I don’t remember my mama having much in the way of free time while we were growing up. She worked tirelessly to raise three girls, rarely allowing herself the luxury of pausing to catch her breath for a moment of relaxation or entertainment.
The movie Mr. Mom was one of the few exceptions I remember. I love, love, LOVE the way she laughed out loud at this line every time. For years afterward, the phrase echoed in our house. When one of us girls would do something stupid, another would tease: “South’s the drop off, moron!”
Looking back now as a mother, I recognize how busy my mom was and how she, like every other mother, could identify with this well-intentioned dad who was dog paddling like crazy to keep his head above water in the face of an endless (and often unfamiliar) “to do” list.
For our Millennials, Gen Ys, and (heaven forbid!) adults 40+ who have never laughed at Michael Keaton’s shenanigans, this movie was the original comedic masterpiece in which Dad bravely undertakes the role of stay-at-home mom. Prior to this particular scene, Keaton has been inching his way to “epic fail,” one domestic chore at a time. As he drops the kids at school, a woman in the passing car rolls down her window and unceremoniously informs him that he is in the wrong place.
“South’s the drop off, moron!”
Love the scene and the memories of my hard-working mama having a hearty, well-deserved laugh with her girls.
Hmmm. A loud voice announcing that we are doing it wrong. If only we received such clear feedback in our daily interactions with others!
We’ve all seen strong people skills in action. Those folks listen better and attract others through empathy and genuine sharing. They always seem to know what to say and how to say it.
With emotions under control, they make excellent decisions but also know when to trust their gut instincts. Because they are not afraid to accept criticism, they can use it to improve their performances.
This skill set is known as “emotional intelligence” or EI, and businesses are increasingly recognizing its importance to professional success by making it a part of hiring and promoting.
If you, like me, have significant room for improvement, don’t despair. As human beings, we are blessed with the ability to learn and develop EI:
1. Study your reactions to others. Do you rush to judgment before getting all of the facts? Hear what they’re REALLY saying. Take the time to empathize.
2. Look at the way you work with others. Are you humble, or do you seek attention? Do you focus on others and allow them to shine?
3. Take an honest look at yourself. Are you willing to accept criticism? Where could you improve? How do you react to stress? Do you find calm in difficult times and seek solutions, or are you quick to place blame?
Lastly, and maybe most importantly,
4. Be accountable for your actions. We are all human. If you hurt someone, be willing to apologize. People respect someone who has the integrity, courage, and desire to make it right.
And the next time you are dropping off on the north side, watching the passing window roll down, take a deep breath, prepare for the possibility that you could be wrong, and allow yourself the opportunity to grow.
I’m planning to do the same.
Lyna Landis is the manager of marketing and communications of Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC.