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On The Bricks Archives

Monthly Archives: February 2019

February 25, 2019

My favorite people to spend time with are not those who think like me, they don’t have to look like me, and I don’t care how smart they are or how important their job is. What matters to me is if they are interesting. The Nov. 2018 Toastmaster magazine had an article that explains it well.

To be interesting you need to be able to have a good conversation with people. It doesn’t mean you have to be a talker or that you need to know everything. It just means you know how to have a conversation.

Talking well and conversing well are not the same thing. We often think someone is a good conversationalist because they’re funny, witty or tell good stories. But that’s what a stand – up comedian does well, and that isn’t conversation.

If one person is dominating the conversation – talking about what they’re doing, what they believe or what they know – that’s more of a lecture. One person is supplying information, and the other person is mostly absorbing that information or tuning out.

A conversation is also not a debate. A debate is an adversarial exchange, even when it’s civil, in which two people are putting forth arguments for opposing sides. A debate can be productive and informative, but it’s not a conversation.

A conversation is a mutual exchange of ideas. To have a real conversation, you must hear what the other person is saying, think about it, and then respond. We often don’t hear everything someone says. Instead, we listen to the first five to ten seconds and then stop listening and simply wait for them to stop talking so we can say what we want to say.

“Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand,” says author Stephen Covey. “We listen with the intent to reply.”

The most essential component of a good conversation is engaged listening.

Listening is hard because it requires you be focused and present. In an era of smartphones and other distractions, it’s difficult to practice mindfulness. Even if your phone never makes a sound, you may be less focused when it’s near because your brain is prepared for it to make noise.

Because your brain knows you might receive a text, email, or other notification at any time, it may remain on constant alert.

Research shows that typical daily stress can cause your IQ to drop about 10 points because your brain is in fight – or – flight mode most of the day. But the cognitive cost you pay is higher. Since that phone causes your mind to be in a constant state of stress, the prefrontal cortex is too busy to help you listen or respond to what you hear during a conversation. The prefrontal cortex is involved with executive decisions, planning, impulse control, and complex thought.

So, while your phone is visible and keeping your prefrontal cortex busy dealing with stress, you are not making good decisions, planning for the future, or controlling your impulses. This could cause your conversation to go awry.

We all need to work on our conversation skills. We’ll be more interesting as we do.

And if you want to practice, there is a Recycling Conversation happening on Mar. 16 from 10 am to noon in the Main Street Guymon office. It’s time to find out about opportunities we have in Guymon to recycle. This conversation is hosted by the Rose Garden Club.

See you on the bricks!

February 22, 2019

In spite of their parents, my children have really turned into excellent adults. That may surprise some folks.

We can always be better parents. We could all have better parents. But the fact of the matter is that most parents really do the best they can. There are times we get advice that is irritating. But there are times we get advice that is a blessing to the whole family.

Recently I read a list of positive things to say to your child and I saw it as a blessing … a reminder of things we should say and mean. That goes for any age your children may be.

Let me share that list.

  1. You are helpful.
  2. You were right.
  3. I know you did your best.
  4. I’m grateful for you.
  5. You have great ideas.
  6. I love being your mom.
  7. I believe in you.
  8. You are important.
  9. You make me proud.
  10. You are loved.
  11. You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.
  12. I believe you.
  13. You are worth it.
  14. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
  15. It’s good to be curious.
  16. We all make mistakes, it’s ok.
  17. I understand you.
  18. You can say no.
  19. This family would not be the same without you.
  20. We can try it your way.
  21. I appreciate you.
  22. I know you did your best.
  23. I forgive you.
  24. I am so glad you’re here.
  25. That was really brave what you did.
  26. I admire you.
  27. It’s your decision.
  28. If you really believe in something, it’s important.
  29. Don’t give up.
  30. I could never stop loving you.
  31. You can try again tomorrow.
  32. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
  33. You are enough.
  34. It’s OK to be scared.
  35. Even if you make a mistake, you can fix it.
  36. Being kind does not make you weak.
  37. Your ideas are great.
  38. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
  39. Anything is possible.
  40. You can make a difference.
  41. I love how you said that.
  42. I’m listening.
  43. You did that so well.
  44. You make my heart full.
  45. Not everyone will like you, and that’s ok.
  46. You have a choice.
  47. That’s a great question.
  48. I’m so excited to spend time with you.
  49. That was a really good choice.
  50. I trust you.
  51. I hear you.
  52. Your attitude can change any situation.
  53. You are a great friend.
  54. Never stop trying.
  55. I’ll always love you.

