problem solving

Unattached to the opinions of others

Last week, a mama left me a voicemail, “Nikki, I need to have a conversation with you and it’s not going to be fun.”

You can imagine my angst in returning that phone call!  My mind was spinning about all the ways I might have offended her, or inappropriate deeds my kids might have done.  Was it a Facebook post that didn’t set well with her?  Is it my choice of reading material? My use of technology? Is she concerned that I practice yoga and have introduced it to my kids, and thus to their friends?

My mind spun for about an hour. Then I came to myself.  Although I know I have blind spots, I am parenting my children in the way I have chosen, and I have nothing to fear from the opinions of others.  This realization and reminder was so comforting to me that I picked up the phone and made the call.  I received her concerns with humility and understanding.

This mama and I talked through everything and it worked out fine.  The issue was regarding security and safety during playtime on my property. Her concern had to do with girls and boys mingling – and she needed to understand my play protocol. THAT WAS IT!!  What an easy conversation it could have been. Instead I allowed her initial voicemail trip me up into insecurity and self-doubt.

It is so freeing when we can be bold and confident in our own skin – and in our own intentions. When we unhinge our identity from external influence, we can soar without hindrance.  When we are true to ourselves, authentically, we can buffer the criticism and even judgement of others. And what’s even better?  When we respond with a clear head and interact with the person humbly, the conversation has nowhere to go but UP!

Ultimately, I am thankful for this experience because it reminds me that being attached to the opinions of others is toxic. There is no room for this in the healthy soul.  Call me and let’s talk more about this.  🙂



Raising Problem Solvers

Often, I feel less than qualified as a homeschool mom….

However, one thing I do well, is to prioritize raising up problem solvers. I make it my goal each day and long-term, to teach my children to push through problems toward multiple solutions. Regularly, they hear the words, “How can we problem-solve this?” And, “What are some solutions we could come up with for this situation?” You see, I believe that problem solving is a learned skill, not some magical gift that one day just falls upon us.

When I look at the young adults I interact with day to day in the service industry, I realize that so many have a difficult time solving even the simplest issues. I thrive on finding opportunities to help people push through the struggles they may face – whether with a receipt or an exchange, a substitution at a restaurant or ordering something off menu. When a service associate tells me, “I can’t”, the hairs on the back of my neck bristle, and I move in for my teaching moment. Don’t worry, I am always kind about it. But I do enjoy coaching people into the next solution!

Throughout our school day, we often refer to our educational mission, which is hanging in our school room:

We ARE energetic self-starters, who can be creative, work independently, and SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Educational MantraIn any industry, not just the service industry, these are most often the qualities that help a person thrive and experience success in their work. Of course it is not an exhaustive list, but rather a list of building blocks. For my family, we are laying a foundation for a solution-oriented approach to work and learning.

What are some of the building blocks you might add to this list?  Or would you scrap the whole thing and go a different direction?  Are there skills you find yourself revisiting over and over?