Make the Nurture Call
It was a dark and not so stormy night in January when I picked up my phone to call North Carolina. I hadn’t talked to my coaching buddy Peggy for ages. I giggled with delight to discover she’d married, been promoted, and is dancing up a storm of happiness. I then called my maid of honour, a lifetime friend who really cares where I am on the map, personally and literally! We affirmed our need for pacing after 50. The next call nailed the title of this column. “Miss Wendy,” a lifelong friend, commented how conversations with women really “nurture” her.
It’s heart month. How is your heart connection to your loved ones? Rather than stressing over things to buy, give the gift of time – as in 15 minutes or more of heartfelt conversation. Pick up the phone and make the call.
Resilient healthy farm families are connected to others. “But Elaine, we haven’t spoken a word in months.” “I don’t want to interfere, they have a busy life.” “I would rather see them face to face.” Bury the excuses in the backyard. One of the symptoms of strong families is the ability to communicate. I know father and son partnerships that rely on their cell phones throughout the day to keep on top of the many decisions farmers make. Sad thing is, those same guys aren’t pleased to see their wives chatting on the phone to girlfriends. Women and men both need to feel loved and connected to others outside of the family.
A family recently lost their farm home to a fire that consumed everything.
Their cell phone and the gracious support of the community have shown them how to really count their blessings. The phone rings with offers of resources and the affirmation of a caring friendship in good times and in bad.
Some of my coaching clients have been surprised to discover that their style of talking is hard for the other farm team members to relate to. Knowing that you need the facts, or need to know about personal things before getting down to business, helps people assess new ways to talk things out.
If appreciation truly is the number one stumbling block for families to keep moving their business plans forward, make your nurture call one of appreciation to your parents, siblings, or your children. “Dad, I just called to say how thankful I am for all the work you have contributed to my well-being. Happy Valentine’s Day.” “Doll, it is wonderful to have a daughter like you who remembers the little details that help make my day go smoother. Thanks for doing those books.” “Sis, I know it’s been tough for you to feel you are outside the inner circle of what’s going on at this farm, but hang in there, we want you to feel part of this farm, too.”
Picking up the phone and making the call to nurture your relationships takes courage when the connection has been rocky of late. Take delight in discovering the news of friends that you haven’t heard from in a long while. Weight Watchers will love you cause phone calls are a lot less fattening than chocolates! Your budget won’t be stressed with “retail therapy” receipts if you choose to use your long-distance plans to your advantage.
My theme for 2008 is “delight.” I want to enjoy the gift of today, and connect strongly to the people I listen to. I want to notice the joys of other people’s journeys, and not just dwell on the tough things. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
I met a young salesman today who has just come through a divorce. He says he has grown up and learned a lot about himself in the process. He now chooses to stay “more in the moment.” Taking a moment to be with another in conversation will nurture your soul. It might be the reward you need after a long night of calving or a day of sorting paperwork. Save the stamp, and use the 52 cents for a heartfelt conversation across the miles. That nurture call may keep you going for the next three months. Savor it!
Make every day Valentine’s day.
Elaine Froese, certified coach, coaches families to have courageous conversations. She is passionate about building relational capital.