By calmly announcing, “I’m-A-Go”, we’re ready to lift-off into the uncharted territory of People exploration made possible by the catalyst of “Rich Conversation”!
The world is our stage and we travel across it on the two legs of Family and Work. When each leg is strong and healthy, we stride. When one is weak, we gimp. And — when, both are weak, we crawl.
The secret to healthy and strong legs of Family and Work — Relationships. The magic elixir for dynamic and vibrant relationships — Rich Conversation.
All we do begins with a thought.
Many think a conversation is defined as, “I’ll talk — you listen.” A few know that conversation is an art form of creative reciprocity.
Narcissists in the first group are infatuated with themselves and their Role Power. Expressionists in the second group are focused on service to others, through the synergy of Relationship Power.
Those caught up in the stratosphere of their Role Power operate from the premise that they have all the answers. As a result, they feel quite justified in doing things to others. Their approach is the ‘easy’ one of Process — since they do what they want, when they want and how they want. It is measurable, quantifiable, and miserable.
The purveyors of Relationship Power practice in the realm of intangibles. Because they believe People are more important than Process, each day is a new adventure of doing for others. Their journey is the ‘hard’ one of accepting the reality that the only constant in life is change. People change. What they want changes. How they want it changes. And, “Why?” is an oft asked question.
Are we courageous enough to say “Yes!” — to the discovery of another person? Do we have the strength to leave our comfort zone — of the well-worn rut and well-known routine — to accept the uncertainty of a new adventure? Can we imagine ourselves strapped into the Captain’s chair of a space shuttle with our hand on the throttle calmly announcing, “I’m-A-Go.”
Partners cross a bridge into each other’s worlds, motivated not only by the Receiver’s desire to ‘hear and understand’ but also to meet the Sender’s need to be ‘heard and understood’ — with a commitment to slow down our lives and devote specific uninterrupted time to our relationships. Ultimately saying to the other, “I respect your otherness. I want to learn from it. And — I want to share mine with you.”
Discovering two distinct worlds — Whenever two people are involved, there are always two realities. These realities will always be different in small and large ways, no matter what. And — the reality of the other person can be understood, accepted, valued, and even loved. Yet, it cannot be made identical to our own.
Clear communication is a window into the world of your partner. Truly being heard is a powerful aphrodisiac.
Without change, there is no growth. We are confined to the fate of remaining stuck in our unhappiness.
Change is the catalyst for healing.
Finally, we learn to see our partners for themselves — with their own private world of personal meaning, their own ideas and dreams — and, not merely as extensions of ourselves, or as we wish they were. Our approach becomes, “I want to know how you think.”
A conscious relationship is a spiritual path which leads us home again — to joy and aliveness, to the feeling of oneness we started out with. We learn to express love as a behavior daily, in large and small ways. In other words — in stretching to give our partner what they need, we learn to love. The transformation of our relationships may not be accomplished easily or quickly. We are setting off on a lifelong journey.
As we pack our mental suitcase, let’s celebrate in leaving the limitations of ‘process’ behind. Let’s lift our eyes to an unlimited future of ‘people’ exploration — with it’s priceless treasures just waiting to be discovered — in a shuttle christened “Rich Conversation“.
“Just keep your eyes on the white line, until you drive back into blue sky and sunshine.” From the PAWS of a puppy and kitten are lessons for us.
“Just keep your eyes on the white line, until you drive back into blue sky and sunshine.”
In some parts of the country, people drive for days to get out of the city. In Montana, we drive for hours to find one. Unless we’re driving at least 300 miles to do something, it’s probably just not that important!
It was Thanksgiving Day and Family was gathered 350 miles away. My first clue to a little excitement for that morning was at 3:30 AM, as I read the online Severe Weather Alert for blowing and drifting snow in an area known for high winds. The image that came to mind was of the log chain—that the community uses for a wind sock—popping links into snow drifts.
The reality was much different from the imagination. Before I even made it to the area of predicted severe weather, there was no hope in seeing anything on the side of the road. The road had disappeared into a white nothingness.
Blowing and drifting snow?! Who knew, or cared. The world had gone, white!
