Three Little Words

Men are invigorated by knowing they are Respected. Women are nourished by knowing they are Cherished

Listen to your Heart

When my twenty-four year old daughter takes time to draft an email reply for the sole purpose of teasing me, I know my efforts to tickle the keyboard in hopes of reaching her funny-bone have been successful.

Hey Dad!  Thanks for the note. My first question would have to be: What’s this about me being in a cylinder practicing the “3×5” with a Roman soldier?!  LOL!  …Sorry! Couldn’t resist!!!  haha..!  The vines were kinda swingin’ and swayin’ there for a while, but I’m pretty sure I read between em! 🙂 Thanks, Dad. Love you too!

My daughter has grown up in an era where “equality” has been the mantra.

A quote attributed to William Wrigley, Jr. gives pause to this notion of equality of the sexes: “When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

If we have come so far in our “evolution” that there is no difference between men and women, “Which gender will volunteer to disappear?” Or, “Which gender thinks the other is unnecessary?”

The introduction of the email to my daughter contained this observation from, and about, me:

For some crazy reason, tough guys struggle with expressing their love. Words don’t seem to do it. So, we swing through the jungle to show you how much we care.

As a student of relationship strategies, I’ve discovered many models present theorems based on quadrants. The DISC profile uses descriptors of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious. The KWML profile uses descriptors of King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.

In the course of “doing the parent thing” to my daughter, and her twenty-one year old brother, they have both been exposed to KWML, as an introduction to the notion that we are, all, unique and different – hard-wired at birth into one of the four quadrants. The fun is growing towards the other three and maturing to the point where we are “centered” and balanced.

Since I’ve incorporated the spectrum opposites of logic and emotion into my “Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer” shtick, the stage was set for the email communication to my “little girl.” Rather than do the parent thing to her, one more time, the presentation was as if she had joined a conversation that I was having with a friend:

The Poet speaks of the feelings of an ever expanding heart, purpose and fate. The Warrior thinks in terms of logistics.

Remember that sea of umbrella toting singles? If you look closely, you will also see two other groups. There are those waifs, who have no umbrella and wait to be rescued from the consequences of their choices. And, there are those poor souls, who are hermetically sealed inside their bubble of bitterness. If you look even closer, what at first glance appeared to be umbrellas are actually shields held by the Warriors.

They are fully equipped to Serve, Share and Smile (The 3×5). Their gear includes the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes ready to pursue peace, shield of faith, helmet of insight, and the light saber of the Spirit. Giving the lead role to Kings, the stage to Magicians, and the sanctuary to Poets, these Warriors can be found on the fringes of the crowd thinking, “You are all safe on my watch.”

This one does it all believing, someday, a woman will choose to fold her umbrella, step close, wrap feminine arms around her man and express from the bottom of her soul, “Oh, my hero!”

My daughter will turn 24 in September. Her moniker is Foard Tuff, a word play on the original Ford Tough displayed at the Dealership where she works. In fact, the local community refers to her as the Ford Girl. Little do they know that she is a one-of-a-kind Foard Girl. She thinks it’s funnier than heck.

Dads have been known to be prejudicial. This one confesses in full. I’m very proud of my daughter. As her high school math teacher gushed in a Parent-Teacher Conference, “Your daughter is the perfect student. She does everything asked of her and does some things just for herself.” From high school and the extra-curricular activities within the community, she worked her way through college and a couple of relationships, enjoyed a bidding war for her talents in December of her senior year of college between the Ford Dealership (where she had worked for the last two years of college) and a Website Design firm (where she had worked the year before that) until she finally said, “Dad, it’s not about the money. I love my job!”

Gifted in all things creative, her umbrella is quite colorful. She holds it with a strong arm and a gracious spirit. Do I want some beast of a fellow to “trample her bloom”? We, both, know the answer to that silly question.

What I believe, and hope, is that someday there will be a gentle bear of a man dressed in his Roman Soldier finest, who is ready to practice the “3×5” with my daughter. At that time she can fold her umbrella and join him in the cylinder of protection he offers.

Should she pretend her umbrella no longer exists, destroy it, or have it locked away to atrophy? Again, the answer is, “No.”; “No, thanks and no way …”; to the definitive, “Heck, no!”

As much as that hero of hers will become a better man with her arms around him, he is only human. There will be times when his arms become tired and, as hard as it is for a guy to do, he will need to ask for her help in shielding them. Other times, the wind of fate will rip his shield to pieces and enemies will slash it to ribbons. While he repairs the damage, it will be my daughter’s umbrella protecting them.

