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Girls, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll

Girls, Drugs, and Rock and Roll

I think it was back in the late 60s

before I could drive, ’66 or ’67 when I was likely 12 or 13, that I helped my grandfather with his grass cutting and yard work most every weekend during the summers.  He and my grandmother lived in Dayton close to town, and their rented garage where they parked their car was down the street.  It was a four-bay garage building, and one warm Saturday we were getting some tools out of his bay.

As I remember his landlord showed up at the same time, and she and my grandfather got to talking. Nothing out of the ordinary, except I keep hearing words like, “What is this world coming to?” and “What’s wrong with the youth of today?”

Those snippets made a huge impression on me; after all, I’m a young teenager (That alone clears me of any fault…), it’s the late sixties, and I’m thinking to myself, “Man, it looks pretty cool from where I’m standing.” (Okay, I wasn’t that articulate, but you get my drift.) I’m really thinking girls, drugs, rock and roll, and everything else that a pre-pubescent high school young fellow might be musing.  Things are sweet.

Now, this article could go into at least three different directions.  First is the notion that I was never going to grow up and be like THEM!  They were much “older” and certainly did not understand the thought process of a teenager, no matter how fraught with peril that thought process could be.  I could still be right and for most of the time perfectly bulletproof, and they just didn’t understand.

Secondly is the idea that there are tremendous graces in the fact that we only grow to something typically less than a century of years.  Wikipedia claims that Abraham was 213 years old, and for the life of me I can’t even muster a thought that being that old could still mean I was of service to others, let alone being of service to myself.

Finally is the idea that though comments were said and assumptions made, we really did not understand each other.  We did not have an appreciative understanding from where the other person was coming.

And since I am nearly as old as my grandfather was at the time, I have to put myself in his shoes and pretend that I am talking to my 9 year old grandson, Alex, to figure out my intention with that conversation.

What does the world look like from his point of view?
What are his fears?
What are his hopes?

Likely, it’s not girls, drugs, and rock and roll, but it might be girls (Okay, maybe not yet at the age of nine.) electronics, and digital streaming.

To gain an appreciative understanding?

We have to ask questions;
We have to listen;
We have to put aside ingrained assumptions; (And we make them all the time, rightly or wrongly.)
We have to reply back in our own words with what we are hearing; and
We have to ask if our interpretation of the other’s intention is correct.

Be curious.

Then we might have a better idea as to what the world might be coming to or gain an insight into the impressive attributes of today’s youth.

And even though I grew up to be much like my grandfather, and that Abraham is going to win in the age game, I am glad to know that I can ask one more question, so that you and I can have a better understanding of each other.


At THE HABER GROUP we help clients embrace the behaviors that create great leaders by helping them be better thinkers.  We know what gets in the way.  Give us a call at 513-368-7203.  We would love to talk.

A Gift for the Season: Appreciative Understanding


In his popular book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey wrote: “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.”  But what does that really mean and, more importantly, what gets in the way?  How do we get there?

To understand another we first need to be aware of ourselves, how we behave and how we react to the behaviors of others. We all “show up” in different ways, and another’s behavior can be much different than our own; this can challenge both the beliefs we have about ourselves and our safety in the world.

In order for us to hold onto our current beliefs we typically judge someone’s different behaviors as right or wrong; we’re right, you’re wrong, or the other way around.  We work hard at being understood first in order to make the world safe and prove the worth of ourselves and our ideas.  That’s one reason why ideas in meetings can be shot down so quickly; someone else’s idea can challenge your own worth.

For example, when the speeding car flies by you potentially endangering traffic, we can be quick to judge.  There is a reaction that says how we drive is different, safer, better, than the person in the other car.

As a result one thing comes true: if we do not understand another, it is nearly impossible to appreciate them, their talents, their capabilities and contributions.

We lose, they lose, your team loses.

And when we learn that the car was speeding to the hospital with a very sick child, we begin to shed light to a deeper understanding; heck, we might even want to lead the way!

The simple truth is that, until we take the time and make the effort to know, we don’t know.

Here are a couple of ideas that might stimulate a different result:

Awareness leads to a deeper understanding: Becoming aware of not only how we react to others, but also why, is an important step in creating an appreciative understanding of another.  Awareness can be habitual if we stay tuned to our bodies and how it reacts to any situation. The physical reaction will always tell us if we are judging a situation that puts our identity in jeopardy.

Appreciation leads to curiosity: What is it about the other person that we do not know?  Why are they motivated to behave in the ways they do? Asking questions is another habit that we can learn; by asking questions you put aside the challenge to your worth and show the other their value and equal worth.

What is it about the other person that you react to, yet do not know why?

What is their biggest challenge?

What do they yearn for most?

What do they need from us?

What do they have that can teach us something new and different from what we already know?

Making even the slightest shift in appreciative understanding could be the greatest gift you give yourself this season.


This Fist of Ours!

In a critical thinking skills workshop we facilitate, we perform an exercise called “The Fist.”  During the exercise we pair up attendees and have them take turns at putting fists under their chins while the other, without touching or using physical action, has a short window of time to convince the other to remove his or her fist from their chin.  It is a fantastic experience that has no right or wrong answer.  Either they do, or they don’t.  Pretty simple.