These are all things we should be telling our kids, and things we want to hear from our parents. Let’s start making it a point to say them. But only if you mean them.

You are important to this community. Yes, you. Start being the person you want to be and the person that will make you proud.

See you on the bricks!

February 20, 2019

Last night was our Main Street Awards Banquet and the number of people who attended was astounding. The number of Guymon volunteers was exciting and humbling. The number of positive people in one room was stimulating. I loved it. This was a room filled with people who make the world a better place.

Those folks sitting at the tables brought this little story that I read about to mind.

“On a warm summer night, I was working at the local grocery store. That particular night there was a great deal of people shopping, and I was non-stop carrying out for the customers. I hated it. The temperature outside was well over 90, and all the workers were profusely sweating.

“When working at a grocery store, one learns to put on a fake smile and humor the customers who talk to them. Halfway through my shift, I was carrying out groceries for a very elderly woman. I went through the motions and asked, ‘How are you today?’.

“She proceeded to tell me about her day, and I nodded and agreed with everything she said though I wasn’t paying attention. She must have sensed that I was not paying attention and she stopped talking. I carefully placed her groceries in her old car, but just as I was about to leave, she said, ‘Thank you, young man. I really appreciate all of you who help an old lady like me. My husband died last year, and sometimes the only time I get to talk to someone is when I come here for groceries.’

“While I’d never really ‘seen’ my customers before, I realized there are rich, poor, clean, dirty, young, old, and all different races of people. They all have their own problems I know nothing about. The least I can do is truly care when I ask, ‘How are you today? or tell them, ‘Have a great rest of your day.’ I don’t know what kind of problems or issues customers are having, but I can do my part to make their day a little brighter.

“A significant contribution to society doesn’t have to be a cure to cancer, life – saving medical technology, or giving immense amounts of money to charity. Just being a decent person who cares about others can be significant. Opening a door for someone, volunteering in the community, or even just giving someone your time.

“The ultimate cure for a world with so many tragedies is a world with more decent people. People who care about others than themselves, people who are willing to help in the community, people who will raise their children to be good people. I am one of those people. I’ll raise my kids to be good people, I’ll be kind to everyone, and I’ll help in the community in any way I can. That way of living is a significant contribution to both society and the world.”

Pickle Creek last night was filled with just those type of people. I am blessed. Main Street Guymon is blessed. Our community is blessed.

Thank you to everyone who is a part of making this community better.

See you on the bricks!

February 17, 2019

When you are trying to bring ideas together, to build something new, to improve your processes, it is important to have a creative environment where people are free to perform and share ideas without fear of judgment or failure. If people fear failure or judgment, they will refuse to participate.

Failure is a necessary part of most successful ideas, because success rarely comes at the first attempt. Billionaire Sir James Dyson, the inventor of the Dyson bagless vacuum cleaner, spent 15 years and had 5,126 failed attempt before he got his invention right.

Creativity is not just for artists. Everyone is creative. We all have valuable ideas every single day. A person who has original, valuable ideas at work becomes important to their employer. Because creative ideas lead to valuable change, it affects leadership. Leader’s don’t just have an official title or position; they often contribute the most and have the most influence.

Creative ideas are key to businesses, organizations, and countries thriving.

Studies have shown that judging, telling someone exactly how to do things, exerting too much pressure, constantly watching, creating a win / lose situation (competitions especially between co – workers) will hinder creativity.

Be wary of cultures that hinder creativity. Don’t tell others how to behave down to the tiniest detail or create an environment where employees are rewarded for being unquestioning “yes men” to their bosses.

An example of incorporating creativity into the culture is Google’s famous “20 percent time” where employees were free to spend one day a week working on their own projects. Major successes came out of this, including Gmail.

