Archives For Influence

I don’t know you. I mean, I don’t really know you.

Yet…

I have learned, by watching your example, that it is possible to be so passionate about helping children that you sacrifice personal gain.

I handed over my future to you. Three different times, I cried as I placed a defenseless creature into your care, got into my car, and returned to work.

I bawled even harder when the time came to move them from your house to preschool.

I witnessed your influence on my children as they began to rattle off their ABCs, color within the lines, and sing hymns of praise.

I am in awe that you are as proud of their Christmas program performances as I am.

I give praise that you teach them about God and how to love their friends and enemies.

I am grateful that you allow me to interrupt you at any moment of the day to check on how my children are doing, as if they are the most important people on the planet.

I ask for forgiveness for rarely reading the newsletters, study guides, and graded assignments you send home.

I thank you for recognizing strengths in my children and for pushing them to maximize their potential.

I thank you for organizing every PTA meeting, classroom party, and fundraiser.

I thank you for being willing to not only prepare my children for the real world, but also to protect them from it.

I thank you through my writing because it’s the best way I can express my heartfelt gratitude.

I thank you on behalf of every child whose voice is silenced.

I thank you for doing a thankless job.

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Thank you, dad

June 6, 2012

Triathlon transition

I was able to complete a triathlon after months of trying to keep up with a stronger, faster coworker who selflessly trained with me. He pushed me back into shape after my child-bearing days were in my rear-view mirror.

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I received unbelievable news earlier this week from the top-ranking female administrator in athletics at my collegiate alma mater. She called to let me know I will be receiving the school’s Leader for Life award on May 3, an honor that she herself had received in 2007.

To say I was caught off guard is an understatement. In fact, I believe my immediate reaction went something along the lines of, “Seriously?! I thought people had forgotten who I was after I had kids.”

This annual award is given to an individual whose actions have made a lasting impact on women’s sports at Creighton University.

I don’t know why, but hearing this news made me flash back to my senior year of college when a teammate of mine thanked me for everything I did for her. She confessed that she didn’t know if she would have made it through the softball program had it not been for me. I looked at her dumbfounded, completely caught off guard.

She has no idea, but that remains one of the best compliments I have ever received.

I didn’t really think about what I wanted to become post-college other than a wife and a mom (those roles I knew for sure). I was fortunate to secure a job in a field that fit my educational strengths. I could easily answer the question, “What am I good at?” but never paused to ask myself, “What inspires me?” Over the years, I’ve discovered there is a vast difference between those two questions and finding an answer to the latter has become more important to me.

So upon hearing that a committee voted me to be the recipient of an award for having a lasting impact, I felt truly humbled. It solidifies my belief that I am inspired when I can make a connection with people. It reminds me to take the time to thank those who have rallied behind me to help me become the person I am today.

Earlier this year, I asked my boys to build their “walls of importance,” which simply are poster boards that they’ve glued pictures and written words on to symbolize what is most important in their lives. I built one too.

Things I've done that make me happy and people I love who make me complete.

We went through this exercise to remind ourselves that whatever we place on those boards are the things/people we value the most. The boards also serve as a visual reminder to avoid those situations in life that might jeopardize what is important to us.

To quote Oprah, “What I know for sure is that you feel real joy in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth.” I don’t think I’m living my truth 100 percent yet, but I’m getting there slowly and surely.

If you care to share, leave a comment about what inspires you.