As I have mentioned in a previous post, I love to knit. Another thing I love to do is encourage others, thus the blog, and my never ending fascination with ways encouragement is effective and ways it is not.
One way of encouraging others is letting them know that you care. Sometimes knowing that someone is thinking of you helps to lift your spirits. In that vein I would like to highlight several knitting sites that encourage a donation of knitted items for people or animals in need.
For Chickens A story about retirees knitting sweaters for chickens.
For Elephants A story about a very cold winter in India and the villagers who knit to take care of the local elephants.
Hats for the Homeless In 2009 they provided 50 knitted hats to a local homeless shelter. The next year they gave over 900! In 2016 they gave away 2,200. The website provides patterns and drop off locations.
Knots of Love is covering heads of people going through chemo. They offer a huge array of knitted and crocheted patterns and also a few guidelines.
So if you are ready to reach beyond yourself to give the gift of warmth and love, pick your pattern. Be sure to consider what causes are important to you, and also how much yarn and time you have. The elephant project looks a bit overwhelming to me! That elephant must be very special to the people of the village!
Today I am reorganizing the principles and so they are numberless for a few more days.
Original principle #4, Something good for me may not be good for you.
We make great judgments based on what is good for us, what works for us. And sometimes we fall into the trap of, “it works great for me so it must work great for you”. And as you will see in the example, if someone chooses to approach a situation from a different angle we may get frustrated and assume an air of disbelief that “they” do not do something the way “I” do. But if they did the world would be a nicer place.
In the beginning of Chapter 2, Mr. Lockwood just traveled 4 miles across the English moor and arrived at Wuthering Heights…
Being unable to remove the chain, I jumped over, and, running up the flagged causeway bordered with straggling gooseberry bushes, knocked vainly for admittance, till my knuckles tingled, and the dogs howled.
So at this point he is very frustrated with his approach to the house and says…
At least, I would not keep my door barred in the day time…
How many times do we find ourselves doing the same thing. Justifying our frustration or disbelief by criticizing someone else. If only everyone did things like we did, then all would be well. Not really, I don’t think so.
Perhaps the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights have great reason to keep their entrance chained and untidy. I haven’t finished Chapter 2 yet so I don’t know. And, just because I think something would be a good reason does not mean that it is good for someone else. Only the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights are qualified to decide how to keep their entrance. No matter what the rest of us think!
Last weekend 2 of my daughters and I took a quick trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota with a side trip into Wyoming to see Devil’s Tower.
There were some awesome benefits to traveling to a touristy place in the off season.
Little to virtually NO traffic. This is nice because the landscape is unfamiliar and it takes some time to get bearings in a new place. We frequently made fast stops to see a buffalo, mountain goats, or far off views of Mount Rushmore, and never caused a backup. During the busy season the tolerance level for bad driving habits isn’t very high.
Cheaper hotel rooms. Off season rates are often much lower than peak season rates.
Less people=no wait times or obstructed views. Note the path at Devil’s Tower, just us. Note the view of Mt. Rushmore from inside the cafeteria. Just one couple out on the deck.
There were only a few drawbacks.
Daylight is not as plentiful in late October as it is in June.
“If you have two or three real passions, don’t feel like you have to pick and choose between them. Don’t discard. Keep all your passions in your life…The thing is, you can cut off a couple passions and only focus on one, but after a while, you’ll start to feel phantom limb pain.”
I love this quote because it somehow gives me permission to follow my passion for knitting, and my passion for encouraging others. I have a few other passions, like reading great books, and occasionally creating new recipes in my kitchen.
One of my strengths from the Strengths Finder is focus. For the last month I have been focusing on knitting. Laser focused on knitting. So much that I have temporarily abandoned blogging. Time to re balance.
Above is a picture of the fruits of my labor. The sweater has been entered into the Vogue Knitting Live Minneapolis Readers on the Runway contest. I submitted this photo in early October and just found out that I have been selected to participate in the Runway walk in November at the convention! There will be one winner from all the participants to win a future Vogue Knitting Live package.
