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Thoughts While Thinking - September 2007

Last month was my mother's birthday.  She would have been 109 had she lived so long.  She died at 96.  But she left a lasting impression on more people than I can imagine.  I think she was a "people whisperer".

When I was growing up, Mom never yelled at me.  When I was just a little bitty kid she told me what the rules were, what was right and wrong, and what the Ten Commandments said.  Maybe she had to remind me a few times when I strayed from the path, but she did it in a quiet but firm way.

After a reminder, or maybe two, then she would tell me how disappointed she was in me.  And I know she meant it.  And when you love your Mom, you really don't want to disappoint her.

She was a great teacher - even though she only had five years of school at the little Lutheran School at Twin Mountain.  Which reminds me, in our family there was never a question of,  "What are we going to do on Sunday?".  On Sunday, you went to church.  It was a good lesson that still holds in our family.

I learned from another teacher in more recent years.  I was helping him stage a "Swap Meet" where people bring old cars and parts, and others come to look for cars to restore or parts for cars they are restoring.  This was new to me, but I could imagine the bedlam when folks started arriving to fill the 1000 spaces we had sold for the event.  When I asked how we were going to control all these people, pulling trailers, out in the big open pasture, the producer of the event said he would take care of it.

The next morning, the exhibitors were to start arriving, and so did the producer of the event - with a large 4' x 8' sign, which he placed conspicuously in the registeration area.  It said:  "RULES - No.1  Use good judgement.  No.2  There are no other rules."  It worked.

During my working years, I remembered my Mom's way of "making her point".  When I had a staff of 35 professionals, I remembered, when they made a mistake, not to yell and tell them how stupid they were, but rather tell them how disappointed I was that they didn't use good judgement - or follow our policies and procedures.

I now see life as a learning experience - every day - and then using what I have learned.  I wish I could send this to Mom.