On a daily basis, she will need her umbrella to journey through the day, just as he will need his shield in the daily course of battle. The secret to all of this is that as he drags home the trophy dragon at the end of his day, his life has purpose and that shield has real meaning because of a woman who chooses to fold her umbrella at the end of her day and wrap her arms around him – one more time.

The moral of this story:

Men are invigorated by knowing they are Respected. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“Oh, my hero!”

Women are nourished by knowing they are Cherished. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“I love you!”

www.kimfoard.com

Greatest of These

When our faith is shaken and our hope is tattered, the road back to both is paved with love.

Faith, Hope, and Love

Some days we’re the windshield; some days we’re the bug. The roller-coaster of life can take its toll on our psyches. As a CPA, for the last thirty years, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity, and privilege, of guiding others toward the destinations of their choice. My focus has always been on that word in the center of Certified Public Accountant; I believe “It’s all about the people.”

The “it” is life itself; abundant, fruitful, rich and vibrant life.

Faith is “The substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” Gravity is a prime example for us to consider. Each morning, we awake to find ourselves firmly anchored to the bed; some mornings more so than others. As we roll ourselves out, our feet touch the floor with complete confidence that we can journey successfully through the day.

Hope is “The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Many tease that accountants have no feelings. While words can express logic, they are inadequate in the expression of feelings. As children, we all made wishes. Many times, adults tempered our hopes with, “If wishes were horses, we’d all have a ride.”

Love is “The greatest gift; and, is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.”

Since faith and hope are intangibles outside of our control, let’s focus on what is within our sphere of influence. While we can think Faith, and feel Hope; we can do Love.

Love is patient, Love is kind, Rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, Always perseveres.

Question: Can we be patient, kind, happy, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and perseverant? Answer: Yes. Even beyond the simple affirmative, we can do that for ourselves, if all alone; and, for others, when given the opportunity. The secret is in the four-letter word: give.

When our faith is shaken and our hope is tattered, the road back to both is paved with love. We can begin immediately to offer it to ourselves, first; and, then, to others. As we do, we will find that love “Always hopes” and through that discovery, our hope is restored. Then, because of that hope, we find the substance of faith making it, all, possible!

Since perfect love casts out fear, we can boldly proclaim, “Now, these three remain: faith, hope and love; the greatest of these is Love.”

www.kimfoard.com

Heard and Understood

We learn to see our partners for themselves, with their own ideas and dreams. Our approach becomes, “I want to know how you think.”

Communication is what the listener does.

Upon calling for support and receiving an instruction of, “Press 1 for English, 2 for @#$%^&*”, we select the language of greatest comprehension. We want to hear and understand the solution to our situation.

Do we offer the same in our interpersonal communications? Or, do we launch off into a discourse that is foreign to the ears of our partner? When they seem puzzled, do we simply ‘turn up the volume’ and give them another dose of @#$%^&*?

When discovering the concept of Imago Relationships, my first thought was “I’m-A-Go” — that’s cute. It reminds me of a Space Shuttle lift-off. Many of our relationships are desirous of going go to a higher level.

These quotes from the article are a few of my favorites:

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 — but, not made to be identical to our own.

Your conflict can be the very fuel for the fulfillment you seek.

Being aware of ourselves is the key — it changes everything.

What we need to understand and accept is that conflict is supposed to happen. This is as nature intended it. Everything in nature is in conflict. Conflict is a sign that the psyche is trying to survive, to get its needs met, and become whole. It’s only without this knowledge that conflict is destructive.

Regardless of what we may believe, relationships are not born of love — but of need. Real love is born in relationships, as a result of understanding what they are about — and doing what is necessary to have them.

A ‘conscious’ Relationship itself is the practice you need to restore your sense of aliveness.

Clear communication is a window into the world of your partner — truly being heard and understood 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.

I call the process by which we alter our entrenched behaviors to give our partners what they need: ‘stretching’ — for it requires that we conquer our fears and do what comes unnaturally.

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.

In the game of Football, team members ‘huddle up’ to have the opportunity to ‘hear and understand’ the next play. If it’s a passing play, it is only successful if the receiver catches the ball.

Next time we have the opportunity to quarterback a conversation, let’s call plays in a language our receiver understands. Then, as they run the route, let’s give them the opportunity to catch what is thrown.