Often careers involve initial training that requires an employee to experience working in multiple departments. But typically, they then specialize and subsequently remain in one department, missing out on the diversity of the whole company. A person with a more rounded understanding and experience of a whole organization will understand that organization better and be in a better position to contribute creatively.

Creativity thrives on different perspectives, so diverse teams will have richer experiences to draw from, especially if partnerships and collaborations are encouraged.

Those are some interesting thoughts taken from the article “Where Leaders are Made” in the July 2018 issue of Toastmaster magazine.

Some very good ideas on how to parent, to be a supervisor, and to be a more enjoyable person came out of that article. It is especially relevant in working with volunteers.

Another article that was shared with me, says people quit their jobs and it really boils down to one reason, one word – disrespect. “It’s clear what causes employees to walk out the door – disrespect on the part of management.

“When employees are not respected or valued as workers and human beings, when they are not served well and developed as people and professionals, when obstacles aren’t cleared from their paths so they can perform well, when their voices aren’t heard or are ignored, they experience disengagement. When that begins to happen and doesn’t change over time, you’ve lost them from the neck up. Once employees are not longer emotionally committed to their work and have checked out, you can bet your bottom line that they’ll be updating their resumes.”

I thought this information interesting. I hope to always improve as a person, a supervisor, and as an employee. These kinds of articles make me think about ways that I can improve.

It’s always good to learn more. Here are some happenings in the community that give you a chance to learn more and improve yourself.

Feb. 24 is a Sunday and that afternoon at the Guymon Library, 1718 N. Oklahoma Street, is an afternoon to learn more about the South Sudanese people who have moved to Guymon. It is a free afternoon sponsored by Seaboard Foods, a Main Street Guymon that begins at 2 and ends at 4:30 and includes watching the “Lost Boys of Sudan” documentary, hearing a panel of South Sudanese, and a chance to ask questions.

Then on Feb. 25 is a Support Group for Diabetics at 5:30 pm. This meeting takes place at the Heritage Community Assisted Living, 501 NE 15th Street. To learn more about this free program, call Amanda Crawford at 580-338-3186.

It’s a good day to be
On the bricks!

February 6, 2019

There are far too many people throwing stones at one another, especially on facebook and other places where they can do it without looking someone in the eye. Too much thinking our opinion is the only opinion going around. Doesn’t matter where you are, it seems to be the norm now. My way is the only way.

That’s a bunch of bull.

There are lots of things that we don’t have to agree on to be able to be good neighbors, to work together, to move forward, to be positive, and to be kind. I recently read an article about author Jacqueline Bussie that had some very good points.

“… love is about understanding and not about agreement. Understanding and agreement: they’re not the same thing, they’ve never been the same thing. Love demands only the first thing, not the second.

“If we think about our lives, we all have a powerful experience of loving someone, and maybe even understanding them, even though we don’t agree with them. I heard someone say the other day, ‘We’ve been tricked into hating each other.’ I feel that that’s what’s happening.

“We have to build transgressive friendships, friendships that cross boundaries we’re told not to cross. This is crucial to changing the world. All the social science out there shows that what truly changes people is a friendship with a person who is different from them … this how people’s hearts are changed and stereotypes stop.”

I believe this. She speaks truth. And it is why the Main Street Guymon Aggie Family program that matches OPSU Aggie athletes who are a long distance from home is so important. It changes people and it supports our youth.

This is also why the Know Your Neighbor Series is good for the community. In October Main Street Guymon brought in an anthropologist who spoke about Ethiopia and Eretria. This month we have a documentary film about the Lost Boys of Sudan followed by a panel of South Sudanese Lost Boys from Guymon to speak and answer questions.

It is always a good idea to get to know your neighbors better.

You’re welcome to come to the afternoon about South Sudan on Sun., Feb. 24, from 2 to 4:30 pm at the Guymon Public Library Safe Room, 1718 N. Oklahoma Street. It is a free event and open to children who can be quiet during an hour long film.

We can always get smarter.

We can always be nicer.

We can always act kinder.

See you on the bricks!

February 4, 2019

The definition of a nurse is the first person you see after saying, “Watch this!!”

It’s important to build your vocabulary.

