Katie Feavel

do good work and be nice to people

Each morning before my husband leaves for work, he asks our son the same question…

"What are we going to do today?"

"Good work and be nice to people!" Sam repeats with pride.

Occasionally, "and listen to mama" gets added on for good measure. 

Do good work and be nice to people.

It’s simple, straightforward, yet a message need not be complex to be profound, right?

Last week, I traveled with Maggie for some movement therapy that we can’t get locally and that she has made great improvements with.

It’s worth it, every added stress or inconvenience, and we’re infinitely blessed with the opportunity and help we receive to make it happen.

Last week, I watched my girl workto make strides in areas of awareness, communication and coordination.

Rare, fleeting moments of connectivity grew a little more frequent, a little more stable.

But, last week, she simultaneously struggled in the sensory and self-regulatory departments.

There was a lot more hitting, kicking, head-butting, pinching, yelling... to try to make sense of the noise in her head or fill the space around her, perhaps.

Sleep was terrible, calm was elusive and the end of the week found us camped out on an airport floor working through a harsh sensory meltdown.

And in the midst of the emotional roller coaster that was last week, I found myself wondering how our little family motto could apply to Maggie as she grows.

Will she ever fully understand the concepts of kindness, generosity, work ethic, resilience?

Will she find things in life that fulfill her, challenge her, make her feel whole?

Will she...

Silly mom.

Trying once again to qualify such intuitive concepts into concrete terms.

Maggie already understands all of these things.

She is the most resilient of us all.

She doesgood, hard, meaningful work.

She pushes herself out of the limits of her comfort zone to learn and grow.

She works diligently, purposefully for things that come naturally to the rest of us.

She is determined.

She is fierce.

Yet, she also gives of her emotional self generously, with smiles, high fives, hugs and nose scrunches, even when it is frequently uncomfortable for her to do so.

And that’s when I realized the beauty of this phrase.

In its simplicity is flexibility.

Do good work and be nice to people.

It’s equally applicable to all of us.

It can mean different things at varying phases of life.

It can simplify the aspects of interaction that we make overly complicated in our own minds.

1M1A6938Photo Credit: Nicki Laureanti Photography

 

So, this is what I’m left with, to BOTH my children…

Do good work.

Seek work that challenges you, that grows your capacity, and trust you will rise to meet it.

Seek to optimize the quality of your work — there is no room for “good enough.” When you know better, do better.

Seek out work that affects positive change for others.

Seek to understand your limitations, and refuse to settle there — be honest with yourself about your weaknesses.

Be nice to people.

Offer compassion without a need for understanding.

Offer smiles prodigiously, especially to those whose faces seem to have not worn one in years.

Offer patience to those who do not afford you the same.

Offer understanding and a listening ear free of judgement, though this may be one of the most difficult tenets to manage.

Above all, be generous of your time, gifts and resources, without any expectation of reciprocity.

You will fail in all of these daily.

Good.

You will learn how to do them better.

1M1A6831Photo Credit: Nicki Laureanti Photography

*Special thanks to Nicki Laureanti for your amazing captures of our family