Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My father is a business management consultant. Now what is that, you might ask. Well, my dad goes into a business, looks around, finds the manager, consults him, and then leaves. It's a very efficient, yet vague business. "If you can't solve people's problems, there's plenty of money to be made in prolonging them."

When I was a kid, and I came home from school very upset about what someone had said to me, my father would sit me down and ask what happened. I would recount a horrific tale of verbal assault in which I was an innocent bystander and was called the worst thing my 3rd grade mind could imagine: a poo-head.

Streams of tears would run down my face. "Oh the humanity!" I would wail.

My father, with love in his eyes, would look at me and say, "Why are you a poo-head?"

In my fit of rage I would spout a number of things of why he hated me.

And again, my father would look at me and clarify, "No Steven, what can you think of that would make him call you that?"

I was flabbergasted (even though I didn't know the meaning of that word at the time)! My father was supposed to hug me and make it all feel better! He was supposed to say something like, "Oh that so and so doesn't know anything about you. You are amazing just the way you are." And then I'd sniff a little bit and run out to play again.

Now, my little 3rd grade head couldn't figure out my father's wisdom. And even I still have trouble with it now! But I'm slowly getting better at it. Well, I hope so.

I talked with my dear mum this last Sunday about some personal issues I have. My mum is very good at telling me what I need to hear, without it coming across as harsh. But maybe that's just because we have worked through so much before.

Sorry, getting sidetracked. We talked about the way my mind works. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit after being given feedback, of being hyper-critical of the feedback-giver's own foibles. It's almost an immediate reaction. I do take into consideration what they've said. But then I think, "look at all this stuff I'm trying to change and *they* are not doing anything!" Which is probably my attempt to fulfill the victim role and have to do less work than before.

So my mum told me to snap out of that attitude. It isn't healthy for anyone. I end up feeling resentful of the other person, and then do nothing about the feedback I had received.

Now this is not to say that every person should actually follow-through with every piece of feedback given. I was given some anonymous feedback at work saying that I don't care about my students. That's obviously not true. There are much better, higher paying, less stressful jobs out there that I could take if I didn't care. I don't work there for the money. I work there because I care.

So in that case, I feel justified in refusing to really consider that feedback.

But in other circumstances I can't do that. My mum and I also talked about what we expect from other people. We expect *them* to do the work, and in turn make *us* happy. When in reality, if we just worked on making ourselves happy, more people that we surround ourselves with would be happy. "Be the change you wish to see in others"

So I'll end this blog with a funny little story about two of my students at work. And I'll change their names.

Bob and Sally are dating. And they are so mushy and lovey-dovey that I wanna take a blunt instrument to my head when I see them. But Sally is a bit of a ditz.

Students were coming from Spain to visit our school. Every other year, they come to our school, and our school goes to their school the following year. And back and forth we go. Wee!

Anyway, Bob is from Europe. I don't remember which part. When he heard those students were coming, he said, "It'll be so nice to have some other Europeans around."

To which Sally responded, "Bob...Span is in *South America*!"

*Induce blunt instrument head-bashing*