Balancing Our Heads and Our Hearts
by Jane Stein
“I’m glad I caught you. I wanted to tell you a story about your kids,” began the principal of my third-grade twins’ Solomon Schechter school. And despite her casual tone, I suddenly stood erect, sucked in my stomach (as if that would help), and readied myself to hear an account that would require “a little chat” at home.
“So, Jacob and Sophie were playing basketball at recess together,” she began.
(Recess? Ok, not usually a problem. Together? Hmmm…isn’t that why we chose a school with three third grade classes? For less “togetherness”? Togetherness for our kids is not next to Godliness – in fact, it’s in a coffee klatch with Madness, Boisterous and Riotous).
To read the rest of this article from the Jewish Week, click here!
Deborah Grayson Riegel, MSW, ACC
This morning, I told Jacob and Sophie that we’d be going swimming after baseball camp. By “we” I meant my husband and the two of them. “Why aren’t you coming?” Jacob asked, annoyed. “Oh, I’ll be there….I’m just not going in,” I told him. This was not – or shall I say, should not, have been news to him. I show up at all kinds of bodies of water — even in my bathing suit, which is one of my least favorite parts of the whole ordeal. But getting into a chilly lake, ocean or pool just is not my cup of (iced) tea.
“Mom,” Sophie said calmly. “How about if we give you as much time as you need to get used to the water? We promise not to rush you.” “Yeah!” Jacob said, in a rare moment of twinship.
I have to say that I’m considering it. If Jacob and Sophie keep their end of the bargain – which, as they know, includes no splashing, rushing or taunting — perhaps I can take my time to make something I dread more enjoyable for me, which will make a great experience for my kids.
Where do you need to take it slow so that you can acclimate? What’s your “cold water”? And who can help you make it a warmer experience?
I was on the phone with a coaching client today (we’ll call her Dee) who was struggling with an embarrassment of riches: she has so many opportunities available to her – both personally and professionally – that she feels overwhelmed by the decisions she needs to make. Love her or envy her (no, “hate her” is not an option — I am VERY protective of my clients!), but chances are you know her – or you’ve been her. How do we decide what to take on and what to pass on?
I asked Dee to think about a decision she had made recently that felt like a “no-brainer”. Her example was taking her daughter on a college interview with the Dean of the school. Despite the fact that she had made the decision without an awareness of a decision-making process, I asked her to think about the factors that made this decision an easy yes. Here’s what she came up with:
- Unique opportunity
- Important/Makes an impact
- Aligns with her values
- Manageable cost(s)
- Potentially large payoff(s)
Look at that! Even without knowing that she had a set of decision-making criteria, she was using it. Then, we took this list and tested it against several other decisions she had made — and some that were pending. The criteria worked, and we realized that we had one to add to it:
That’s right. Dee often relied on an inner sense that yelled “yay” or “nay” to her when she had a choice to make. And interestingly, as soon as we named “gut” as a key decision-making factor for her, she reported that her stomach had been hurting her enough as of late that she had called the doctor. And while I am certainly an advocate for modern medicine, I do believe that our bodies give us powerfully useful information about what’s going on in our heads.
How about you? Think about a decision you have made recently that felt easy-breezy to you and see if you can back it up into a set of criteria you can use for future decisions that don’t feel as cut and dried.
And post your criteria here — I’d love to see how your head works!