Tori is losing too much weight. Jon & Kate are spying, stealing, and having their lives wrecked.
Who's paying for this stuff?
(we need to reboot)
We were running a scrimmage during a soccer practice last week (11 year olds).
On the field next to us was a group of about 20 men playing a game. At one point, a ball flew from their field through our field and down a hill about 50 yards.
One of my players immediately (almost instinctively) ran down the field to get the ball and return it.
I asked, "Why did you do that, Adam?"
"I was closest," he said.
Drew Brees (one of top quarterbacks in the NFL) gave a 212 book to his coach and it was mentioned in USA Today on Friday.
Here's an excerpt from the article and an important reminder of what it takes to succeed. Maybe it's something you can use to reinforce extra effort with your people (and your teenagers)...
Payton (the coach) tells the quintessential Brees (the quarterback) story.
"A year ago during the bye week, players are getting out of here. I was leaving the building on Sunday, and out on the field I see this guy in shorts with a ball," Payton says.
"It's Brees out there by himself, Sunday, 1:30. And I say, 'What are you doing?'
"He says, 'I'm just trying to stay in my routine, simulate a game, so my body is still in condition.' "
That mock game is one explanation why Brees has crashed the Brady-Peyton Manning talk on who is the top quarterback.
"Drew just outworks everybody," linebacker Scott Fujita says. "He's a guy's guy, not one of those pretty boy, prima donna quarterbacks."
I don't enjoy the towel guilt trip at hotels but it does work on me (I definately think before using another towel that I probably don't need to use).
This sign next to my double shower head on a recent trip asks me to refresh myself and restore our world...
"One of your Heavenly Shower heads has been turned off in an effort to minimize water usage and protect one of our most precious natural resources.
To experience the most out of your Heavenly Shower, you can turn the second shower head on by pushing the small button behind the lower head. (Of course, only if you're an @ss#ol&.)"
Parenthetical is written in invisible ink.
Where along the way did someone in the room not say, "Hey, wait Bob. I think maybe we should either remove the fancy shower heads or just encourage people to use it. I mean we're about hospitality and luxury, aren't we?"
I'm guessing someone did but they didn't push it (or kept the thought in their head).
Not tragic, of course, just a little business sad.
When I was younger, travelled more, and had only one kid, I would pick up a gift for my daughter and The Spaniard when I went out of town on business.
We're older now and have three kids.
From my trip a few days ago...
A partly used Post-It pad for my 15-year-old, a genuine (and personalized) boarding pass for my 12-year-old (we have the same name), and a barf bag for my 9-year-old.
The Spaniard? She gets some of the finest shampoos and conditioners ever made.
My 12-year-old found it. Doesn't it remind you of Munch's Scream painting?
We've put it in glass along with our other freaky finds. Bidding starts at 1 milllllllion dollars.
I read Johnny Cash’s autobiography a few years ago…
"I still cry at almost anything. It can be something as profound as the beauty of a grandchild in my arms or as trifling as the smile of a pretty girl winning a skating championship on TV. Life has become very moving."
I watched an interview with Richard Branson a few months ago…
"I do cry easy. Most weeks I cry onto something. Often it's tears of happiness. And actually my life is more often tears of happiness than tears of sorrow. Very rarely tears of sorrow."
I heard this from Corey Widmer (a pastor at my church) several weeks ago…
"Why is my anger so utterly disproportionate? Why is it that I get more angry about poor service in a restaurant than I do about the 1.1 billion people in the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water."
Then John Hughes died early last month and I (along with about a zillion other people) read Alison Byrne’s blog post about Hughes’s outreach to her…
"Tonight, when I heard the news that John had died, I cried. I cried hard. (And I'm crying again.) I cried for a man who loved his friends, who loved his family, who loved to write and for a man who took the time to make a little girl believe that, if she had something to say, someone would listen."
That weekend, The Spaniard and I watched Seven Pounds* (Will Smith) and were moved (and inspired) to the point where we watched all of the extras on the DVD. The editor of the movie (Hughes Winborne) talked about one of the most important scenes…
"When I put that scene together, I took a whole day to do it. I cried so many times. It was so painful for me to do. As painful as it might be, it’s still a gift."
The last few weeks I’ve been reading a book (I’m a ridiculously slow reader) by Richard Stearns, the CEO of World Vision** (The Hole in Our Gospel***). In it he shares several mind-blowing stories about poverty and injustice in the world and tries to encourage us to take personal responsibility for helping others. Among the stories (one which he excerpts from the NY Times about poor people in Haiti eating mud… absolutely heartbreaking… read from the subhead to the end) he shares how studies have shown that we (you and I) respond in a greater way to the world’s charitable organizations when we’re presented with the suffering of one person (a child) rather than millions of people. Somehow the big statistics (which are beyond understanding) “seem to excuse our inaction.”
Later in the book, he shares the starfish parable**** and I start wondering why we need a parable about starfish to understand we’re responsible to one another in a one-to-one way (“one person at a time” as Stearns says.)
