The Truth–a poem

So, yesterday was a really tough day for me personally, and I won’t get into why. However, I learned a lot that day. Here is a poem about an unnamed subject dealing with truth:
The Truth
In the past, you had hurt me
Though unintentional, I had hurt you
Because I didn’t know what was true
I didn’t really know you

But in time, I realized I was wrong about you
Many people distorted was what true
And I couldn’t see the light—the light in your eyes
No matter how hard I tried

But God revealed to me the truth
The truth about you
And the beauty inside your heart
And what is really true about you

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Most Important Things In My Life (Top 4)

Some people have said, “You make time for the people and the things that you care for the most,” and there is a lot of truth in that.  If you don’t fall on this list, please don’t think that I don’t consider you important or loved, because you are. Sometimes, I fall and get these things mixed up with other things that are not-so urgent, but I strive not to again.  For me, I choose to live my life with these top 4 priorities in mind. These are my four most important priorities in my life and why:

1.) God–Since I was sixteen years old, God took a hold of my heart and saved me from myself and my selfish lifestyle. Yes, there were several years where I really didn’t grow much in the faith, but the last several years God has shown me so much.  However, even through the rough periods of my life, God was always there for me and didn’t let me give up completely on myself or others.  He is the most important in my life simply because He deserves first place and quite literally saved my life. I believe if God were not in my life right now, I would probably be either dead or in a mental institution. I would not have a job or be blogging today. I wouldn’t have all the wonderful people in my life that I have encountered now. Quite simply, it is mainly because of God (I believe) that I am here and where I am today!

2.) Family–My parents and brother have also been there for me since day one. Yes, sometimes they have had to tell me difficult truths about myself, but because of that I have become a better person.  We have been through so much together in my years of living.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world! They have never given up once on me, and they have always been there for me when I needed them the most. I want to be there for them and care for them when they need me. I will never turn my back on them when they need my help and love the most.  Like God, they have also helped me or at least supported me throughout my life so I could serve God better.

3.) My friends--This includes my friends at church, many of my co-workers, online friends, and other friends.  Last Friday, I had dinner with some of them, and I had a meaningful and fun time with them. Most, if not all of them, I knew from my previous church or a young adult event connected with other churches in the community.  The love and unity at that dinner was amazing! I never want to lose these, or any of my other friends. Sure, a lot of them may either move away or even eventually pass on, but I want to treasure the time I have with them and love them as Christ has loved me. All my friends have taught me so much about life and even about the power of God’s love and grace in my life.

4.) My job–The job that I have as a sales associate is very important to me too, because I believe it is the catalyst that God is using for me to show His love to the world around me. Of course, He is also providing income through my job and giving me the purpose of how I can serve Him and love others. I have learned so much in the past year that I have had my job. It’s been an amazing journey! After so many stops and trials on getting just the right job for my abilities and my joys, I believe God wants me at the place that I’m at right now.  Even if someday I have to have another job,  or move somewhere else, I will always bring what I have learned in this job and carry them with me throughout my life and to other work.  However, I really, really do want to stay in the job that I have now. For a long, long time, hopefully. However, my job pales in priority to my other top 3 priorities.

These are my top 4 important priorities in my life, in order from most important to least important. We all need to think about what is most important to us in this life, and prioritize accordingly. What are YOUR  top four priorities? Why? Please feel free to share them in the comments section.

The Importance of Being Thankful

Let’s say you had a bad hair day. You go to work and get stuck in traffic, making you 30 minutes late.  Your boss yells at you for being late. Clients are dissatisfied with you–and everyone around you it seems.  You finally come home after a long shift at work. Your family (or whoever you live with) yells at you for some minor infraction. You had a long, bad, tiring day. You wish it were over-FAST and SOON! So, you may be telling yourself, ” I have nothing to be thankful for today!” Wrong! Yes, it may sometimes feel that way, but even in those days, you have things in which to be grateful, like being able to start over a new day and even having a job (if you have one). And especially in the good days, never overlook your blessings and lose sight of what you have been given. Here’s why:

