When I’m out running, there are signs of things everywhere. We have had a whopping ¼” of rain this entire spring, and because we live in the sandy-forested area by Pike Lake, tracks in the sand are impeccably kept. It’s constantly surprising how many other creatures are travelling the same road I am.
I’m no expert, but there are deer, cow, horse, dog/coyote, rabbit, cat, and bird tracks, in addition to the gopher holes along the edge of the road that I try to avoid stepping in.
Sometimes their pattern makes me envision grand tales. Deep deer tracks show a quick scamper. The cows meander along the grassy edge. A horse and rider, the dog diligently in tow behind.
I swear the birds are drunk. Or they’ve had a heck of a huddle!
There are times that I stumble across the animals themselves too. The cows have been out of the pasture down the road on an almost daily basis. First it was just one. Then a couple. Tonight the whole family was out there, calves and all. Usually I just sneak slowly past, but there were a couple mamas in there that didn’t look amoosed. (Sorry, couldn’t help it!)
Lately I’ve been braver and send them scampering back to their pasture. For the most part, the animals I encounter are just as startled by me as I am of them. Like the skunk last night in the ditch beside me. I swear we made eye contact before we both jumped backward and ran the other direction…unscathed. Whew.
Thankfully, as humans, we don’t have to just read each other’s body language and look for clues in the dirt as to what we are thinking and feeling. We can just communicate.
Talk to each other.
Like, not just text. Or message. Or snap.
You mean that doesn’t happen all the time?
What possible miscommunications or misunderstandings could possibly transpire as a result?
Answering my own sarcasm: lots.
I’ll be the first to admit, I get caught in just doing the quick and easy communiqué. Literally most of my texts are just emojis and gifs! But I know that’s not enough. Sometimes we have to hear the words.
We need to hear the words.
Although I quote Brene Brown all the time, it’s usually about courage and vulnerability. But she has another idea that I keep to the forefront: clear is kind, unclear is unkind. We don’t do people any favors (our spouses, families, students, colleagues) when we don’t say what we mean or mean what we say. As we delve more into parent engagement, and I’m thinking more consciously about jargon and eduspeak, it’s something I need to continue to work on.
We also need to talk to each other to hold each other up. Because lord knows that at this time of year, we are all faltering, and likely on more than one front.
One of the popular inspirational memes that pops up periodically on social media goes something like this: a person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.
We all have people that we care about, that we know are working hard, that could use a little extra encouragement to get them through the next few weeks.
You could leave tracks in the sand per se, and leave a note. Or email.
Or say the words.
(*They’re just words. Your mouth makes more.)
But they impact the listener not just at the surface, but in their heart. Immeasurably.
My goal for the week is to be brave, and vulnerable, and each day to say the words that someone needs to hear. To use those words to lift them up. Remembering that clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. I see you. I hear you. You are powerful and amazing and talented and inspiring.
And you matter.
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