If you watched the preview video for this blog you will have watched me ‘snap a pencil’! Not very impressive, there aren’t many people who couldn’t snap a pencil, so you have to know that there is more to this than meets the eye!
A few years ago, after my husband’s death, we went through some rocky times, you don’t just keep going ‘full steam ahead’ with the wind in your sails after something as life changing as that happens. But, it has to be said, for the most part we were, at least, coping as well as could be expected but the teenage years were upon us with at least 5 of the girls. (Let’s stop for a moments silence for those currently experiencing ‘teenagers’, as I am still!)
We were a bunch!
The usual tidal wave of hormones were surging through the house causing chaos to all and I felt that we were at risk of losing our closeness. Talking in our house is usually done with several contributions at once which tends to mean that most of what people are saying is lost in the turmoil, beside which, most of my children are ‘visual learners’. I decided I needed a visual prompt to teach them a valuable life lesson.
This is where the pencil comes in! As we sat at the dinner table one evening I gathered a load of pencils and put them down in front of me, with the children exchanging puzzled glances wondering what their ‘mad’ mother was up to now. What ‘mad’ mother was up to has had an incredible influence on the children from that day onwards and they often remind me of the day it happened.
You see, I wanted to keep my family as tight knit as they were so that they always had each other to rely on, I also knew that one of our strengths as a family was our closeness. I picked up one of the pencils and snapped it in half, “If you stand alone”, I told them, “you’re weak and can be easily broken”. I then picked up 8 pencils and tried my absolute hardest the break them all together, I had no chance, the collective strength of the pencils made it impossible for me.
I explained, “If we stand all together as a family, we are incredibly strong, we need to stay that way”.
Now we’re a Tee Pee!
They got it, and we’ve stayed close and strong ever since, through thick and thin, but someone said to me recently that I needed to find a new analogy now that the children are older and doing more of their own things. I though about this and decided that we are now more of a Tee Pee than a column, all stretching out in, life towards different goals. But a Tee Pee is made of a series of triangles, the strength of which is legendary, so, we are still the 8 pencils, just positioned a little differently. Long may we go on!……and this lesson applies to business as well……