  1. If you take your blessings for granted, you might lose them in the future.—This is especially true relationally. If you don’t appreciate someone and take them for granted, sooner or later they will run out of emotional energy–which is the work it takes to interact with you and keep you happy or satisfied with them– and distance themselves from you, or even cut you off completely! Also, if you don’t take time to enjoy people or things that are given to you, sooner or later, they will either die or get destroyed, stolen, or given away to someone who will. Never take anyone or anything for granted.
  2. When you appreciate someone or something, they will give you joy.–Think about it. When someone is genuinely thankful for who you are or what you’ve done, and tells you as much, how would you feel? Appreciated? Loved? Accepted? Like all you have done for him/her is worth it? Probably this…and more! Never forget to thank the people in your life who have made a positive difference in your life. Take time to enjoy the blessings you have been given. Don’t hoard all of it for “another time,” which I have made the mistake of doing and led me to become depressed. Yes, it’s important to save some money and resources, but don’t save so much of them that you can’t even enjoy any of it!
  3. When you appreciate someone or something, you will gain a more positive experience in life.–That has certainly been true for me. I have found that when I take time to appreciate the positive about someone, instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of him or her, I get along with that person better! Being thankful also deepens relationships. When I have problems getting along with someone it is often because I have not actively appreciated any positive characteristics in him or her, and instead dwelled on how they hurt me or what an “evil” person they are!  One day I gave someone that I had trouble getting along with before an encouraging note saying that said in so many words that I was praying for them and a verse in the New Testament was written in the front, pre-made. When I gave it to that person, they were really touched by it and probably even teared up a bit. Actively encouraging or appreciating people, has given me a whole new perspective that I’ve never even considered before.

Here’s a list (not comprehensive though) of things that I’m thankful for.(I would suggest cultivating your own. In my prayer journal, I always put at least 3 things that I’m thankful for that day. ) What are you thankful for? I would love to know, and cultivate a chain reaction of thankfulness.

What I am thankful for:

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. a job
  5. that I’m alive and breathing
  6. customers to keep my company going
  7. doctors and nurses to treat any illnesses we may have
  8. police officers to keep our lands safe
  9. firefighters to put out fires
  10. my managers at the store I work at
  11. the coworkers that work with me to get the job done
  12. my church which I get spiritual counsel and worship God
  13. my pastors—who give some spiritual counsel and preach God’s Word
  14. deacons–who help the pastors out
  15. military-who keep our country safe
  16. wordpress—helps me keep this blog on here
  17. you the readers–that give me reason to keep writing
  18. food
  19. clean, running water
  20. electricity
  21. Internet

Developing a Caring Attitude

My pastor said in his sermon this past week, “[The I-don’t-care attitude] is a scary, scary attitude.” He also said, “The I-don’t-care attitude is the scariest attitude in our culture today.” And I agree with him. However, I’m not saying that you personally don’t care, because it’s obvious that if you read my blog, you do. However, this nonchalant attitude towards life and other people may be prevalent in some people around you. By developing an even more caring attitude in yourself, you may be able to help influence positive change. Here are some ways that I found effective in developing a more caring attitude in ourselves:

1.) Find and live life with purpose.–If you or someone you know needs help in that, please see this post. If you have a bigger goal in mind when you live life, you can more easily direct everything you do, say, and think to that one big goal.  For instance, for me, my purpose in life is to glorify Him in everything I do and say, and to enjoy Him forever. So, when I go to work, it’s not just to earn a paycheck, but also to make a positive difference to those around me and to share God’s love with everyone.  When I am at home with my family, it’s not just to get something from them, but to share God’s love with them. This goal, for me, has eliminated a lot of my previous “I -don’t-care” attitude towards life when I felt like I didn’t have any purpose or plan to my life at all.

2.) Make an investment in other people, other than just your family and yourself.–Yes, please please make sure you are investing in your family at home, and there is a time for self-care to make sure your emotional and physical energies are replenished. However, what I am saying is that those are not the only people in which you should invest. If you have a job, make sure you are striving to invest in those people as well. You don’t have to invest wholeheartedly in everyone. Actually, you probably won’t have time! However,  make sure you make a good investment in at least 1-2 people there. I’m investing in this way with several people at work. How do I do that?  If you are a religious or spiritual person, I recommend praying for them. Every. single. day.  Whether you are or not, I would also recommend going out of your way to encourage them, whether by giving them a note saying (sincerely) what a great job they are doing at x project, or by giving your praise verbally. Be specific in your praise if possible. Also, if they do something nice for or to you, make sure you thank them. (This goes for everyone at your job, not just for the one or two in which you are invested. ) If the one or two people you invested are going through a rough time, make sure you comfort them and try to help them in any way you can.

