Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Time to Make Time

My brother, David, started a man's volunteer program at his children's elementary school in Austin. He calls it D.O.G.s (Dad's on Guard). The male volunteers, comprised of fathers and grandfathers, mostly help with morning cross walk duty and drop off procedures. At this school, you can either pull through a steady flowing car line where the children are greeted by teachers or other adult volunteers and escorted to their classroom. The other option is to pull around the front of the school, park in a parking space and walk your child into the building.

One day, my father, who has a great name by the way (Bill Hill), volunteered to watch over the front of the building. It was his duty to make sure people parked in the appropriate spots and that parents knew they had to walk their child into the building. This is an awesome job for Dad. It incorporates two of his favorite tasks: 1) he could tell people what to do and 2) he could tell people they were wrong.

As expected, many an opportunity arose for Guard D.O.G. Bill Hill to emphatically, yet kindly tell parents that, no, they shouldn't park in handicap parking and that, yes, they were expected to get out of their cars and walk their children into the building. Yes, of course, this was the school's policy and it was by all means meant only for the safety of the children, not annoy the parents. He would clearly explain that if they didn't like that option, they were more than welcome to go via the drop off option.

Parents got mad. They slammed doors, They screeched tires. They said very unpleasant things to Guard D.O.G. Bill Hill. But the most poignant reply when Dad gave them the choices of either going through the line or parking legally and walking their child to unquestionable safety was: "I don't have time!" The popular act then would be for them to verbally push their children out of the car, probably telling them to ignore the crazy man in the orange vest and pull off in a huff before their child's feet even hit the sidewalk.

What message did these parents send to their kids? You're not important enough to me. It is OK to go against the rules, oh, and by the way, it is also OK to treat people poorly in the process. Your safety is worth a risk. Make a lot of noise and throw a little fit and you, too, can probably get your way. I'm too busy to take care of you.

Unfortunately I think this mindset is one that several of us adopt at one time or another. I'm guilty of it, especially when I am tired or stressed. But lately I have been trying to live a more mindful life: one that allows me moments of pause to insure I am living a life that I want my children to emulate. My goal is not to be a "do as I say not as I do" parent but to be a kind of person I want my children to become. My children see how I treat people; they know how I treat them. The way I see it, my kids are getting older by the second. Now is the only time I have with them. It is time to make time.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Hug for Your Head from Laurie Erickson

So, I am sitting in a salon, getting my hair cut. I thumb threw a couple of magazines and a picture catches my eye. It is a gorgeous silk hair wrap by Laurie Erickson! My Mom lost her hair several weeks ago to chemo and she has been struggling to find a comfortable way to tie scarves around her head...especially one that would stay put! And here it was! Not only that...it was free through an amazing program called GOOD WISHES! (http://www.franceluxe.com/i/goodwishesscarves/GoodWishesScarves.html) By the way, Laurie has designed some amazing hair accessories in all kinds of patterns, styles and materials. Visit her site at http://www.franceluxe.com/. It is beautifully done and easy to navigate: definitely pleasurable shopping experience.

I immediately emailed Laurie to request a wrap for Mom. She quickly wrote me back
asking me to pick out a specific color or pattern (WOW! something free and you actually get to pick it out?) I chose something I think Mom would love and feel pretty in. In addition to her very timely and sweet response, Laurie included a copy of a posting she wrote for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.tnbcfoundation.org/) explaining her company and her program. I include it here for you:

I'm very new to the TNBC foundation and am thrilled to have found this resource. As a tech challenged person, it took me awhile to figure out how to even post a message. My name is Laurie Erickson and I am the CEO of a fashion accessory company located in Washington State . A few years ago I launched a program called Good Wishes scarves - a program where my company makes one, free of charge, silk scarf or headwrap for women experiencing hair loss. This program was borne as a result of an email I received from a loyal customer, Hillary, who bought hair accessories from my company. She wrote to our customer care address and asked if we had any products for women who are losing or have lost their hair. I replied no at the time, but offered to make her a scarf at no charge, in a color of her choosing. When her scarf was completed, we had a staff meeting and had a moment for this terrific woman, silently sending her Good Wishes. After receiving her scarf, we communicated from time to time and I told Hillary that should she meet anyone along her journey, who might enjoy a Good Wishes scarf to please let me know and I would happily have our factory make one for her - she told me that her Good Wishes scarf had brought her comfort during her chemo sessions. At a subsequent Chemotherapy session, Hillary met a woman who learned of our fledgling program and requested a scarf - we were so happy to know that our desire to give was becoming a reality.

I have really struggled to connect, to give, to share our scarves with women. It seems so odd to have the ability to give and KNOW the need is out there, but struggle to find the bridge to get that done. Fortunately, I spoke with Malaak Compton Rock earlier this week and she told me about TNBC - I was so happy when we spoke and I said "you're my Bridge!" - she was as always just lovely and helpful and I am absolutely optimistic. My head has been spinning with ideas and so I write to you here to help me spread the word. It’s very simple. My company works with hundreds of different silks and cottons. I will give as much as I possibly can to the community of women who are undergoing or experiencing an event where she is losing her hair. I have two options at this time; a scarf (which can be a bit cumbersome for some) or a headwrap called "It's a Wrap". I will send you one at no charge. We don't have these all up on our website yet at
http://www.franceluxe.com/, but I can send you swatches or a scan of the available fabrics at this time.

If you or someone you know would enjoy either a scarf or an It's a Wrap - please email me at
laurie@franceluxe.com and me and my staff will work to get it done for you.

In closing, I've worked in the fashion accessories industry for over 20 years. It is an honor and a pleasure to put smiles on faces through sharing our work - I believe in the power of sending good wishes.

Thank you and I look forward to working together with you to perhaps send some comfort to women from women.