Don’t call us, we’ll call you

December 11, 2012

Two lessons from my mom:

Filed under: Family, Personal, Teaching — Tags: , , , , , , , — llcall @ 10:33 pm

I.

In Relief Society on Sunday, I taught a lesson about raising children (because, um, clearly I’ve got this!). One of the questions the manual posed was, What are some “daily acts” that bear witness of our beliefs to our children? When I read that, my mind immediately went back to a conversation with my mom just a couple of weeks before. She had been sick and missed church on the day that many leadership positions and callings in our ward were changed. (The LDS Church has no professional clergy and instead depends on volunteerism and a system of rotating responsibilities throughout the membership.) She was eager to hear about the changes when I returned home. Our conversation went like this:

Me: RN became Relief Society president.

Mom: Oh, she’ll be great! She’s such a powerful speaker.

Me: Her counselors are SJ and —

Mom: She’ll do a wonderful job. She’s so loving.

Me: JT.

Mom: Oh, she’ll be fabulous. She’s so funny and engaging and makes friends easily.

Me: KL and LP got called to be ward missionaries.

Mom: Wow, they’ll be fantastic in those callings!

Me: So, just so we’re clear, do you think they’re going to be great or just kinda mediocre?

In some ways this conversation was such a small thing, but as I reflected on it I thought about how it encapsulates one of the most important lessons of my life: acknowledging and appreciating someone else’s strengths does not diminish yours. What a difference it makes in life to look for and embrace the good in others!

II.

My mom is the quintessential “go-getter.” She never met a certification, degree, or job opportunity she wasn’t willing to assertively pursue. I have that in me too, but as a more introverted person, I think I feel less comfortable drawing attention to myself and my qualifications. I have always felt that the quality of my work would (eventually) speak for itself, so I did not need to spend much time networking. Many opportunities have come my way very naturally, but at the same time, I know I have left some things on the table because I was not willing to make contact with people if it felt even a little like self-promotion.

Last week I attended an online meeting with the university I teach for in which 30+ instructors eagerly discussed potential opportunities to add to their teaching load. Part of the master plan is to add another online class or two to get us to the income level we are hoping for, but I was beginning to doubt whether there would be more opportunities at this particular university as they have repeatedly said that their priority is to have each instructor teach one online course. When I logged out of the virtual meeting, I felt a bit deflated because although we were all on “the list,” the list to be used if the need ever arose, there were obviously a lot of instructors equally anxious to add another class. Still, the thought crossed my mind: I bet my mom would email the Online Scheduling Coordinator right now just to let him know she was ready and willing, with a little plug for how capable she was. So I did it. I sent a short email, something like I’m so glad my winter section carried — I look forward to teaching again! If you ever need another class filled, even at the last minute, I am very flexible and could step in. I have worked with non-traditional students in the past, so that would not be a problem. Also, I’ll DO ANYTHING! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! DON’T MAKE MY HUSBAND GET A REAL JOB!

Well, what do you know? Today, just 2 days later, I got a call from said Online Scheduling Coordinator asking if I would teach a second section of my course in the winter. Um, yes. No real jobs for us! (This is probably not exactly the outcome my mom thought she was promoting. Teaching lessons to kids: it’s a double-edged sword.)

***

I always thought of myself as being more like my dad: we share similar work habits and sleep tendencies (though Neal beat those night-owl tendencies right out of me). We both loathe shopping and raisins and celery. We both love finances and solitude. But the older I get the more I appreciate the lessons from my mother and how profoundly they have shaped me.

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9 Comments »

  1. This is such a sweet post. I love it. I hope one day Addison writes a post just like this

    Comment by kei02003 — December 12, 2012 @ 3:22 am

    • I have high hopes too…she is definitely a “communicator.” 🙂

      Comment by llcall — December 16, 2012 @ 6:44 am

  2. Your mom is awesome. I feel intimidated by her work ethic, but in a good way. And if I had a nickel for every negative thing I’ve heard her say about someone else, I’d probably need to borrow some extra change to get a box of little debbie zebra cakes.

    Comment by neal — December 12, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    • No more junk food, dude! You’re clogging your arteries!

      Comment by llcall — December 16, 2012 @ 6:44 am

  3. This is sweet—I really hope 30 years from now our girls are writing stuff like this about us. Especially since I am so comfortable with blatant self-promotion. 🙂 In all seriousness, I am so glad that you did what you did and got that second class. Congrats! That is great news!

    And I’m grateful for your example of recognizing the positive impact your mom has had on you even though you’re so different. I think most families need more of this type of thing. I hope I get to know your parents a little bit someday. I’d love to know what you think, but it sounds like your mom and I might be a little alike. At least in the sense that our personalities (as extroverts) are different from you in some fundamental ways.

    In the vein of asserting such differences between our general preferences in many things, I would like to point out that I love celery and raisins. Over the weekend I inherited a LOT of leftover crudite from the Ward Cmas party and with the help of some delicious hummus I made, I probably put down a pound of celery by myself over about 2 days (in addition to all the other veggies and greens I ate those days; I also love celery in homemade soup) and I have eaten at least one serving of raisins every day at least since E was born, I am sure. Most days I have regular raisins in my oatmeal or a bowl of cereal in the morning and then I have two salads a day which consist of nothing but romaine or spinach with a generous handful of yellow raisins (have you tried? they are amazing). And a lot of days craisins get worked in somewhere too. Dried fruit has officially replaced candy (which I used to be addicted to) and a lot of other foods with added sugar in my life. And I have made it clear to the powers that be that if I ever get colon cancer someday I will be very, very bitter.

    Comment by Victoria — December 14, 2012 @ 2:05 am

    • Yellow raisins are a no-go for me, but I do like craisins in moderation and in a really tasty salad. But celery, even the smell of it makes me a little queasy. My brother used to say that I just disliked those foods to curry favor with my dad and exaggerate our similarities, but you can’t fake gagging at the smell of celery.

      I think you and my mom do have a number of things in common. I definitely think you would always give me the same advice about pursuing opportunities and asking for more money :).

      Comment by llcall — December 16, 2012 @ 6:52 am

  4. Oh, but I should also say that you and I are alike in that we are both very much like our fathers. I swear, my genes have got to be almost one for one with my dad’s. It took a long time for me to realize and embrace this since I grew up with 6 brothers and was always so close to my mom and identified with her more than any other family members until I left home and got to know myself a lot better.

    Comment by Victoria — December 14, 2012 @ 2:07 am

  5. Lindsay, I love and admire you for the wonderful woman that you are. Thank you for this wonderful post–I will treasure it.

    Comment by Sharon — December 31, 2012 @ 6:45 am

    • But the real question is, did you cry? Because that’s always what I’m going for — full on weeping.

      Comment by llcall — December 31, 2012 @ 6:54 am


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