Monday, December 08, 2008

People over Program

One things I learned when I worked on high school staff with Jim Byrne is "people over program." (Jim had a way of boiling concepts into catchy phrases that I haven't been able to shake that still pop into my mind at opportune times -- people over program, lead from within, if you're not 5 minutes early you're late...). People over program means just that -- when it comes down to it, the people are more important than whatever great thing you are planning or working on.

This is the season when my DO tendencies are off the charts. True for a lot of us. The little Christmas-season voice pipes up incessantly: MAKE Christmas cards! FIND ribbon! START packing! RETURN those t-shirts! RUN to See's chocolates! BUY stamps! WRITE a grocery list, a gift list, a card list! MAIL presents! CALL a babysitter! GET ONLINE and order books, or toys, or etsy gifts!

The problem -- and great fun -- is listening to that voice and GOING! It's chilly. We are wearing sweaters. We stop for coffees. We fill up on cheap gas. We jump start the economy with all of our buying. We cross things off our lists. We, the people, are going!

And the problem -- and great fun -- is that I have two wee children who are interfering in all this going. I find -- as so many people have found before me -- that when I turn the focus of my day away from them and to myself, without fail the day becomes wildly bumpy and my patience instantly paper-thin.

So my true task is to boil down the fluffy-marshmallow-Christmas-excitement and sip what's really important: Silas and Eden (and the Christmas cards and present-buying -- see? this is hard to let go of). But I know The cards will get written and sent. I will finish gathering presents. My giant suitcase will be stuffed. Realistically I can hammer each of these out in a focused hour or two. What I can't do is rewind the month to refocus on Silas and Eden.

The quiet pressing fact is that Silas won't always ask me to play with him on the rug. Eden won't always be a smiling, squealing baby banging toys on the floor. They are actually what is fleeting; the season will come back around next year.

And so, once again I'm reminded to put my people over my programs.
[Thanks, Jim.]


Beautiful said...


Christina said...

Love this! Love this! Love this B!