Time In A Bottle

Our family just returned from a week long ski vacation in Colorado. Our oldest daughter, her husband and two oldest daughters (10 and 8) skied for five days. The others of us, my husband, Mike and youngest daughter, Chatham, and youngest granddaughter, Chatham Virginia, (2.75 years), as well as, our MoMo, a good friend who is like another aunt to the granddaughters, rested and worked. Since I am one who believes that we are “never off duty,” I couldn’t help but find lessons in this family vacation that are directly transferable to the workplace.

Lesson #1 – The importance of role models, even on vacation. Although the skiers would have liked more snow, they found a way to ski regardless. They stretched their limits, and felt proud in the process. I was proud that this daughter with three precious children made herself ski with her husband and oldest daughters, when she clearly had no interest in it, other than to be there with them, and not spoil their fun. So what is the lesson in this? It is simply that we need to role model the behaviors that are important to those whom we lead. In this case, Tara participating in the sport was important to her husband and daughters, and had she not participated, they, and she, would have missed some special times. This was their first ski trip, and Tara showed her family that it is important to try something before deciding that it isn’t for you. Now, this does not mean that if she really doesn’t care for skiing that she should continue to ski regardless. On this first ski trip, however, it was important for her to model behaviors she wanted reinforced, such as risk taking, getting outside one’s comfort zone, and not discounting something just because it is new. This is every bit as important a lesson as telling those same children to “try it, you may like it”, when encouraging them to try a new food that they are resisting.

Now, what is your workplace (or even personal) lesson from this?

Lesson #2 – Time and life fly by, even when you’re having fun, and maybe especially when you’re having fun. When I see how these children are growing and developing, I am amazed at how time goes so quickly. It seems like only yesterday that the oldest, Mary Grace, was crying at the door when we left, and now she leaves us so easily, and the other two younger girls, Elsie and Virginia, cry when they have to leave us. My logical self knows that in fewer years than this Mary Grace will be going off to college, and I will be (hopefully!) in my 70’s. How could it pass so quickly? And in these years, what impression have I made on these precious grandchildren? What will they remember about this time with us, this ski trip? Probably sitting around the table playing games, which they love, and we do so infrequently. One of the lessons from this is that we do not have to take ski trips out west to have great times. Unless we can’t slow down enough at home to do the simple things that bind us together. It is sad but true that the busyness of life gets in the way of the simple things that connect us.

Now, what is your workplace (or even personal) lesson from this?

Lesson #3 – Although it is counterintuitive, making time to slow down reenergizes us. And sometimes it is just a different location, a different change of scenery that energizes us. Mike and Chatham both worked nonstop on this vacation, and still felt like it was (enough of) a vacation. For they were able to work at their own pace, with no distractions from meetings, other than the meetings they scheduled! So although they both worked more than 12 hour days while on this vacation, it still felt like enough of a vacation for them. There were still able to stop to be with the rest of the family for meals and special outings, and felt the peace of the Colorado mountains as one day ran into the other.

Now, what is your workplace (or even personal) lesson from this?

Sometimes it is better to pose the questions than to propose the answers. It is important to find one’s own answers to the questions and the lessons from those that can provide the most value.

I am, of course, very interested in your insights, and your lessons.


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About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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3 Responses to Time In A Bottle

  1. Elaine Matson says:

    Wow! What a great article. It is so very important to spend as much
    time as possible with family. I’m having the time of my life with Clara.
    People kept telling me how wonderful grandchildren are, but one really
    must experience it first hand to really know the blessing of having a grandchild.

  2. Patti Fralix says:

    Elaine, thanks so much for taking your time to respond. I miss seeing you! Be sure and tell Clara (when she is old enough to understand) that I was the first one to see her dad! You, John, and John Morgan and his family will always be our family. Love to you all.

  3. Time passes so quickly! It seems that Tara should be the age of Mary Grace! As always, thought provoking and honest. I am thrilled you all shared time together and made lasting memories! Love you!

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