Be the Better Person

“Or, I could be the better person…”  –  My daughter, Amanda Wright

These were the seven words my daughter said to me, words that immediately stopped the conversation and left all of the adults in the car in a shameful silence – literally!!!  Not a single one of us had a good response to these prophetic words.

My daughter’s comments came following advice we parents had given her about ‘getting even’ and ‘setting things straight’.  You see, my daughter had been the victim of hurtful behavior from one of her friends.  The type of behavior and comments you know aren’t true.  Meant only to make someone else look better or to manipulate the situation.  It was the behavior that so often occurs with teenagers.

As parents, it’s easy to get caught up in the motion of a situation like this.  Your first reaction is to come to the side of your child – to defend them – to set things straight.  “Do the same thing to her,” we suggested.  “Let her know how it feels.”

“Or, I could be the better person…”, she replied.

If only we had the wisdom of a child.  The perspective they can bring to such a situation.  The ability to put aside our feelings and draw upon the principles and values we were taught at such a young age.  I marvel at the clarity in which they can often bring to such events. Continue reading

The ‘Softer’ Skills are Just as Important…Maybe Even More

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think” – Albert Einstein

“No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.”  John Stuart Mil

As I write this week’s leadership message, I sit 30,000 feet above the ground on a flight to Washington D.C.  I’ve been invited to participate in a series of workshops tomorrow with The Hope Street Group, an initiative chaired by the U.S. Department of Education that strives to bring together the right institutions towards the common goal of developing tools and solutions at the complex intersection of workforce supply and demand.  In other words, The Hope Street Group wants to develop a better way for our country to both understand the specific skills needs of our employers while bridging the gap for the development of the proper skills of potential job candidates in our communities. Continue reading

The Most Important Member of the Team is the Team

“No one person, no one alliance, no one nation, no one of us is as smart as all of us thinking together.” – Admiral James Stavridis (Ret), US Navy, and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe

“[In medicine,] we have trained, hired and rewarded people to be cowboys, but it’s pit crews that we need.” – Atul Gawande, author of ‘How Do We Heal Medicine?’

“A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others.” – Norman Shidle

You may recall from my last message two weeks ago that my father was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered a serious brain injury.  Fortunately the EMT’s identified the signs of injury quickly enough and had him airlifted from the scene of the accident to the nearest trauma center – San Antonio Military Medical Hospital (SAMMC).   It is there I spent a week in the ICU unit watching over my father’s recovery.  It is there I watched his strength, courage, and dogged determinism turn the situation from a tragedy into a miracle in the making.