My father has dementia. One moment he speaks with clarity about the presidential election; the next, he recounts how a doctor chased him with a scalpel.
And I sit and love him. And I smile. And I know we’re okay.
I feel this way because years ago my business partner, Steve, coached me on celebrating the relationship I have with my father as often as I could. So postcards with weekly thoughts were sent; and Saturday phone calls were made with ideas and questions.
Here’s the elephant in the office: Too many teams and families operate with a false, unspoken rule that we’re supposed to delay celebrating our relationships with others. Somehow our society got it wrong. For instance, we wait until a person retires – and then we buy them a gold watch and tell them how much we appreciate them, after which they leave.
STOMP THE ELEPHANT
Most of us don’t walk up to another and say, “I appreciate you.” But we don’t have to say these things, do we? We can simply:
– Say thank you;
– Honor their ideas;
– Listen to them;
– Give them responsibilities;
– And tell them what they’re doing well.
Relationships, whether they’re personal or professional, always have one common, fundamental characteristic. Inside all of us is a heart that longs for the same thing: to know we matter.
Who needs to hear from you today?
My father’s understanding of what is and isn’t – his window – is closing. Soon, we’ll no longer understand each other’s words. Yet there’s no urgency to make up for anything. There’s only gratitude for a life of celebrations. And there’s grace.
Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants – today?