If you don’t work (and even if you do), I would make sure you invest in one or two friends that you spend time with, and/or your neighbors that live with you.  Do the same things. If they are going through a rough time, comfort them, help them by maybe making a meal for them or by driving them to doctor’s appointments (if they need one).  If you don’t have the resources to do that, I would still encourage them in their abilities and their good parts of their personality. I would be sure to spend some time with them, getting to know them and to care for them.

I want to be honest, and I am sorry if I sound a little harsh, but if you say you don’t have time to invest in people, then you are being infected with an “I-don’t-care” attitude. We make time for things we care about. Caring for a few people is a good way to start.

3.) Get to know people better.—This goes with #2. Spend time with people, both offline or online if possible. I know people can hurt us, but it is important to try not to stay isolated. I’ve found that when we isolate ourselves, that we  lose purpose and meaning to our lives, and thus become depressed. We can do this by asking other people questions about themselves and their lives, and thereby build relationships with them. We also need to care about the answers they give to us, as strategic ways not only to know them better, but also to better understand and care for them. Yes, there are times that, me included, need some time alone, but don’t make that time too extensive or prolonged.

4.) Listen to what other people are saying to you.– This does not just mean saying, “Uh-huh, Uh-huh,” and nodding your head, when your mind is somewhere else. It means really focusing and paying attention to what is being said. This means trying to emphasize with what is being said by asking questions related to what they are saying. For example, let’s say that a person is confiding in you about a problem they are having with another person. You may ask, ” X Person [insert name of offending person here] did [offending action] to you and you felt hurt, angry and sad, am I getting at this correctly? ” This question shows that you are both paying attention to what they are saying and feeling, and care enough to make sure you are perceiving them correctly. The person who confided in you may say something like, “Correct.” and then expand on the situation, or they may say you are wrong and correct you. Try not to take the correction personally. It does not mean you are a rude or ignorant person if you perceive something wrongly; it just makes you human.

5.) When you do something, do it with all your heart and soul.–This can apply not only at a job, but also doing household chores or making the sacrifice to serve others before yourself. I try to do this at my job. For instance, if my manager wants me to straighten the clearance section at our store, I don’t just do it to do it. I try to do it very neatly and set little goals for myself to do it better than I did before. Why make the time and effort to do such a boring and maybe “menial” task, you may be thinking? I would answer you, “It’s because I care about doing a good job, and I want other people to care too.” Have you ever noticed when you consistently care about doing a good job, whether at work or with household chores, that other people around you take notice and may start to care too? Every time you sacrifice for others to serve them, they and others may be watching you and wanting to see if you will be faithful and consistent in doing that. If you are, you will make a great, positive impact in this world.

We all need to care for and about others to make a positive impact on the world around us. We can do this by living our live with purpose, investing in other people’s lives, getting to know them better, listening to them, and by doing everything with passion and drive. Try this, and see if you can change the society around you by caring about others even better than you did before today.

I’ll Never Give Up On You- A poem

I know I usually do essays, but this time I want to do a poem about what God has been teaching me about how to love others, particularly the unnamed subject in this poem.

I’ll Never Give Up On You

You may treat me bad.
You may make me sad.
You may treat me like gold
Precious in your sight

You may have tough days
And you may get yelled at
Or for all your hard work
You may get a raise

But no matter what you go through
Or whatever you may do
I will never give up on you
I will never be done with you

Not just because I have to
Not to earn some coveted prize
But because I care
And I want you to know… God loves you

What I Learned From My Pastor’s Sermon

For a videotaped transcript of the sermon I’m referring to (May 21st sermon) see this page: https://www.facebook.com/ibcbolingbrook/.

I had a bad day yesterday. It was really busy at work, and both the managers and associates were in really bad moods.  I was so angry at several people, and just…it wasn’t a good day.

Today, this morning at church, I came in a really sour mood and just wanted to be left by myself, yet at the same time wanted someone to confide in about yesterday, so I wouldn’t feel so alone.  Then, I heard my pastor’s sermon.