So what’s my point in all this?
I’m not exactly sure. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t holding onto something that might somehow send a ripple in the right direction because I was waiting for the lesson.
One thing (maybe) is that if we’re really awake (aware), it seems like we should be continually crying out of either happiness or sadness. (Of course, that would make getting our work done difficult, wouldn’t it?)
The more important thing… Our care and our work matters. We’re all counting on each other. We have to stay awake and encourage and remind our people (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) to do the same. And then remind ourselves again… and again.
* We didn’t know what Seven Pounds was about when we Netflixed it. I think it made it even powerful for us. If you really need to know, here’s the site.
** World Vision is a large Christian humanitarian organization that focuses on the challenges of poverty and injustice around the world. Sterns’s book is very faith-based. If you go to a Christian church, you should be able to handle it (unless you’re Roman Catholic… I’m kidding… sort of… I was there 40 years, man.). Here’s the book’s site if you want to learn more. Sterns has a great illustration in the book around the clean water problem mentioned above by Corey (I'm the angry guy at the restaurant, by the way).
*** If you don't have the money and really want (and will read) Stearns's book, I'll buy you one (first 10 people). Just email me your name and mailing address with "Stearns book" in the subject line (sam with an at sign and then justparker.com).
**** It’s really unclear who wrote the starfish parable. Bottom line… Thousands of starfish beached. Kid is throwing them back in the water one by one. As he’s throwing one back an older guy walks up and asks what he’s doing. Kid says he’s saving the starfish. Older guy points out the kid can’t possibly make a difference with so many starfish being beached. Kid says, “It makes a difference to this one.”
One of the most wonderful leftovers I've ever had.
Prime-graded NY Strip (from Costco if you can believe it) and Chipotle Chocolate Rub from a friend of mine (get it here, rub it on, and grill it up). Medium rare or less or you may as well skip the meat.
Prime is truly prime. It might even bring you veggie people back home.
(the MeatBurst name came from the kids... juicy baby... juicy)
Tonight, my 8-year-old let me know that I have a six pack...
(a little less sexy than Godin's... but I can always shave my head)
Hope it smoves you...
(if you can't see the smovie below, you can also watch it at SmileAndMove.com/video)
I'm sick and tired of those little chunks of dirt you feed me twice a day.
I don't care what the books tell you. I CAN taste food and it won't make me any fatter than you, @ss#ol&.
When you leave this house, I do NOT care. I will jump onto these counters and eat anything you mistakingly leave out. It's worth any wrath you could possibly dish out. I'm so sick of eating that tasteless crap... every... single... day.
All of you... constantly talking about this dish or that dish... in this fancy kitchen. I eat out of a bowl in the BATHROOM... from food that comes in 45 pound BAGS.
AM I a part of this family or not? Huh?!
I am NOT an animal.
Since releasing Smile & Move™ in November (my follow-up to 212), we've been having a ball creating a dictionary of words (a smictionary?). Something fun about the "sm" sound. (thanks to all our readers and smovers out there who've added to the fun)...
smove: ('smoov) verb: to smile & move (Let's smove!)
smover: ('smoo-ver) noun: one who smiles & moves (Now that guy's a smover.)
smovement: ('smoov-ment) noun: an organized effort to create a world of smovers (Obviously what's happening here is a part of a smovement.)
smoved: ('smooved) verb: 1. to be positively affected by coming into contact with a smover or experiencing a smovish act 2. past tense of smove (We were so smoved when we checked into our hotel because everyone smoved at all moments.)
smovish: ('smoo-vish) adjective: having qualities that illustrate a smile & move character or demeanor (You want to hear something really smovish?)
smoment: ('smo-ment) noun:a point in time of a smovish experience (Isn't this a beautiful smoment?)
smission: ('smi-shun) noun: a specific smovish task with which a group or person is charged (We're on a smission and nothing can stop us.)
smeltdown: ('smelt-down) noun: a breakdown of smovish characteristics by smover (She obviously had smeltdown.)
smovology: (smoov-'a-la-jee) noun: a branch of knowledge that deals with smiling & moving (Are you taking smovology this semester?)
smovoscopy: (smoo-'vas-ko-pee) noun: endoscopic examination of the heart and mind for smovish characteristics (We're a little concerned with your approach to things lately so we've scheduled a smovoscopy for you later in the week.)
smovotomy: (smoo-'va-te-me) noun: surgical severance of any smovish characteristics (What an @ss#ol&! The guy must have had a smovotomy before he left the house today) smovectomy can be substituted
smulch: ('smulch) noun: a protective covering spread or thrown over a complainer or non-smover to prevent their negative attitude from spreading (It was a great meeting. We had to throw a little smulch in one area of the room but other than that, things went very well.)
Got an idea? (comment, please)
(don't know about Smile & Move™? a quick little excerpt after the jump or you can read the whole thing online at SmileAndMove.com)
farce: 4 a : a ridiculous or empty show b: mockery
AIG received has received more than $170 billion of our money we pay out of our paychecks to the government.