The picture on the left is the Tasseled Sweater from the Vogue Knitting Book Spring-Summer 1962. The picture on the right is me wearing my FO(finished object) October 2016.
While packing her lunch this morning, my middle-schooler, sighed in disgust and packed yet another lunch in a gallon size freezer zip lock baggie. She did not have to say a word. We are now in the third week of school and still….no brown bags for packing a lunch.
I don’t think this would have happened in previous years. But, with a self sufficient senior, and a 9th grader who will only eat the school lunch, I am left with one lunch packer. And, it just hasn’t made the written grocery list yet.
Yes, I have been to the grocery store many times in the last few weeks, but, out of site=out of mind.
Until today. When opening my email at work I saw this email from my daughter…
At work when I was on the phone, but my co-worker did not notice as he came to my desk and started talking…my encouragement was a silent hand gesture.
This weekend when I was teaching my 7 year old neighbor to knit…my encouragement was calm.
When a friend of mine was recently laid off, she was hopeful of finding a new job quickly. However, the search has become a long and weary process. I decided that a little humor might encourage her to hang in there a little longer. Thus, the panties in the picture. (I found them at JCPenny’s if you are interested.)
I wrapped them in pretty tissue paper and put them in a cute orange gift box that looks like a Chinese take out food box. When she opened them she laughed. She laughed a lot.
Sometimes helping others to see outside the fog is the best form of encouragement.
We all see the world differently. One of the ways we can increase our ability to encourage well is to be aware. Before giving or receiving encouragement we need to be aware of a situation. When we encourage others we cannot assume that everyone is viewing a situation from the same point as we are. Our vision of a situation can be widened by acknowledging that people looking at the exact same thing can see it very differently.
One way to make this clear quickly is to look at some optical illusions…what do you see? (I love these.)
Rubin Vase: Do you see a vase or 2 faces?
Old Woman Young Woman: Which do you see?
The Dress: Do you see a white and gold dress or a blue and black dress?
Kaninchen und Ente (Rabbit and Duck): Which do you see?
Once you get a first impression of a picture try to see it from the opposite perspective. How hard was it to view the pictures from the opposite perspective? What is blatantly obvious to us may not even be visible to someone else.
Being aware of other perspectives to the same situation may change the way encouragement is given and received.
Kid #5 is transferring from a fabulous charter school to the local middle school this fall. She has been in the carpool since she was 5 months old, riding along as older siblings were dropped off and picked up. She has been a student for K through 7th grade. She was ready for a change and so were we, So, we made a decision I would not have imagined a few years ago. When we chose a K-12 school it seemed so logical to think the kids would be there all 13 years. If only life was that efficient. Schools change and so did our family.
This morning was “Back to school” day at her new school. That means come to school —find out about extra curricular activities, get your picture taken, buy a gym uniform and a planner, watch the “How to be Responsible with your iPad” video and sign the form that you understand said video, sign up for the lunch program, find the locker, test out the combination, and walk around the school – in class order to be sure all classrooms can be found, etc.
As we were zig zagging through the halls I noticed this sign.
My first thought is how does this fit with my 7 principles of encouragement.
Encouragement is good. I am glad the school wants to be encouraging. It means they care and that is good.
Aware. They are aware that the giver and the receiver need to work together for said results. They are aware of wanting specific results. (They seem to be assuming that the parties involved have high expectations for personal and academic achievement and challenging coursework.)
Just because it is possible, does not mean it should happen. In this case individual growth and collective success is good for everyone.
Good for you does not mean good for me. In this case education is good for the individual, for the school, for the family and the community. It is good for all.
Possibility is necessary. Yes possibility is possible. In the normal course of maturing from grade to grade we know growth is possible. I am trusting that in special circumstances the special needs will be addressed.
Words of encouragement are timeless. School is a place to learn, but also for seeds to be planted.
Encouragement takes courage. Students who are entering into challenging coursework will need to dig deep sometimes. Ideas may not appear as easily as they did in elementary school.
I do wonder who the “we” in We Encourage represents. Is it the student and the school? Is it the reader of the sign (community member) and the school? Is it the parents with the school, and the students?