My Three Words for 2017

Slow. Teach. Ask.

Slow, because I want to slow down and pay attention. Not speak too quickly. Not act too quickly. Not judge too quickly. Not fix it too quickly. I want to take the time to be more graceful, more patient. Most of the things I regret (was embarrassed by) in the last year/my whole life are because I spoke without thinking, leapt without looking.

In La Paz, Bolivia several years ago, at that high altitude, I learned that I could get along fine as long as I walked like a dignified Señora, and not if I scurried around like a little girl. If I tried to run up the stairs, I would be out of breath by the first landing. But if I just walked slower, I would get where I was going smoothly and with energy to do whatever I need to do when I got there. I want to remember that lesson as I approach 50 and beyond, even at sea level.

Teach, because it makes me happy. I like explaining things. I like sharing what I have learned. I like inviting people to consider new ideas and facilitating discussions. I want to accept more invitations to speak and to write when they come to me. I will look for ways to do this as part of my job, because it makes a better balance in my life with all the management/accounting stuff, so that I can continue to enjoy my job. And I want teaching to be part of my life at my monthly meeting and in my children’s religious education. For me, this will include taking time to write more articles, maybe even more blogposts! Invitations to teach do come my way every so often, and I want to remember that they are not a distraction from my real work – this is part of the work that God has created me to do, whether I get paid for it or not.

So, to start, I will be leading a discussion at Green Street Monthly Meeting on January 29, 2017 at 9:15 am, about a passage from A Language for the Inner Landscape: Spiritual Wisdom from the Quaker Movement by Brian Drayton and William P. Taber, Jr., pages 92-93, from the chapter on “Community and the Inner Life of the Meeting.” The discussion will focus on “What is the real purpose of our worship together?” And then, I will be writing a lesson for the United Society of Friends Women International 2017-2018 program book, Blueprints, on the same theme. I am grateful to the Friends who extended the invitations to do both of these.

Ask, because I want to be less bossy, less of a know-it-all. To ask first, do you want me to tell you more about this? Or not? Do you want help? May I? How may I help you? How would you like to be involved? How would you like to hear from me? What do you think? To say less often, “You know what, you should _____________!”

This is a life lesson, that maybe I can change and maybe I can’t. This is rooted in being an eldest child, so it’s a long time in the making. I am weighing this desire against the fact that girls with leadership skills are too often called bossy. But I think that I could be more effective in my leadership and my teaching and my interpersonal relationships if I were more thoughtful in my communications. Which makes this connected to my first word, slow, because if I thought for a second before I speak, I would find better ways to teach, better ways to lead, better ways to parent adult children, and be a wife and sister, etc.

I pray for God’s guidance and people’s forbearance as I move in these directions. I am grateful to Chris Brogan for his inspiration to choose three words each year. If you want to read some of my three words from prior years, here are 2016, 20152012, 2010, and here are my prior attempts at new years resolutions from 2009 and 2008. If you write your own, use the hashtag #my3words so that we can find each other.

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Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

Robin, Thanks, for posting this inspiring article. I used to do To Do lists for the New Year, but I seldom remembered each item in the hectic new days.

Three is good (as well being a perfect number in Hebrew symbolism:-)

Much appreciated.

1/02/2017 3:04 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Thank you for the comment!

Sometimes even three words are too many to keep track of. But I try.

1/02/2017 8:17 PM  
Blogger Dan Read (Maria's husband) said...

Can I use this in our Meeting newsletter?

Dan Read, Durham Monthly Meeting

1/11/2017 9:42 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Um, sure. Please include the permalink and my name.

And invite me to come lead a workshop some day. :-)

1/11/2017 10:18 PM  

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