...I'm not quite sure what to write about.
I thought about posting pics from the (many) birthday parties in August, but with 9/11 on Sunday, it just doesn't seem right. I thought about talking about the Category 5 Tantrum that Scotty had this morning while at a craft show, complete with kicking, hitting, and screaming, but I really don't want to. (I'm still exhausted from dragging the little Bear out by his hand while suffering the many, many looks of disapproval from the older women in attendance. It was a like a Critical Grandmother Convention).
So while I tend to my physical wounds from this morning, I thought I'd share some interesting ideas I heard on the Today Show from earlier this week.
Thomas Friedman, the columnist for the New York Times, recently came out with a new book with co-author Michael Mandelbaum titled, "That Used to Be Us." The title is taken from one of President Obama's speeches in which he was commenting on the fact that China now has the fastest super computer in the world, and Singapore's infrastructure is now superior to the United States. "That used to be us," he said, and I think it echoes with familiarity to all of us. We used to be the leader. We were top of the heap. Big Dawg.
I have not bought the book (yet), but Friedman and Mandelbaum go on to describe the five tenets that make a country a superpower - the same five pillars that this country was founded on. Things like excellent transportation systems and government-funded research. Education for everyone to the highest level attainable. That kind of thing. And then, in Friedman's interview with Ann Curry, he went on to talk about sustainable values (lifelong, inherent, and applicable regardless of time and position) versus situational values (flexible, fluid, and only applied when necessary). Due to the rise in situational values, we've seen this country make bad decision after bad decision (adjustable rate mortgages, anyone?), leaving us saying, "...that used to be us."
This caught my attention because the sustainable values are ones that I'd like to aspire to, and ones that I believe others can as well. So I want to share them with you, and let me know what you think. I feel as though it is good food-for-thought on the 9/11 weekend. Happy Friday, everyone.
1.) Think like an immigrant.
It's a new world out there - you need to learn, listen, and expect adversity. Adversity is not a bad thing; it will help you grow. But expect hard times while working toward the good ones.
2.) Nothing is owed to you; you need to work for it.
I LOVE THIS ONE.
This makes me think about marathon training. No one is going to just give me stuff -- it's my job to work for it. Miles are not going to run themselves. My legs aren't going to suddenly develop muscles overnight. If I want to run and finish a half (or maybe full, one day) marathon, it's up to me and me alone to train. If I skip a training day, the only person who suffers is, well, me. And that kind of sucks, so I'm not skipping any days.
3.) Think like an artisan: create, craft, develop and master.
This makes me think about Junior League. There is literally SO much going on in the organization, and so many places to make a real impact. So far, the reception for the Sage has been really positive. I feel as though my committee managed to take what was a tedious, time-intensive task and re-frame it into a much more positive, productive light, and something with real value. We had - and still have - the ability to really develop and produce a fantastic piece of literature for members and donors alike. The first issue is done; three to go. And I hope the each one continues to top the previous.
(and no, I did not get arrested at the post office on Wednesday, but I did make some new friends and learn a lot. I am also instituting the first ever JLLV "Bulk Mailing Training Program" to avoid bulk-mailing snafus in the future.)
4.) Bring something extra to the table; carve your initials in your work and be proud of it.
This is something that is definitely a sustainable value. Whether it's marathon training, Junior League, or just making dinner, I really do want to bring something extra to the table. It makes me think about my committee member Jessica, who hand-delivered the final copy of the Sage to my door at 9:30 at night. She didn't have to; she did it because she wanted to and she had pride in her work. These kinds of values have deep roots, and I just know Jess is (and continue to be) a total super star.
5.) Average is not good enough.
Now having been a new member in several different groups, it's fascinating to watch group dynamics. I think about the runners on Hill Day and how people tackle the (insanely hard) work-out. The go-getters take on the hills without so much as a peep, and the rest sit there and guffaw and moan. Part of me (having been in the guffawing group more times than I can count) thinks I'm spending more energy whining about the run, than actually running up the hill. I'm trying to stay focused on the idea that just getting up the hill is not good enough; I need to do it better than I did last time. I don't care what the guy next to me is doing; I'm only concentrating on my performance, and improving on that. And you know what? Hill Day is becoming something I enjoy, mainly because I'm getting better at it (slowly). With achievement comes self-confidence and worth. And if I can tackle hills at 6am, who says I can't tackle (metaphorically-speaking) a Category 5 Tantrum Bear?
Just please, no whining.