Visibility was zero. Now, wait. There was visibility. All white! White snow; white air; white road; and a few splotches of white lines were visible. We take them for granted most days: those solid white lines down the edge of a highway. That morning, they were the difference between moving forward and hibernation. A simple stripe of paint offered hope of progress.
It only took another 100 miles and 4 hours, until I drove into blue sky and sunshine.
Eventually, I drove right into the ranch yard and open arms of Family. A special Thanksgiving Day it was. In addition to the traditional fare of food and drink, this day included an opportunity to Meet the Parents. My daughter and her sweetie bravely hosted an event of Thanksgiving for their parents, who had yet to meet.
The meeting, and visiting, was made easier by George and Indie. You see, George is a big, old, grey cat; Indie is a small, young, red-heeler dog. Hence the expression, “Getting along like cats and dogs.” Oh, they get along just fine. Deep down, I do believe there is affection between the two. It’s the expression of the emotion that is comical.
Much more than the yelps and growls, it’s the PAWS which offer the love pats!
While we can learn much from two-legged folk, the lessons tutored by George and Indie made sense of my earlier morning experience of White.
Planning Action Will Stories
Planning ~ You can see it in their eyes, as they think of the next episode of feline and canine adventure.
Action ~ They, literally, spring into it. Any doubts or reservations are pushed aside and they launch full-bore into the episode at hand.
Will ~ Fun will be obtained, by any means necessary to that end. Any resistance to great sport is overcome by sheer willpower.
Stories ~ We will remember, forever, the Day because it is wrapped in the ribbons and bows of the narrative.
My morning of Montana adventure contained all of the elements of PAWS. From the bag of winter survival gear to the full tank of fuel, planning and preparedness were the order of the day. Sitting beside the road in hopes of a kinder and gentler Mother Nature was forgone in exchange for moving forward, one mile at a time. Will-Power was my co-pilot, although, He was white-knuckled and wide-eyed, at times. Then, there are the tall tales—stories to tell the grandkids!
When given the opportunity of the impossible, let’s focus on the solutions available within our PAWS. By putting our hands to the task of finding joy by doing, and our feet to the path leading us to the discovery of an adventure, we find a priceless treasure that is ours, forever.
Grandfather clocks are representative of the grandeur of statesmen and the indelible legacy of the pendulum swings — from generation to generation.
The Pendulum Swings
Much is explained in the statement, “Sons are more like their grandfathers than their dads.” When I first heard it, I wondered, “Why?” Then it dawned on me, “We always want what we don’t have.”
This is a story about my son, his grandfathers (maternal and paternal), his great-grandfather, his great-great-grandfather, and his great-great-great grandfather. Truly, it is a great story!
My son experienced a sense of community by starting and finishing his school years in Roundup, Montana. He graduated from High School in the company of many friends, with whom he had started Kindergarten. As for me, I was the new kid on three very different playgrounds during my junior year of High School: Longview, TX; New Underwood, SD; and Lavina, MT.
Here’s where the story begins. Later, we’ll do the introspective analysis of the common theme in this Foard journey. Enjoy!
Addison Kemp Foard was born in Baltimore, Maryland in the year of 1826. His son, Arthur Craig Foard joined his parents in the city during the year of 1860. His son, Charles Arthur Foard was the first generation to experience childhood in Montana, beginning in 1895. His son, James Burnett Foard graced the world by arriving in 1931; much more than a dad, he became a hero. Sometimes teased as being a dinosaur, my preference is to be thought of as a Classic, having arrived in the year of 1955 and given the name Kim Burnett Foard. The fellow who is following in the footsteps of his grandfathers began his journey on July 25, 1988. His name is Ryan Charles Foard.
At times, Ryan will hop in my pickup, reach over and take the Zune MP3 music player into his hands, and dial up my favorite Paul Overstreet song, Seein’ My Father In Me. We listen to it together. No explanation before as to why, nor any discussion afterwards about what. We each just bask in the thoughts and emotions.
For me, the chorus rings true in the relationship with my Dad:
And now lookin’ back I can recall the times we disagreed
When I could not take hold of his old fashioned ways
And the more I tried to prove him wrong
The more I proved him right
Now I know why he still stood by me
When I went through that stage
Recently, a new release by Brad Paisley Anything Like Me is the other side of that ‘Father-Son’ coin. As I listened to it for the first time, each line of the song tugged at a heart-string and recalled a memory about my favorite son.
