Tag Archives: Focus

Sunday Showcase: Haiku Mama

The haiku is the highest form of internet-enabled poetry.

Only seventeen syllables and comprising three lines, the haiku is short, focused on one image or idea, and is, therefore, perfect for reading when you don’t have a lot of time, but have a huge need to be entertained.

The best haikus are quick little hammerblows to the back of the head, stealthy jabs to the pleasure button in your brain.

I like to think of haikus as the body of poetry, stripped of pretense and boiled down to only the bones, but then seeing those bones tattooed and colored.

All of which might go a long way toward explaining why I really enjoyed a new book called Haiku Mama (because 17 syllables is all you have time to read) by Kari Anne Roy.

If you’re interested, and why wouldn’t you be, you can purchase a copy of the book from Amazon.com at this link.

Yay! The perfect time
To strip down naked and scream—
When Mommy’s on the phone.

Substitute the word Daddy for Mommy and you’ve got a perfect

Illustrated by Colleen O'Hara
Illustrated by Colleen O’Hara

snapshot of my life with the little dudes. So, yeah, this is a book that spoke to me.

And, once it spoke to me, it left me in tears. Mostly from laughter. I honestly don’t know when I last enjoyed a non-fiction book this much. It’s a tremendous and tremendously fast read. Just like the medium through which Roy is expressing herself.

In case you’re wondering, I fell for the book with the very first haiku. I read this and realized I needed to read the rest, that Kari Anne Roy was speaking my language.

Sniffing newborn’s head,
a primal urge takes over —
try not to eat him.

Brilliant.

This book gets a wonderful five dudes out of five. Great book that speaks a lot of truth in between the fits of laughter.

Go buy it and enjoy it quickly. You’ll be glad you did.

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Encouragement Beats Anger

Performance matters.

Whether you need performance to improve amongst people you supervise at work, or better behavior by the young dudes in the house, good intentions will only take you so far.

As parents and workplace leaders, it’s up to us to make sure those we supervise perform up to their potential. The problem with that is folks, either young or older, aren’t always going to do what is expected of them.

It’s when you stumble into a situation like that we have to show that we understand what leadership, true, real leadership is all about. Which means that we can’t meet lack of progress with anger.

Positive encouragement is much more effective than criticism in almost every situation.

In a recent blog post took the time to round up a number of different sources that tell the tale. And, since I thought I’d try to do something a little less controversial than what I’ve been covering the last two days, that’s where I turn. She focused mostly on the business aspects of the discussion, whereas I’m using her ideas and turning them to family.

Seriously, dudes, think about our remit here on the Guide. We’re here to help each other become better people, better dads. We do this because we want to help our children become the best, happiest people they can be.

All of which means, this sort of thing is perfect for us. Because, let’s face it, dudes, there’s no little dude on Earth who is ever going to go through life perfectly. They’re all going to need a bit more help.

By focusing on positive interactions with your employees and encouraging an upbeat emotional state as often as possible, you’ll be more likely to have a happy, productive and efficient team.

Negative emotions like fear, anger, confusion. . . They all serve to narrow our focus so we can only see the thing that is causing us pain. On the other hand, positive emotions such as happiness or satisfaction, can cause us to be more open in our outlook so we find even more good things to think about.

It’s the Odyssey Effect again. That is, I never saw anyone driving a Honda Odyssey minivan (minivans are cool) until I purchased one and then I saw them everywhere.

Also, a positive little dude is a happy little dude and that makes for a much better house. I mean, who enjoys a whiny, loud, screaming, snot-dribbling monster running loose in the house. Other than when it’s us after our basketball team loses. Totally different thing.

Anyway, our little dudes slip up, and they will, we need to bring them out of their narrow focus on what failed and help them see what went right, and how to apply those lessons to other areas or when they try it again.

Remember, a bad mood is contagious. When you unduly or unjustly criticize a little dude, he’s going to go running and make the life miserable of the next person he sees, be it brother, sister, friend or mom.

Sadly, humans tend to remember negative emotions better than positive ones. So, yes, you can give a good lesson by criticizing a little dude. The problem is, he’s going to associate the bad feelings with the act that he was trying to accomplish. So the next time he contemplates that act, all he’s going to think about are the bad feelings that resulted the last time.

That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

Which is why positivity is so much better. Encourage the little dude to try things differently and see if he gets a different result. Encourage creative thinking and watch his imagination escalate to approach a problem from a different, unique angle.

Our job is to bring the little dudes up to the next level, not hold them down so they never climb higher.

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Isn’t There Supposed To Be More To Life Than Just Work?

On my way to work at Awesome Elementary School the other day, I started yelling at the radio. Okay, sure, not that unusual, but this was because of a commercial.

It was a commercial for some sort of remote-desktop software that lets you see and manipulate files on your work computer even when you’re not on site. I’m not going to put the name of the company here because I don’t want to give it any sort of pub.

The gist of the commercial went along the lines of “why drag yourself in to the office when you’re sick when you can work from home with . . . (insert name of silly company here.)”

Really? Really?

This is what we’ve come to?

When you’re sick, when you should be concentrating on getting better by getting rest and possibly some extra sleep. . . we’re supposed to feel guilty about not being at work?

I know the economy is horrible and it’s a hiring market out there, but this is getting ridiculous. We’re expected to have smartphones on and with us at all times so we can check on work e-mail as soon as it’s necessary. We have to be in contact at all times. It’s almost like we’re a nation of doctors, all on call every night, waiting for something of importance to be delivered. And when it is, we’re supposed to act on it at once.

The American worker has the fewest paid vacation days in the entire Western world. The fewest. And there actually are people who see that as a serious plus to our industrial/service organizations. I consider it a horrible minus. Study after study has shown that a relaxed worker is a better worker, someone who will do more creative work than the dulled-by-endless-days-of-drudgery worker.

And yet we still limit people to, if they’re lucky, two weeks of vacation out of the entire year. Two weeks. A mere 10 days out of 365, not even 3% of the year.

Still, it’s not enough. Now we’ve got a company that wants to guilt us into working from home when we’re sick. When we’re sick, and this company actually has the gall to make it sound like working from home when you’re sick is something you should be proud to be doing.

Dudes, just be sick. Focus on getting better. Really.

Take it from me, when the revolution comes, that company will be the first up against the wall.

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