Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Mom & me

When I was a little girl my mother, who is also an educator, was working on her masters degree, and then her doctorate.  At the time, of course, I didn't realize how difficult that must have been for her.
Y'all, my mom is a Super-Star. 

No, I'm totally serious.  By the time she was working on her doctorate she was a wife, mom of 3 wild & crazy kids, working full-time as a high school teacher, and holding it all together like a boss. She's a total class-act; a lady.  As a grown woman with a husband, 2 wild & crazy kids of my own, and a job I totally love I stand in AWE of what (and how) my mama did everything she did.  I swear, as a kid, she made it all seem easy.  We ate meals together as a family--she baked homemade cookies--carted us to & from all our events--and never, ever even raised her voice. My friends from high school still want her to adopt them almost 30 years after our graduation because she is still the best.mom.ever. 

Despite all her busyness, my mom was always willing to listen to me.  As a mama myself I realize now that it certainly wasn't because she had nothing else to do or that she cared as deeply about the major life importance of the unfairness of frenemy drama as I did at the time---but it was because she cared deeply about me. Did I mention that no matter how inane my conversation might have been she never once made me feel annoying or idiotic and she never once met my concerns or questions with an attitude that wasn't caring?

 I totally want to be her when I grow up.  

My mom and I were talking the other morning (we talk every morning--the day just doesn't seem right if we miss our phone chats) and she was reminding me how I demanded that she "look at me when I talk" as a little one.  We laughed because my Liv says this to me all the time

"But Mama is driving, honey.  I can't look at you right this minute." 
"Oh yeah.  I forgot," Liv will say.

Funny how the universe works.  Over the last week, I have had multiple reminders of just how important it is to listen. *** To listen with your whole body.  To really be present in the moment. That everyone needs to feel heard. I believe this is a basic universal human thing.  I guess this post is to say I'm listening, Universe.  Thank you for this reminder.

I posted a link for my new training manual for my incoming student pages last week.  One of the things I will train students to do is to put the electronics down, put themselves aside, and be with the people they are serving. 

As parents, we expect our children to listen. As educators, we expect our students to listen. As librarians, we want & hope folks will listen to just how important & relevant we are in this new era. All of these expectations are absolutely right on target. But...

Are we listening to them?

I don't mean are we rushing around doing all that we must get done and mumbling "um-hum.  yeah. um-hum" as someone talks.  I mean, are we listening to them?  With our whole bodies?  Being really present in the moment?  Letting them know they are heard and therefore valued? Yes, we ALL want to be heard, and I absolutely believe that librarians must become awesome at tooting our own horns. If we aren't teaching folks about all that we do they will. not. know.  
in our quest to share our mission...are we listening to our students? our teachers? our administrators? Are we being the change we want to see in the world?

Are we building relationships? 

I realize we are all busy. I realize that the world spins very fast. I realize we all have much to do. With that said, it is more important than ever that we specifically make the time to listen.  Ask questions about what they need/want/desire from their library instead of assuming you know what they need/want/desire or assuming you know what is best for them regardless of their needs/wants/desires. Take a moment and remember how good it feels to know you have been heard and acknowledged. Believe me, I am talking to myself here!

My mom has known & loved me longer than anyone else on the face of this planet.  The fact that she still asks those types of questions of me and really listens to my answers--looking at me unless we are in the car & she is driving-- makes me feel incredibly secure and grounded.


I want to be sure to remember this--to fold this knowledge into my little pocket and carry it around with me--so that I will remember to be this present for others.  It helps us all move forward, really.

***here are a few of the things the universe has thrown at me this week that spurred this post:
  • a conversation with an old friend whose hubby is a long-time restaurant manager regarding how they have to specifically train hostesses to be social with guests because so many of them come in not knowing how to chat with folks these days.
  • Reading posts also on this topic by amazing folks such as Jennifer LaGarde (she links to 2 other posts in this one that also speak to the topic--be sure to read those, too!)


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this timely reminder. I tend to "live in my head" when things get chaotic, as they do at the beginning of the school year, and find it harder to be present for those around me...but as you've said, it is so very important to do so. It is especially hard for me if my face is pointed toward a computer screen. You have given my my mission for the school year!

    1. :) thank you for your comment. I'm thinking my OLW has finally been decided for the year!

  2. Love this reminder! I'm so bad about playing games on my phone while "listening" to others talk to me. I'm going to put my phone down!

    1. Glad to hear it, Linsey. I think we've ALL forgotten that!