He talked about Genesis 6, where humankind had become so evil that God grieved in His heart that He had even conceived creating them! Noah and his family were the only ones that even had an inkling of gratitude and worship towards God.  My pastor talked about how hard it must have been for Noah to keep a righteous attitude towards people who were continually mocking and demeaning him, his family, and his God. My pastor also talked about God’s grace. From this sermon, here are some things I learned that I think could be applied to everyone, even if you are not a Christian, to your daily life:

1.) Don’t test anyone’s patience by continually disrespecting or mocking them, especially God.

I learned that even God’s patience has a limit. This can also be applied to people as well. A person can take only so much abuse and disrespect before they break and/or totally go ballistic against their abuser, unless a.) They find a way to stay away from their abuser or abusers. b.) They find a different way to interact with them, so the emotional pain and investment is not as great.  In the case of Genesis 6, God was very patient (waited literally years) towards the people he created. He waited for longer than most people even live now, for His creation to stop mocking and disregarding Him, and instead give Him the respect and worship He deserved. They never did, and so God got so angry at them, He sent a flood to wipe them all out. I have heard a story about how a wife who was regularly abused and degraded by her husband finally seeks revenge by shooting him to death. I have heard stories about abused children finally having enough and killing their parents for the horrific abuse they (the children) suffered at their (parents’) hands.  I’m not saying what the wife or the children did was right or OK, but that it is understandable given the circumstances.

2.) Give grace to people even though they may not deserve it.

This one really got me. My pastor told us that Noah was a righteous man who preached (read: warned) the people of his day about the impending flood, so that they would hopefully turn back from their wickedness and make things right with God and each other. However, they did not, and instead not only did not take him seriously, but (I believe) mocked and degraded him, his family, and God as well. Since it says in the Bible that Noah was a righteous man, it can be implied that he probably treated these wicked people with at least some of the grace God gave him as well.  God treated the evil people with grace too, in that He allowed them to live for a long time and enjoy some of the fruits of the land to sustain themselves.

This can be applied to our lives as well. Do you have a person in your life–maybe it is someone in your family, maybe it is someone at school or at work, maybe it is a friend who has betrayed you–with whom you have a difficult relationship? I know it may be counter -societal, but show them grace.  Show them you are not like before, or like everyone else. Everyone else may give them a difficult time (in reaction to them acting like a jerk) too, but when you show them grace it shows that you are different, that maybe they do have motivation to change and become a better person to you and everyone else around them. It may take a long time for them to realize this, but you must strive to do the right thing and not give up on them completely. (Disclaimer: If you are in a dangerous or abusive situation, you probably should give up on them –and this does NOT apply, at least until they start to change, but you still can treat them with grace if a situation comes up and you somehow encounter them.)

3. )*this is for primarily Christians*: God will always be there with you and will give you grace, even through the tough times.

My pastor broke his arms many years ago, but he says God still provided him with grace because it is through that experience, that he experienced the kindness, caring, and patience of many people that helped him.  Yes, he suffered, but a lot of good things came out of his experience, even according to my pastor himself.

Yesterday was a bad experience for me. I was upset at several people, and didn’t even really want to talk to anyone there anymore.  I thought if I talked to them more, I would have said something that I would have regretted for the rest of my life, and I would be, at the very least, disciplined. I didn’t even feel safe. However, God taught me several things: a.) He will be there with me when I go back to work tomorrow. b.) He taught me to treat the people who hurt me yesterday with more grace, even though they don’t deserve it. By the way, the very definition of grace is “unmerited favor.” c.) He taught me to forgive those who had hurt me, and just let it go. d.) He taught me to think about things, before I react.

So,  if anyone is hurting or if someone has hurt you, it is important to keep these things in mind, so that anger and hatred don’t consume you. We should also be careful not to hurt others, so that we don’t destroy our relationships with them, and if we do, that we apologize contritely, so that the relationship can possibly be salvaged.

