This blog post is for everyone.
More often than not that is the case for a majority of pieces I write. I try to make them so everyone can benefit if they so choose.
But this one is different, because it really, really, really applies to everyone. Unless, of course, you're a hermit living in a cave, in which case you're not reading this anyway.
Our world is based upon relationships. We have casual and formal relationships. We have some based upon what we have in common and others based upon our work environment. There are some that last a short time and others that last a lifetime.
As an educator, I learned early that kids are pretty astute at being able to tell whether or not you care about them. If they don't feel like you care about them, they will call you out on it.
In the middle of my teaching career, I had a student let me have it and then walked out of my class. She flat out told me she didn't think I cared about her and some of her friends in the class. Talk about being cut to the core. Even though she was pretty pissed off, she cared enough to let me know she was angry and hurt. It took a lot of courage and guts on her part to put herself out there in front of 20 of her peers but she did it anyway.
That was close to 15 years ago and that encounter still resonates with me today. In the case of students, until they know you care about them, they don't really care what you're teaching them. Once they know you've got their back, they are hooked.
I think the same holds true in all relationships. People need to know you care about them, honest and genuine caring. It's not lip service. It has to come from the heart, because people know when you're being shallow. And nothing is worse than a fake.
But it's hard some days. I get it.
On those days, I ask myself, "How would I feel if the roles were reversed?"
In other words, how would I feel if I didn't think someone cared about me? Would I want to put forth effort for them?
I think about the fact that I'm not walking in other people's shoes. I can never completely know what they have been through or are currently going through. I can show compassion though, and patience. I can be a listening ear. I can give them the time they need. I can be completely present with them.
When I do those things, I have a better shot of strengthening the relationship. And while not all relationships are meant to hold the same weight, all of them deserve the caring that is needed in that moment.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.