Hero Worship? I’m not sure if that is the right name for it but I just spent two hours in awe. Over lunch with a group of retired educators, I experienced remarkable women continuing to make a difference in their community. I met a local legend and listened to tales set long ago. I was reminded about valuable skills related to investing in others. With more than 300 years of leadership experience represented, this group was vibrant. I learned three things I can do to make a difference in my community.
The first to arrive was known for trail blazing. As a young woman in a field dominated by men, she raised the bar and became a powerful professional influencer. She was loved as a leader and served as a mentor for many because she was so good at creating a clear vision and path for others to follow. Now that she’s retired, she is still making an impact in the lives of others simply by being mindful about praise. For example, she recently had exceptional service in the floral department of a local grocery store. When she got home, she called the store and asked for the manager. She described what an employee did that made her experience so positive. Today she shared that she goes out of her way to provide positive feedback for people whenever she can and realizes that she’s still mentoring leaders as managers receive concise descriptions of potentially replicable behaviors.
#2-Know Your Neighborhood Kids
Today I got to meet one of the women I most admire. The local legend, she had held my position about twenty years ago and I’d read so much of her work and seen her notes in so many of the paper files I’d gone through, to finally meet her in person made me a little awestruck. She had no idea of the path she’d paved for those who followed. Today, her stories had me laugh. Her commitment to investing in our community through various service projects made her even more impressive! She is intentional about knowing her neighbors because relationships are not only the heart of teaching and learning but also community. Being known, being seen, feeling valued are essential. Our children can be at risk if they can float through life as if they are invisible. My local legend shared that she knows the name of every child on her street and makes it her mission to know their interests and talents. She goes out of her way to compliment them when she can. Imagine a world where every block has a person who genuinely cares and nurtures passions by noticing.
Skill #3-Play is Powerful
As memories were shared and new memories built, I couldn’t help but notice the thread of playfulness that was deeply intertwined throughout. During the hardest of times, people looked back on how they’d grown together through shared fun experiences.
The game we played today was Guess The Winery and Wine. Labels were covered. A little information was shared about the local winery, samples were poured then people worked together to guess the wine and vineyard. We started with Pinot Gris from Plum Hill Winery between Gaston and Forest Grove, Oregon. Many in the group had met the dogs at that particular vineyard and assumed the name of the wine was related to one of the dogs. Points were awarded for descriptive words. We enjoyed a dry rosé crafted from Pinot Noir at Montinore. Plans were made to visit these wineries.
Time with wise women always leaves me better than when I started.