Friday, February 2, 2018

I Don't Want Your Feedback

Have you ever found yourself saying, "I welcome your feedback."

Have you said in a meeting or after leading something, "Please tell me what you really think."

Have you thought to yourself I like feedback?

But in reality has someone ever given you feedback and you found yourself not enjoying the experience, at all?

I remember one time I was given feedback in the middle of something I was leading. It really took every ounce of self-control to just listen to what the person was saying and not react defensively. I felt angry. I was taken aback. I said, "thank you" when the person finished, but I was not thankful. As I have pondered why it bothered me so much, I have thought things like: I really do want feedback, it was just bad timing. I don't have a close enough relationship with the person, so that's why the feedback was hard for me to receive. 

I wonder if have ever offered well-meaning feedback to someone, and it wasn't helpful.

As leaders, we could say, people might not like feedback, but the need it! However, if our interactions or attempts at giving helpful feedback leave others angry or defensive, it might not be very fruitful.

So, what should we do?

This video gives an interesting perspective on the difference between coaching and feedback.



What do you think? What do you prefer: coaching or feedback? Because I just realized I don't want your feedback. I mean. I do. But, actually what I want is to grow. And, what we really want for those we lead is growth. What is the best way to get that result?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Be Survivors!

I have a question for you: if you have kids, do they yell at you? 

I used to believe that all kids yell (because mine do), but when I was talking to my friend recently, I discovered not all kids yell at their parents. I was giving this friend an illustration, and I started, “It’s kind of like when your kids yell at you . . .”

My friend looked at me with bewilderment, “Your kids yell at you?”

I looked back at him with more bewilderment, “Your kids don’t yell at you?” 

He just shook his head. I went on with my illustration, but I’m not sure it was impactful. Now, I’m not saying there are not consequences in our house for yelling. I’m just saying we have yet to find the secret one that stops it. Because, I got yelled at this morning. Two times in fact!

The first time it was because apparently last night, I mentioned that I might make eggs in the morning. Instead, this morning, I served oatmeal. 

“How can I trust you?! How can I trust you if you don’t do what you say you will do?!” was shouted at me.

Brian got a big kick out this, so he jumped in too (totally tongue-in-cheek), “I mean really, Mommy! How could you?! You say you’re making eggs, and then, you make oatmeal?! I just cannot believe you would do this!” (We’re trying a humor parenting strategy this week.)

Later, I was walking out the door to walk the twins, who were running late, to school. Alex suddenly decided he needed something, and he ran back in the house. Well, if Gabe and I didn’t get started walking, Gabe was going to be late, so off we went. Once Alex came back out of the house and didn’t see us waiting, he started yelling at me. Now, all our neighbors now know that some kids yell at their parents. 

I was reading in Matthew 10 this morning out the The Message version of the bible. Several of the things that Jesus says there really struck me. 

The first was from verses 29-31, “. . . don’t be intimated by all this bully talk.” 

That was a good reminder for me this morning after being yelled at. Now, of course, Jesus was not talking about the Stephens kids. However, it requires a lot of staying grounded in my identity in Christ to not yell back at my kids or to not take their anger personally. The calmer I am in those situations, the better it is for my kids. I realize more and more how much I need that posture in life, in ministry, and in being on mission. 

I need to be so rooted in Christ that what others think does not rattle me. That doesn’t mean that we are not supposed to have emotion. But Christ was basically telling his disciples that people were not going to like them! 

“When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors!"


I hope that’s an encouragement to you today. In whatever you are facing, don’t focus so much on your’s or other's ideas of success. Be survivors! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Miracle Morning?

I realized recently that I have only blogged once since this guy was born. He's almost one.

Last night, I was reading through past blog posts, and I started to get a little sad that I haven't been documenting our life, for my own sake. It was so fun to go back and read little stories (mostly about the kids). So I said to myself, "Self, it's time to start blogging again."

Here goes. This morning I was doing some menu planning and was surfing Pinterest for inspiration. I came across a pin that said-the perfect college morning, with a link to an article: "Miracle Morning". I actually clicked on it because I could use some miracle mornings. I'm not bothering to link the article because it was kind of silly and not that profound. 

That got me thinking about my morning, and what defines a miracle morning for me. For my own record, so I can read this post in a few years and chuckle, this was my morning:

5:30am: Alarm goes off. I am trying folks. The hope is that I wake up before all the kids, shower, get dressed, put on my make-up, get breakfast ready for the kids, and then sit in a chair with a cup of coffee, read my bible, and journal for just a few minutes before the crazy starts. Reality, this morning? I hit snooze until 6:20am!

6:20am: Pop out of bed, throw on clothes, put hair back into a ponytail, start the coffeemaker, get breakfast ready.

6:40am: Go into Cece's room, turn on lamp, rub her back (a new strategy that seems to soften the wake-up blow).

6:45am: Big boys wake up on their own. The one morning this week that they could sleep until 7:15am, they are up. Alex is complaining already, and he tries to go eat breakfast without getting dressed first.

7:00am: Alex and Gabe are wrestling in their bedroom. I tell them it is time to get dressed.

7:05am: Alex is not happy about the pants that he chose the night before. I make a fatal (I mean fatal) tactical error and tell him he can choose a different pair of pants. 

7:10am: Gabe is still trying to wrestle with Alex. I institute a new system. Gabe does not get to watch the Friday night movie unless her earns 5 points.

7:12am: I am answering way too many questions about the new point system!

7:15am: Cece is heating up her second muffin in the microwave, but I tell her she doesn't have time to eat it.

7:16am: Alex wants Cece to pass him a knife; Cece freaks out! The new 5 point system now includes Cece. In order for her to earn a point, she has to do something nice for her brothers. She does two things immediately following the institution of the system that do not earn her points.

7:20am: Alex is cold. I tell him that perhaps he should choose long-sleeve shirts instead of t-shirts, and then he might not be so cold. He decides he wants a long-sleeve shirt right then. I think to myself that I shouldn't talk so much.

7:25am: Cece and I go outside to wait for her ride. (Bless our friends who carpool with us.)

7:26am: Cece reminds me that she needs money for her lunch. I run inside grab my wallet and run back out with money.

7:30am: Gabe has brushed his teeth and is reading books because he wants a point.

7:40am: Alex has not brushed his teeth, and he is now wearing his third shirt of the morning.

7:43am: I tell Alex enough is enough, and that he must choose between the two shirts he was already wearing.

7:45am: Our babysitter arrives. Eli is still sleeping despite the previous Cece freakout.

7:46am: Alex is still wearing the third shirt. I skip all point systems and just tell him that he will not watch a movie tonight if it is that important to him to wear the third shirt.

7:47am: Alex is still whining. I just repeat the same words more slowly and more clearly. He cries, but says he wants to watch the movie, so he goes to change his shirt.

7:50am: Gabe is outside with his jacket, hat, gloves, and backpack because he wants a point.

7:52am: Alex is still whining, but he has on a different shirt, and I am helping him put his two sweatshirts on. Yep, he chooses to wear two sweatshirts instead of a jacket. 

7:55am: Alex suddenly stops whining and says, "I'm sorry mommy." We walk to the garage together.

Miracle morning? I think so!


(This is Alex a few weeks ago. No pics of him this morning. Never occurred to me to take one.)


Thursday, February 19, 2015

the fourth child

In the first 21 days of Cece's life, we posted 20 times on this blog!! Eli is three months old, and I haven't posted one photo of him. When he was a few weeks old, Daniel, who serves on the JV creative communications team came over to take some family photos, and he also took some pics of Eli.





Sweet boy is the fourth child, so he doesn't get 20 posts, but he sure is cute!