Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blink. Breathe.

Yesterday, I returned as the keynote speaker for the annual supervisor appreciation luncheon at a local school. Last year, I was called in as a last-minute replacement. This year, first string.

The organizer tasked me with Social Skills as my topic.

Social skills?  This called to mind an image of a rough hewn box made up of hammered together, sawed down 2 x 4s.  I could even see a streak of red in one of the walls--an imperfection.  And it was completely nailed shut, really no more useful than a yoga block.

I have no idea why this is the visual that came to mind, at least at first. Over the ensuing month, as the day approached, I understood that the nailed-shut box represented what I thought was social skills--the half-hour blocks of time both my boys get a few times a week. Once I understood that, I knew it was time to break open the box.

Social skills, it's often joked, need to be taught to everyone. And that's where I went with my talk. My call to action was to be kinder, gentler to one another, to pay attention to what we sound like when we speak to other people; to speak as we wish to be spoken to.

I recounted my younger son's bullying episode last Friday; it was he against four. He quietly told them to stop, and quietly sought help when they didn't.

And the adults acted swiftly.

And my little man admonished that "Sorry is not good enough!' And he is right--in our moment of pain, we don't want to hear it.

But, it's the beginning of healing. And he graciously accepted the apologies when he was ready.

We are here but a short time. We can take an extra moment for a smile and a kind word.

Because sometimes, there's no time for anything else.