I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Studying for Future Generations

“Do you need a right-handed or a left-handed door?”

“Let’s go with right-handed.”

“Do you need shims?”


“To help secure the door frame.”

“Well, I have a guy who is hanging it for me.”

“He’ll probably need them. If he doesn’t get it aligned properly, ask for your money back and come back to the store to get some shims.”

“I’ll just take the shims right now.”

“How about door hangers?”

“Door hangers?”

“They help align the door.”

At this point, the Menards employee knew he was dealing with a guy who had no earthly idea what he was doing. He placed the door hangers (which look like brackets) on the door frame and tried to explain how to use them. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I took the door hangers anyway.

“How about paint?”

“Isn’t the door already painted?”

“It’s primed.”

“No paint. A primed door is good enough.”

On my way home, I couldn’t help but wonder how my grandfather, who lived through the Great Depression and could fix anything, would have reacted to my lack of hardware knowledge. Then I remembered a quote from the John Adams HBO miniseries.

When Adams (portrayed by Paul Giamatti) arrived in Paris to ask the French for naval support of the American cause, he found a culture he’s unfamiliar with – one much slower and engaged in the arts. Over a meal, he is asked about music and his response is thought-provoking.

“I must study politics and war, you see, so that my sons will have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons must study navigation, commerce and agriculture so that their children will have the right to study painting and poetry and music.”

My grandfather was on the front end of this spectrum in my family. He studied finance and repair, so his sons would have the liberty to study genealogy and photography. His sons studied sales and management so their sons, including me, would have the right to study literature and writing.

This is not lost on me.

When a generation stops thinking about, appreciating and building on the sacrifices of the previous generation, we become self-absorbed. But when we build on the sacrifices of previous generations, it gives us a chance to live beyond ourselves.

I have a feeling my grandfather wouldn’t be disappointed in my visit to Mendards. Instead, he would smile about the fact that his sacrifices allowed me to become a writer. But he would also want to make sure I’m not taking my liberty for granted, and he would want to make sure I’m studying something for the next generation so they will have the freedom to pursue something they love.

He’s been gone for nearly 30 years, but I can still hear the question he might ask me: What are you studying that will benefit and allow the next generation to pursue what they love?

I would tell him technology. I’m not crazy about learning new technology. In fact, sometimes I find it maddening. But in the same manner in which he was able to teach himself how to repair lawnmower and dryer engines so he could fix appliances in my family when they went out, I have a knack for learning technology and then passing that information along to loved ones, which I hope empowers them in some small way.

How about you? I would love to hear about the sacrifices the people made in your family which allowed you the freedom to pursue what you love. And then tell me what you are doing for the generation behind you.

Friday, February 01, 2013

How to Care for Introverts

When I see photos with quotes or sayings on Facebook I scroll past them. I guess it’s part of my personality. I’d rather hear what the person who is posting the photo has to say. 

But one particular graphic continues to make its way into my newsfeed and I eventually read it. It’s entitled “How to Care for Introverts.” As an introvert, I want to talk about this.

1. Respect their need for privacy.

I don’t think my introversion makes me need anybody to respect my privacy any more than the average person. In fact, once I get to know you, I’m probably more open regarding my privacy than the average person. Maybe those who know me would disagree. If so, I’d be interested in hearing their take.

2. Never embarrass them in public.

Does anybody like to be embarrassed in public?

3. Let them observe first in new situations.

Totally agree. Don’t ask me to participate in something I don’t fully understand.

4. Give them time to think, don’t demand instant answers.

While I have an instant opinion, I don’t always trust it. I need time to process before I can give you a real answer.

5. Don’t interrupt them.

This doesn’t bother me. People interrupt each other in conversation.

6. Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives.

Seems like a common courtesy.

7. Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing.

This is why I’m an email person, or at least a text before you call person. I charge clients by the hour, which means I track everything I do with a timer. Unexpected phone calls require me to clock out of the job I’m working on so I can pick up the phone. The problem with that is, it’s hard for me to pick up where I left off after the phone call. My flow is gone and I have to try to find it. So yeah, a 15-minute warning is nice.

8. Reprimand them privately.

Does anybody like to be reprimanded publicly?

9. Teach them new skills privately.

Not true for me. I’d rather learn a new skill in a classroom environment. I don’t feel like I’m on the spot as much, and it gives me more time to process what I’m learning.

10. Enable them to find one best friend who has similar interests and abilities.

I don’t understand this one. How does one “enable” someone else to find a best friend? Don’t we naturally gravitate toward people of similar interests? And my best friend doesn’t need to have similar abilities.

11. Don’t push them to make lots of friends.

I don’t understand this one either. If it simply said, “Don’t push them,” I would get it. I hate being pushed. But why would anybody push someone to make lots, or fewer, friends?

12. Respect their introversion, don’t try to remake them into extroverts.

A good rule of thumb for any personality type.


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