It’s also good to have your high school diploma or an equivalent like the GED. If you’re interested in getting your GED, there are classes offered now, free to many, at the Academy North Building, 712 N. Academy Street in Guymon. To find out when the classes are, if you qualify for free classes, and other questions you might have, call 580-349-1552 to speak in English and 580-349-1538 to speak in Spanish. Be brave. If this is something you want, you can do it. You need to try!

The Super Bowl was a bit of a snoozer. Watching the game with me was a former OPSU football team captain, current OPSU player, a high school assistant football coach who played in college, and my daughter. Sitting there, I knew this was a time to be quiet. Pretty sure my football knowledge and opinions were subpar in the room that evening. Yep, time to be still and keep my opinions to myself. I’ll just get another piece of pizza and watch the game.

Reminds me of the saying, “I’m not arguing. I’m explaining why I’m right.”

Shop and Dine takes place on Thur., Feb. 7 from 4 to 7 pm. Go by Golden Crown, Merle Norman, Top Hand Western Store, SPC, and others and enjoy the snacks and drinks. You’ll have fun and you will probably find something awesome that you will want to take home! Shop small on Thursday. Support those who support our community activities … including the school groups and programs. We need to be aware of those who are giving back.

Speaking of giving back, those who came to the City Council meeting for the conversation and presentation on Main Street Guymon funding, you are very appreciated. That there were so many who would take time out from their busy lives to attend the meeting really humbled my board and me. Giving of our time is something that is really special. And those who spoke, I could tell that wasn’t something they really wanted to do, but they stood tall and did it anyway. I love our partners and I love working with people who are so unselfish and giving. It was a good conversation and I’m feeling that the Main Street Guymon Board and the City Council will continue working together. We’ll see … don’t stop saying prayers for both groups and that we will listen to one another and have our eyes and ears open during the talks.

At church last Sunday the readings spoke of love. After the Council meeting, it was a subject that fit. When you are doubting whether you’re in the right place, doing the right thing, it is good to have affirmation and let go of the doubt. Then you can get back to work. But the Pastor talked about giving and helping others. You shouldn’t walk past your neighbor who is in need to go to church. This really tugged at my heart. We need to take care of our neighbors, whether it is spending time with them, taking them groceries, or helping them plant flowers. And then our church took an offering for the Oaks of Mamre. It was so appropriate after the sermon.

Have you ever considered that Moses was the first person with a tablet downloading data from the cloud? Just wondering …

It is a constant struggle to not get so wrapped up in our busy days, our list of things to do and things we want, that we don’t see our neighbor who needs a hand. But we can remind one another and we’ll get better at it! The City Council meeting reminded me, church reminded me, and now I need to keep my eyes and heart open.

Our neighbors have a lot of different accents here in the Panhandle. Some of those neighbors are from Africa and have been living here in Guymon for about ten years. We’re going to have a Know Your Neighbor afternoon at the Guymon Public Library on Feb. 24. That’s a Sunday from 2 to 4:30 pm. We’ll watch a documentary on the Lost Boys of Sudan, then hear the story from three Lost Boys who live here in Guymon. The end of the meeting will be time for questions and answers. It’s a good time to learn more about our neighbor.

“I’m just here to establish an alibi.” Wow. Read that on a shirt and it made me laugh so hard. But I honestly don’t think that I would buy the shirt for anyone.

There are two other events taking place on Feb. 7 besides the Shop and Dine. The Chamber’s Excellence in Ag banquet is at Pickle Creek starting at 6 pm and is a wonderful evening focused on agriculture in the Panhandle. Also, that evening is the Perfect Pairing fund raiser for the OPSU Business Club and Computer Club. A great group of students and teachers who represent the Panhandle so well. So, you have your choice … go shop a bit and then had to one of the evening events, you can go the way of the land or the way of technology. Both are going to be excellent.

One last thing to put on your calendar is a conversation on Recycling, led by the Rose Garden Club members. This is Sat., Feb. 9 from 10 to noon at the Main Street Guymon office, 116 NE 5th Street. Come and hear the ways that we have in Guymon to recycle. We need to take care of our land and not trash it.

Oh, let me close with this last saying that is a hoot, “Synonym rolls, just like Grammar used to make.” Now, admit it, that’s funny right there.

See you on the bricks!