I’ve seen this look in Ryan’s eyes:
He’s gonna love me and hate me along the way
Years are gonna fly by; I already dread the day
He’s gonna hug his momma; he’s gonna shake my hand
He’s gonna act like he can’t wait to leave
One thing is for certain about Ryan — he does everything with style. When it came to leaving home after High School Graduation, think “tornado” — and you’ll have some idea of the whirlwind of activity and suddenness of departure. In fact, he’s still twisting his way down the road of his version of the Australian walk-a-bout on the backs of Brahma bulls.
He has built log-houses, poured concrete for custom homes, guided dudes hunting trophy elk into the Wyoming wilderness, driven beet truck on North Dakota farms, built fence in South Dakota and rode bulls in arenas from Canada to the Mexico border. Right now, he’s in Houston, Texas, a few miles from the ocean in charge of his own crew building fence around a wildlife refuge for the benefit of our United States Government. He’s 21.
This nomadic, adventuresome approach to life by Ryan Charles Foard began, at least 184 years ago.
In 1826, Addison Kemp Foard arrived to stay in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1879, his son, Arthur Craig Foard headed for Montana and lived the life of miner, farmer, rancher, cobbler and saddle maker, with much travel in his retirement years.
In 1920, Charles Arthur Foard married and homesteaded a place to call home.
In 1953, my mom and James Burnett Foard began an adventure of travel that took them from North to South — three times!
In the fall of 1981, Kim Burnett Foard planted a seed that eventually rooted his family to the Roundup community for twenty-plus years.
Ryan Charles Foard has cut the chains on his anchors and is full steam ahead into uncharted waters!
Even now, Ryan sees his dad tethered to a life that has come full circle. My home in Red Lodge is just a few miles from Fishtail, the home of the first Foard Family to live in Montana. My office is in Billings, the familiar community of childhood memories, college education, and thirty years of service to a loyal family of clients.
From generation to generation, the pendulum swings.
One generation enjoys home — the next enjoys adventure. One generation loves to have friends and family come to visit — the next loves to socialize and entertain wherever there is an event. One generation thinks managing risk is a worthwhile endeavor — the next knows an experience is only worthwhile if it involves risk.
Ryan’s grandfathers were men bigger than life itself. They were hands-on kind of guys who were gifted in all things mechanical. His paternal grandfather could do things with semi-trucks that were the envy of others stuck in their four-wheel drive pickups. His attitude and frequent comment was, “If a man made it, I can fix it.” Ryan’s maternal grandfather could do things with airplanes that left many jaws hanging and tummies tickled. His attitude and frequent comment was, “Let’s go!”
Both men loved people and conducted their lives to express that affection. They enjoyed social occasions and frequently were the last to leave. While at an event, they were never the life of the party, or wall flowers. Simply, they were great conversationalists — they knew just the right balance of listening and sharing. In fact, they were each known to have made a telephone call to a wrong number and, then, to visit for a while with that new friend.
Dads tend to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Grandfathers have that out of their systems and are content to be like big old oak trees: Massive, Accomplished, Polished, Strong, Straight and Tall. Father Time is often pictured as a grim reaper, carrying an hourglass or other timekeeping device (representing time’s constant movement). Grandfather Clocks are representative of the grandeur of statesmen and the indelible legacy of the pendulum swings — from generation to generation.
If watched closely though, dads raise their hands from the circle of their work to offer huge smiles, at least four times a day. The traditional clock face is numbered from 1 to 12. Now, picture those hands raised and pointing to the numbers: Two and Ten. At 10 before 2 and 10 after 10 (AM and PM), the arc formed upward is only a small expression of the pride that dads have for their sons.
To carry on the traditions of his grandfathers, Ryan has big boots to fill. He shuffles at times to keep the toes pointed forward. Every now and then his spurs get tangled and he visits with Mother Earth. As he brushes himself off, he is calling for the next ride.
At the beginning of Ryan’s bull riding crusade, he mentioned to me one day, “Dad, riding these bulls is fairly easy. All you have to do is stay in the middle of them and ride ’em jump for jump!”