FRESH VIEWS
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FRESH VIEWS MINI E-ZINE

Published monthly by Sharon Eakes, Hope Unlimited, LLC
********************************************************* FOCUS: The Gift of a Story

"The shortest distance between two people is a story."
A wise teacher THOUGHTS:

I remember people's stories even when I've forgotten their names. Stories bring people and ideas to life. They help us understand. Stories often carry truths, inspiration, lessons.
Companies and organizations are re-discovering that stories provide a powerful way to communicate values and strategy. Family stories bind us together. Ursula LeGuin says, "There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories." It's no wonder storytelling is on the rise - our brains like stories. Cognitive scientist Roger Schank expresses it well, "Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories."
I recommend a great new book with a chapter on stories: A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.

COACHING TIP:

This holiday season give the gift of a story to your family, your friends, your co-workers. Tell a story about yourself, or a story you remember about them.

A STORY GIFT:

E-mail provides a great way to share stories - true and fictional. This one came years ago and I'm not sure of its origins. It makes Fresh Views longer than usual, but I hope you will enjoy it. I share it with you in celebration of the upcoming holiday season.

"It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas - oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it - overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma - the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to reach for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids - all kids- and he knew them, having coached little league, football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed an envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year.

Each Christmas I followed the tradition - one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope....Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us."

INVITATIONS:

Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the topic "The Gift of a Story" further. Call Friday, December 9, at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)
1-425-818-9401 X925 No need to register....just call at that time!

If you are unable to call, please e-mail me a good story. Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail sharon@hopellc.com. I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.


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