Power of Words

What we say can mean a whole lot to people–either positively or negatively, depending on what words we use. This is because each word has a meaning behind it.–something that can either make or break a life. This is why we should always, always, strive to use our words to encourage someone, rather than to tear someone down.  When we tear someone down with our words, we risk not only creating distrust in a relationship, but tearing it down altogether.  Here are some common ways people use their words to hurt others…and also some ways that people can use their words to instead encourage one another. For more information on the power of words, see also this post:

Ways people tear down others using words:

  1. Using words to blame others for their own mistakes or problems- This often happens in families or among close friends.  Sometimes when a person doesn’t feel heard and is constantly being invalidated by another, he or she will start to blame the invalidating person for anything or everything going on in their lives. They would say to them, “If you hadn’t done x,  then I would have not been passed over for that job I really wanted.” or something to that effect. They will use the other person as a scapegoat and refuse to accept responsibility for their own mistakes and failures.
  2.  Invalidating—This often happens when a person is too caught up in their own life and problems to listen to the other (often, hurting) person. It also happens when a person doesn’t care about the hurting person’s problems.  For instance, if I told you that I had a bad day, and you said something like “Suck it up, buttercup.” or “Ok, that’s nice,” in a dismissive, sarcastic way, that would be invalidating my feelings and that I had a bad day. Instead,  using this example, you should listen to what I have to say or at the very least express sympathy for my pain and suffering.
  3. Being sarcastic.—This often happens when a person is upset with someone, but doesn’t just want to yell at them. For instance, if a child doesn’t want to listen to his or her parents’ directions to clean his or her room, he or she may say, ” It doesn’t have to be perfectly clean you know!” knowing it isn’t even clean at all!
  4. Using curse words.–This means a person uses foul language to tear down and insult someone. For instance, if a person feels another has hurt or insult them by the other person’s words and/or actions, he or she may call them a[n] [insert swear word here] to their face or behind their back.
  5. Insulting someone—This can happen in many ways. One of the ways a person uses words in this mean and derogatory way is to mock them.  For instance,  President Trump was accused by some people of mocking the disabled and women by making fun of their mannerisms using his words.  Another way some people unfortunately insult people is to degrade them. For instance, a parent may verbally abuse their children by saying that “They never do anything right.” or saying, “You’re worthless. I wish you were never born to me!”

Ways we can encourage people with our words:

  1. We can validate them.–When we see or hear someone in pain, we can first of all, listen and hear what they have to say. Then, we can sympathize with them by saying, “I’m sorry you are going through this. What can I do to help you through this?” We can ensure them (if that’s the case) that what they are going through is not their fault. If it is their fault, we can validate them by saying that we will help them to make amends and forgive them for their errors.
  2. We can refuse to slander or gossip about others.– One of the most damaging things one can do to another person is to slander or gossip about them, so that their reputation is ruined or, at the very least, marred. If you refuse to say unkind things about others, it will be much easier to encourage and uplift them.  Even if those things are true, I have learned (often, unfortunately, the hard way) we can instead talk to the person directly about any issues we have with them.  If you are scared or for some reason can’t talk to them directly, at least talk to someone who can actually do something to rectify the issue or issues you’re having with said person. Once someone said that if you are not part of the problem or solution to an issue between people,  then you have no right to blab about another person in an unkind way. If you do, then it is gossip.
  3. We can use our words to uplift someone in need of our love and encouragement.–What I started to do at work is to make little notes of encouragement to people who I feel need it. When we use our words, either orally or in print, to compliment and/or encourage someone, it can give them the joy they so desperately need in their lives. For instance, one of my managers was having a stressful day and it was his birthday. So, I had some of my co-workers and managers write him good wishes for his day, and when I gave it to him and told him what a great manager he was (and he is), he teared up a little, obviously touched by the encouragement that those co-workers, managers, and I gave him.  I have seen when I take the time to encourage someone, instead of gossiping or slandering someone, people usually take notice, and their faces light up.
  4. We can speak the truth in love.–When you must correct someone or admonish him or her for something they are doing that is hurting themselves or others, it is often an unpleasant experience. However, we don’t have to avoid talking to them about the issue or sweep it under a rug, so to speak, in order to build someone up. We don’t have to be nasty or insulting to them either. We can speak the truth in love instead.  For instance, if a child’s parents catches their child lying , they doesn’t have to call the child a “liar” or let the child lie to them. They can instead focus on the bad behavior, instead of the child’s worth as a person.  For instance, they can say, “Tommy, when you lied about having already taken the trash out, it made me feel angry and hurt.  I know you can do better than lying to us.  Can you trust us to tell the truth next time, so we can trust you?”  Use the phrase, when you did x, it made me feel X (name the emotion—angry, hurt, frustrated, sad, disappointed, etc…). Also, affirm the person after you let the person know you’re upset at him/her. This doesn’t mean you condone the behavior, just the person.  Also, let the person know how you would like them to change their behavior. For instance, Tommy’s parents asked him to be more honest with them next time so he could regain their trust.
  5. We can demonstrate humility by apologizing and by honestly committing to make real amends when we wrong someone or otherwise make a mistake.—For instance, if you upset a boss at work by doing something incorrectly or inadequately,  instead of making excuses or blaming others for the wrong that occurred, you can apologize. For instance, when a manager points out a mistake that I did in straightening, instead of making excuses for why I did it wrongly or inadequately, I could say, “I’m sorry for X mistake I made in straightening. How can I commit to doing this work better?” This response would not only be genuinely humble, but also shows you are open to learning from your mistakes.

