Laughter Wreckage

They say that laughter is the best medicine.  However, this is not always the case…

I was sitting in a meeting last week and I made an observation regarding my personal experience on a topic.  What followed caught me completely off guard.   The person at whom I was directing my comments laughed at me.  Not a laugh like something funny.  This was a “you naïve boy” kind of laugh.  A real belly laugh!  I wanted to fire back with a statement like- “so wants so funny?”  I knew that it would be out of place (the conference room was full) and it would be provocative, so I left it alone.  I sat and wondered how long it had been that someone truly laughed at me.  Sure, I get laughed at when I do something funny or silly, but this was in response to an observation that I knew was factual on a subject in which I have thirty years experience.  There was no real purpose in the laughter.  If he disagreed with me he could have simply told me so.  Instead he chose to laugh in my face.

 English: LOL

I have to admit that it struck a nerve for a moment or two.  And this nerve runs deep.  It brought me back to schoolyard days of being laughed at by my friends.  It’s really amazing the damage that a little laughter can do when it is used as a weapon.  There is some really amazing irony here.  The thing that can give you such pleasure and fun can also be extremely painful.

It’s really character assassination…

We must treat a person’s feelings like a very fragile instrument.  Like an egg.  You should hold it gently and protect it from damage.  I have been on both sides of this, yet there is only one side that you can control.  I have been quick to speak or direct without considering the other side and have left the burning wreckage in the road.  As leaders, we must be extremely careful to consider how our responses will be received. 

Think of trading places…

The skilled leader has the ability to actually move out of their shoes and into the shoes of others.  This includes being able to visualize how the direction will be perceived including all of the personal characteristics that are at work in the situation.  Yes, there are some that need a strong voice.  They are accustomed to that style or that style is necessary given the circumstances.  However, some are very fragile.  A loud or harsh response will cause them to withdraw.  In trading places you have to consider the effort that they are making, not necessarily their results.  If you recklessly trash their work, you are sure to hurt their feelings.  You may have to authority to say what you want in any manner that you see fit.  However, I promise that you won’t be happy with the results.  If they disengage, you will struggle to win them back.  You may never win them back.  You may hit that nerve that brings them back to the schoolyard.  Remember that the goal is results- not just exercising your authority.

What do you think?  Press “Like” if you agree!  Have you experienced the “wreckage in the road”.  Press “Comment” and let me know what you think!          

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K-LOVE: Girls Give Up Their Dreams

I listened to a discussion this morning on the radio that was really troubling.  The K-LOVE morning show was discussing a statistic regarding young women.  According to a newpaper article that they referenced, 6 out of 10 girls give up the thing they love to do because of the way they look.  Really, not the way they look, but how they think they look.  Young women don’t feel that they look good enough to accomplish their dream.  They will actually just give it up.  I was really saddened by this statistic.  Honestly, I don’t question the numbers.  In fact, I wonder if they may even be low.  What a tragedy.  This really hurt me.

English: Two young women.

We all want to feel desirable and wanted.  With women it is generally much more important than with men.  A major part of their identity is centered on how they feel about themselves and how they think they look to others.

The world is giving young women impossible expectations.  They see the runway filled with emaciated models.  They are bullied by their peers and called hateful names.  Clothes are getting smaller, tighter, more revealing.  Images of supermodels pasted everywhere you look.  Eating disorders abound.  What can we do?

Men:  Encourage the women around you.  Complement them on the way they dress, their new haircut, or their outfit.  Tell them that they are not fat.  They yearn for this.

Dads and Moms:  Encourage your daughters.  Talk to them about the truth.  They are wonderfully and perfectly made by their Father in heaven.  Tell them that the message that the world delivers is not true.  It’s stinking garbage.  Tell them the real truth:  They are beautiful.  They are special.  They are loved.

I have a friend named Courtenay Bowser who struggled with these issues and she wrote a book that describes her journey to freedom.  The book is called “Beautiful”.  If you click on the title it will take you to her website.  This would be a helpful read for you or someone you know that is struggling with self-image issues or trying to meet the world’s warped expectations for women. 

Don’t let your girls give up their dreams.  Fight for them by encouraging them.  You may think your girl is well adjusted yet- you are probably getting fooled.  Give them what they need.  Tell them.  Do it now!

Do you know of any resources or strategies that can help young women fight this battle?  Let me know by clicking on comments and providing your input!