AIG is paying out $165 million in bonuses to the same people who put the company in a position to need bailout money.
“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” Liddy (government-appointed chair of AIG) said in a letter to Geithner (Treasury Secretary).
Bonuses will be paid to 400 employees, ranging from $1,000 to $6.5 million according to the NY Times. They say 7 people might get over $3 million in bonus money.
I don't like the idea of a bonus for poor performance regardless of the amount (maybe it was put in place by the same people who got trophies as kids just for playing) but I'm less bothered by those getting less than $10,000. I'm guessing those are the people who just did what they were told to do by the big dogs getting the big bonuses (of course, now it looks like maybe they shouldn't have).
If you're one of those big dogs, I wonder how you go to a dinner party and comfortably face your friends.
A little sweet and sour video. It's got it all. (8.5 minutes)
We need to wake up. We need to be obligated to truth.
(the Beale reference at the beginning is to the 1976 Oscar winner, Network)
update: apparently this thing got big... here's Cramer being interviewed by Stewart... modern day Emperor's New Clothes
It was the day after the State of the Union on CBS’s Early Show.
Vice President Biden was talking about his work in heading up the oversight taskforce of the stimulus funds. (Heading it up.)
The journalists at CBS gave him a little heat over his “Web Site Blunder” at the end of his talk and for his suggestion that people with stimulus package questions call his office directly. What they didn’t really address was his more important answer to the small business owners of America.
A question from a small business owner who had to lay off most of her staff last year...
“What I'm looking for are real clear details about how is the stimulus package really going to help small businesses.”
Being a part of a ‘small business’ myself (and a taxpayer), I’m excited to listen.
Biden: Well, there's a number of ways. It depends on what your business is. I would recommend that woman call my office directly and I will be able to guide her as to how what pieces of this package would be directly helpful to her.
[Um... Really, Joe?]
For example, it may very well be that she's in a circumstance where she is not able, her customers aren't able to get to her, there's no transit capability, the bridge going across the creek to get to her business needs repair.
[A bridge… across the creek… needs repair?]
It may very well be that she's in a position where she is unable to access, her energy costs are so high, by providing smart meters, by being able to bring down the cost of her workforce, I mean the cost of operating her business.
But most importantly, where it's mainly going to come for the business people is getting credit flowing again. She probably has trouble maintaining inventory and paying salaries and that's because we gotta get the bank credit flowing and that's a second issue that the president spoke to.
But we're going to be very very demanding of the banks as we help them. We're going to demand that they act responsibly.
[Really? You’re going to ask them to work longer hours 6 - 7 days a week (like so many small businesses do to keep going) and not hoard the cash you (we) give them? And they’re going to do it?]
But she should call me directly.
[No… she shouldn’t.]
At the end of the talk, the journalist asked…
By the way, do you know the website [where people can “follow the money”]?
Biden: You know, I'm embarrassed.
You know the website number? (he asked of someone off camera) You know, I should have it in front of me and I don't. I'm actually embarrassed.
Journalist: I'm going to call your office later and get it.
Biden: Excuse me. It’s recovery.gov.
In his Inaugural address, the president inspired me with his call for initiative and responsibility.
That’s what’ll stimulate things. You… me… digging in, working harder, caring more, creating value in the world. Truth.
(fake money and bridges over creeks aren’t the solution)
I think I need to play this one.
(update: as you might know by now, I didn't win... 5 tickets (30 numbers total)... not one number right... what are the odds of that?)
A job is only a lesser job when the person doing it treats it as such.
I saw Smokey Robinson this past Saturday night at the Richmond Forum. He didn't sing -- it was more of a formal interview about his work over the last 50 years. About an hour and half that flew by with stories from his days growing up in Detroit with people like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and all the big Motown groups (they were all neighbors -- you believe that?).
One of his primary messages seemed to be the importance of grace and humility... that one should never feel they're more important than someone else because of their job.
"If an entertainer goes away it has much less of an impact than if a garbage man goes away."
Not his exact words but that was the gist. This was from a guy who produced.
At one point he talked about the "new" singer.
"The thing about a new singer is that they're never new. If they're 15-years-old, they've been singing since they were 5. If they're 20, they've been singing since they were 10." (again, not his exact words, but the gist)
Yesterday I saw this on Twitter from Jackie Danicki...
"some of the happiest people I know are in jobs that some of the most miserable people I know would consider beneath them"
So... how do I wrap this up?
(a little more from a couple years ago)
Smovish piece by Bill Taylor on "delivering a bit of humanity that rises above the day-to-day routine" (on the Harvard Business blogs).
He wrote it after finding "Steeling their courage" in today's Boston Globe -- a story of how a group of ironworkers are brightening the days of some young cancer patients.
Has me wondering what hidden opportunities are in my work.
(smovish: ('smoo - vish) - adjective: 1. having qualities that illustrate a Smile & Move character or demeanor)