These are just some of the ways people (unfortunately) tear down others, and some of the ways that people can build up people.  I am not perfect in building up people in any of these ways. There are still many things about encouraging others and not tearing them down that I need to learn, and we all do. However, the more we proactively encourage others, and the less we tear them down with our words, the better this world will be for them.

Benefits of Diversity

I will admit straight out…I don’t understand racists and other people who are prejudiced against people’s differences, especially that which the target people cannot control, such as the color of their skin. And wouldn’t the world be so boring if everyone were exactly the same? I think so, and that’s one of the reasons I love interacting with others so much (though I do need some alone time sometimes), because I enjoy learning about diverse opinions, beliefs, cultures and lifestyles.

There are many benefits to diversity in the human race. Here are just some of them:

  1. Diversity makes the world a more interesting place to live.–Face it. If everyone were the same as you (or me), it would not only be scary, but incredibly boring and pointless as well. For instance, many of my friends love olives. I hate olives! If everyone liked olives, then there would be no olives left! Conversely, if like me, everyone hated olives, all the olives would eventually rot and be useless to everyone! Also, if everyone were like you and thought like you, how would anyone learn anything new? You wouldn’t really be able to learn much.  Diversity allows for a more interesting and growing world.
  2. With that, diversity allows us to increase our knowledge. —I think God made different kinds of people and nations, with different tastes and opinions, so we could learn more about the world He created and give Him the glory. He also wanted us to have deep, meaningful relationships and learn from one another. Think about how much we have learned from all of the people we have ever met! It would be more than the bandwidth that this blog website could ever hold! Even if I shared with readers how much I have learned from diverse people in my life with differing opinions would probably not be able to be all encompassing!
  3. Diversity helps us to appreciate what we have been given ourselves.-–If we were all the same, we would not be able to really see how much has been given to us because we would not really have another frame of reference, for which to compare ourselves. Talking with and learning about people from differing backgrounds and who went through difficult (often more difficult) life experiences helps us to treasure our lives more. We not only appreciate what we’ve been given but we are also able to understand and appreciate other people and their experiences more.
  4. Diversity helps us serve others better.--When we are able to empathize and/or understand other people who are different than us, we will be more able to be equipped to help others who need it. For instance, if you understand a certain culture or sector of society better, you will know where they are coming from, why they do things a certain way, and are able to basically relate to them more effectively and on a deeper level, than if you don’t know or understand them at all. For another example, if you understand the challenges of being poor or disabled, you are more likely to be met with openness and grace, than if you just judged against them or couldn’t relate to them at all.

As one can see, there are many benefits to diversity. This is why when people are prejudiced against or don’t value diversity at all, we need to call them out on it. Prejudice is harmful not only because it hampers our relationship with others, but it also closes the door to true knowledge and wisdom, and makes the world seem pointless and boring. Yes, you can and should embrace similarities in the midst of these differences, but we should also value and appreciate differences by loving people and the diversity they bring with them.

Two People: A poem in honor of my parents

This is a poem I made about 6 years ago. This poem is still as true as ever today as it was then. Enjoy, and hope you too can find something of value in it!

