The past few weeks I’ve been helping MJ prepare her portfolio. We are also up to the point in the Pathways Program where we put together MJ’s visual resumé. The Employee Relationship Manager will use the resumé to present MJ to companies who are willing to give internship opportunities and to see if they have a need that matches MJ’s skill sets. Last Tuesday the Career Navigator met with us to review her ideas for putting it together. Like most resumés, we’re focusing on her strengths, experience, and skills. Though it’s been fun to see all of her work coming together, it hasn’t been an easy process. I’ve had to be careful not to offend her design sensibilities and I wasn’t always successful. It’s taken a lot of effort to build her up and instill confidence.
Both of my kids have been in particular need of encouragement. So, in the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to pay close attention to those times when I need to either hold my tongue, or say something that will build up their self-esteem. It’s required me to have a lot of patience while I actually sit and work with them. It’s also had me experimenting with the language I use and ways of communicating that might change their perspective.
Here are some notes from that book I’ve mentioned before, The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown, where she talks about creativity and ability. “Shame exists in schools – 85% of the men and women we researched could recall a school incident that was so shaming that it forever changed the way they thought of themselves as learners. What makes this even more haunting is half are creativity scars. They were told or shown that they were not good artists, dancers, etc. … Just because we didn’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess gifts and talents that only we can bring to the world. Just because someone failed to see the value in what we can achieve or create doesn’t change the value in its worth or ours.”
Brené also wrote about an experience she had that challenged her to consider that “in general, people are doing the best that they can, given the tools that they have.” I’ve given that some thought and agree that there’s truth in that. When I get frustrated that my kids are not doing things the way I want them to, not planning ahead, not managing their time better, it’s helpful to remember that. Maybe I need to figure out what they are missing. What tools or skills are they lacking that I might provide or teach?
And if I believe that, how would it change the way I treat everyone I encounter? Can I believe that the woman who’s having a hard time controlling her kids in the store, the cashiers when the lines are long, or the servers at the restaurant are doing their best? How can I be a blessing to them?
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-14
As I continue to pray for wisdom and guidance, God has intervened. The other day, MJ’s brother said to me that he noticed how he could apply strategy and mind-set as it applies to video gaming to other areas of his life. And this one is big… MJ has a Facebook friend who has recently found herself to be homeless. This has really put things into perspective for MJ. And, MJ has such big heart that she wired her some of her own money. We encouraged her to call 2-1-1 but they put her on a waiting list because the shelters are overcrowded. We will see what else we can do since she is far away. It’s difficult to know how we can help her find a place to live. That is the priority.
As we head into the winter break, our schedules are so full of activity. I pray that I will keep things in perspective while I serve and encourage my family and all of those around me. I pray that the joy of Christmas fills our hearts and love overflows.
The visual resumé is complete and the people from Pathways begin meeting with companies this week. Pray they find a match for an internship really soon!