Things that make me grateful this Thanksgiving week:
- I work with colleagues who make me laugh. I can be in the worst mood in the history of moods, but someone will make me laugh and break the spell.
- This year, we were able to get stress puppies for a couple of our programs. They made the students happy. They made us happy. We smiled the entire night, and we are looking forward to their next visit.
- Our college started a food pantry this year to help when someone in our community needs help.
- Everyday, when I leave work, I know I have helped a student in his/her attempt to reach a goal.
- The library deans and directors of our TBR colleges are giving and helpful people who have not a single territorial bone in their bodies and are always there with counsel, advice, and encouragement.
- Despite the myth, I don’t read books at work. But I am surrounded by them, which is still pretty great.
This past week, a student brought a calculator up to the desk, as students do about a hundred times a day. She handed it to me and said, “I’m the one you’ve been calling. The one who kept saying I had turned it in already. Last night, I put my hand in a pocket of my jacket, and there it was. I was so ashamed.”
We chase down a lot of calculators during the semester. Lots of students need them, and they are easy to slip into a backpack and forget. Most of them come back after a single phone call. And some students are adamant that they have turned them in as this student was.
But this student did something different. She owned up. She could have slipped it in the drop box after we closed. She could have just laid it on the desk and walked away. But she came in and admitted the mistake.
Often I find that it is students who restore my faith in humanity. Owning up to a mistake is not something that many people want to do. In fact, there was a book written about the phenomenon of the false apology, titled Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me). So someone who goes out of her way to claim a mistake gets a shout-out from me.
Someone once said (a coach probably) that mistakes mean nothing, what makes the difference is how we deal with them: Denying them. Blaming someone else. Or saying everyone else does it. Those are the typical responses.
Owning up may not be the most comfortable path. But it’s the only one that results in growth.
Two weekends ago, I decided to fix my leaky bathroom faucet. Like all potential amateur handypeople, I went online to see how hard it would be. According to the first website, it was an easy, inexpensive fix, and you’d have to be crazy to call a plumber for the job.
I took my iPad into the bathroom and started my task. Within two minutes, I gave up. My sink looked nothing like the ones used as examples online. I decided to be crazy and call the plumber after all.
On Tuesday, the plumber came and showed me the state of my faucet. He had several parts in his hand (not like the one round washer in the videos). He said he could try to fix it, but this type of cartridge faucet often had issues. But he was happy to give it a try. However, considering the faucet was old and the hot water tap would likely have the same problem in a few months, I decided to go with a new one. When he showed me the state of my drain, I was glad I had let a professional take over.
I am not handy. A few years ago, I needed to change my front door knob. Once again, I went to the web, and this time the knob was identical to mine. After four hours of sweating and anxiety as nothing went right, I was successful. But I realized that, in most cases, I should put household repairs in the hands of people who know what they are doing.
There are many things I do well. And I’m all for learning new things. Still, I know there are things that I will never do well. And age and experience has taught me to know the difference. And get help when I need it.
If Facebook is any indication, people have strong feelings about the end of daylight savings time. My mother hates everything about it. As early as August, she was already telling me how she was dreading the long dark nights of winter. She seems to be in the majority, if at the extreme end.
On the other hand, I am neutral on the topic. For most of the year, it’s already dark when I go home. So I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.
However, there is one thing I love about this weekend in the fall: the gaining of an hour. I think of it as a ‘reset.’
I don’t change my clock the night before. I wait until morning, so it actually seems that I’ve gained an hour. And that ‘early start’ motivates me to get things done. Today, for example, I had already written my bills, washed my hair, ironed clothes, and found last year’s winter gloves before my usual ‘get-out-of-bed’ time. And the momentum continued throughout the day.
Now you may hate the end of Daylight Savings Time. Or you simply missed this chance to reset. But here’s the thing: there is always another chance. For example, today is Flag Day in Panama.
Ready, set, reset!