 

Two People-dedicated to my parents, with love

Two people swept in a torrent of blessings and trials

Bring a five pound six ounce baby into this world

Many  nights are bound with anguish and tears,

Trials and fears,

Watching their baby grow up in a sinful and troubled world

But then with their child also come days of enjoying and relaxing

Of rewarding and rejoicing!

 

Two people swept in a torrent of blessings and trials,

Sacrifice everything they have in this troubled and difficult world

For their then five pound six ounce baby,

Who is now grown up as a lady

Whom to they still make sacrifices for and love

As  she learns  more and more

To love them and the One up above

Qualities We Should Emulate of My Favorite Manager

This post is made in honor and appreciation of my favorite manager at my current job. This list is in no particular order, and for anonymity purposes we will call this manager, Tom* (*=Not his real name). Hopefully, we can all cultivate these characteristics in our own lives, and not only if we want to become a manager or some type of boss over people:

  1. Tom gets along with almost everyone.—Sure, like everyone else, Tom sometimes has conflicts with people, but he never really lets them eat away at his soul or personality. He even tries to get along with people that anger or annoy him. He doesn’t seem to hold grudges against anyone, at least in my job. I’ve only heard one person ever really complain about him, and that person is no longer with the company. Almost everyone at work I know has at least some respect for him.
  2. Tom is honest.–He doesn’t tell associates only what they want to hear, but has the decency to shoot straight with them when necessary.  When someone asks how he is doing, and he is feeling badly, he doesn’t just tell people fine, as 90% of us would do. He would tell you honestly that he is feeling badly. I appreciate that kind of frankness in him, because it shows that he can be trusted.
  3. Tom has a good sense of humor about may things.–I believe that Tom’s humor shows up even when things are terrible or stressful for him. For instance, his job is often long, tiring and stressful. However, he still takes time to joke (well, in this case, only half a joke) with me, and I with him, about him needing a nap. I would say, ” Do you need a nap?,” and he would reply, ” Yes, I really need a nap.” in a half-jokingly way. Also, when I was straightening a particular area of the store, knowing and believing I did well, he tells me in a mock-stern voice, something like, ” I need to talk to you.” Not knowing him well at the time, I got scared that I was in some type of trouble. Knowing I was scared, he says, “I’m just kidding. You did great on [name of particular area here]!” Then, we both laughed.
  4. Tom is organized.–We used to (sometimes still do) have nightly store meetings, so the associates know what section to straighten for the night and any new news that we need to know about the store’s operating procedures.  Tom doesn’t have long-winded discussions or take a long time rounding up people to come to the meeting. He does things fast and efficiently, so we can be more productive at work.
  5. Tom has reasonable expectations for everyone.—He knows that some associates need to complete their computer training in a timely manner, so he allows them some time to do them so they can get caught up if they are behind.  He is understanding if someone has an illness that prevents them from doing certain things in the store, or if they have a family emergency that prevents them from being at work for awhile. However, he also knows if people are trying to trick him into giving them more leeway than they deserve or if they are just being lazy, and he doesn’t tolerate that.
  6. Tom is able to keep his cool in front of people.—I’ve never seen him yell at a customer, and I have only rarely heard him yell at an associate.  When he is upset, he knows to not say or do something he would regret as a manager or a person later. He is very level-headed and doesn’t let his emotions eat at him. This is something we, me included, could really learn from him.
  7. Tom is fair to everyone.—He doesn’t only help certain people all the time, and not others. He helps everyone who needs his help the best way he can.  He also doesn’t show he favors one person over another.
  8. Along with having reasonable expectations, which I already discussed in #5, Tom has clear expectations of what he wants of associates. — He gives clear directions on how and what he wants done.   I don’t often leave confused as to what he expects out of me.  He has expectations, and sticks to them.  For instance, if he wants us to greet a customer who is within ten feet of us, he expects just that. He won’t waiver on that.
  9. Tom knows his limits.–When he is too tired or stressed, he knows to go home to his family.  Also, he knows to make time to spend with his wife and children whenever possible. He doesn’t stay at the store all day, if he has other obligations, unless upper management requires that of him.

From these characteristics, we can see that Tom is a good boss to have. He is not just a good boss, but a good person as well. May we all see something of value in Tom and apply one or all of these characteristics to our own lives.