So grateful to have been able to present at the Learning Forward conference in Denver. While I thought I would have about 70 attendees, the final number was over 100. I enjoyed spending about 2 hours with participants, talking about communication, trust and the importance of relationship building in education and....well.....any industry in which we work.
One participant shared a strategy for how to be better at seeking first to understand a frustrating parent. She joked "I know it might sound odd but I say to myself, even if I don't believe it, 'That parent is doing the best she can because she loves her child so much'." I think we do this sometimes----fake it 'til we make it. Keep looking at the positive until, perhaps, that positive outlook has actually become the truth or it has at least paved the way for our survival through a difficult conversation or conference.
I look forward to many more chances to share what I have learned and learn from sharing with others.
While in North Dakota for a reunion (my husband's---all "my people" are from Texas or Oklahoma), I asked Dave to drive through a fast-food restaurant to get a diet coke ("pop" in North Dakotan terms). We ordered and drove around to the window to retrieve the diet coke. While Dave exchanged money with the lady at the drive-through, I put my straw in and tasted the soda. "Oops---I don't think this is Diet", I said as I handed it back to her, knowing she would quickly change it out for the proper beverage. To my complete horror, she put my straw in her mouth and tasted it!! "Joey, this doesn't taste like 'diet'," she said to the other worker in the establishment as she handed it to him. "She just drank out of my drink!" I said outloud to my husband, who promptly shushed me. "She just heard you!" he said, as if we shouldn't state the obvious that this woman just used my straw. While Joey quickly got me a diet coke in a fresh cup with a fresh straw, Dave looked at me and said, "That's just the kind of customer service you get here in North Dakota!" and we drove off laughing hysterically after thanking the lady at the window. In retrospect, I am still flabbergasted. However, I am also a little bit impressed with the gal's desire to make everything right with her customer. "What? You don't think this is diet? Let me help you figure it out." I said later to Dave, "What would she have done if she had tasted it and thought it WAS diet? I'll bet she would have handed it back to me saying, "Nope, this is just how our diet coke tastes. Enjoy!"
Perhaps I should be more clear next time----if the diet drink does not taste diet, I should perhaps simply hand it back and say, 'Could you please get me a new one? This is real coke."
In the meantime, I am cautiously watching every fast-food server who gives me my drink.