After all, the only goal that, really, matters — to be Heard and Understood.

www.kimfoard.com

iiWii

Our worldview is challenged by an acronym for, “Kind of Zen-ish generic response to a wide range of stupid what and why type questions.”

To the Power of E

The “Wii” is recognized as, “Games that are easy to play and fun for everyone.” Less well known and recognized is “iiWii”. According to the Urban Dictionary, it is the acronym for, “Kind of Zen-ish generic response to a wide range of stupid what and why type questions.”

It Is What It Is

The definition continues:

iiwii – pronounced (‘e’-‘wee’) – It Is What It Is. 1) An all encompassing short word to sum up an agreed upon and or well understood simple and obvious situation or action. 2) A simple reply to an obvious statement of fact of which there is little or nothing that can be done to change the situation or action.

Many times, the response to an unpleasantness is expressed by, “Well, you can’t fix stupid.”

Or, in other words an acceptance of, “It Is What It Is.”

Does anyone actually believe they are stupid? We, all, do “stupid” things. Does that make us stupid?

Reality is our perception of it.

From our vantage point, we see “stupid people” every day. Or, are they (just like us) doing the very best they can with what they know and what they have? I’ve taken the time to interview a few and, sure enough, they assure me they are doing their best!

The point is: They think they have done their best. I think they are behaving stupidly.

It Is What It Is

For a fact, the beliefs are different. By default, they must be: We are unique creations, one-of-a-kind, broke-the-mold, and very special in the greater scheme of the Universe.

Yet, we are not the center of that universe. We have this “perch of a view” that is uniquely ours. Think about the stories of: an accident, where everyone has a different account of what happened; a tax return, where a dozen accountants each come up with a different result; even, this tome, which will touch each person differently.

If the question is: Why? The answer is: We all see it differently because of our individual, and unique, education and experience. Same set of facts: different conclusions by each and every participant.

It Is What It Is

This is what It is:

I Give

You Decide

You give; another decides. The power to give is within our control. What another does with the gift is outside our control. Our gift may be accepted, or rejected. We give what we are able and willing. Others accept what is pleasing to them. Simple as that.

In keeping with the proverb, “The greatest love is that which is given,” there is a secret in the Karma of “what goes around comes around.” There is a power freely flowing from the Universal Principle involved. We give; we receive. The more we give; the more we receive.

It Is What It Is

Comments from Wikipedia:

Ninetendo’s spelling of “Wii” with two lower-case “i” characters is meant to resemble two people standing side by side, representing players gathering together.

The company has given many reasons for this choice of name since the announcement; however, the best known is: Wii sounds like ‘we’, which emphasizes that the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.

Just we. E-We.

Think of that first E as representing the word “Empower”.

Then, when tempted to judge another, remember:

Good, better, best.

Never let it rest.

‘Til our good is better,

And, our better is best!

It Is What It Is

www.kimfoard.com

Barking Cats

The fun begins by knowing whether we want a pet, or, a partner; then, actively listening to the sounds they make and the stories they share!

Pets and Partners

Profitable interactions and exchanges flow from the answer to one simple question: “What do you expect from me?”

When young, the reality is “We don’t know what we don’t know.” In other words, “Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.” Until we discover what we like, many times revealed by exposure to what we find distasteful, we are limited in our ability to choose wisely.

For example, until young humans learn that cats meow and dogs bark, there is the potential for a bad relationship between pet and owner. If the young pet owner expects their cat to bark, they have three legitimate choices; and, one which is more popular and less effective, practiced by adults in dysfunctional relationships.

They can:

1.) Decide to be happy with the reality that their cat meows and purrs.

2.) Decide to be unhappy with the fact that their cat doesn’t bark.

3.) Replace the cat with a dog.

4.) Attempt to change the cat.

Good luck with that last one!

Humans are not like pets: hardwired to bark, or meow. We can do and be absolutely anything. The secret to a relationship with another person, though, is the same as the pet story: We need to really listen and decide at the beginning of the relationship if we can commit to happiness.

Pets have no choice about the relationship into which they are brought; they are owned as “things.” Although noble that people mature enough to choose a barking dog, the dog has no choice in its owner. Loveable and loyal, the dog makes the best of its new home, while expecting nothing in return: the ultimate definition of unconditional love.

The dog’s owner is happy because their expectations are met: barking and unconditional love.

People are not things and we have the freedom to choose our relationships If mature, we know what we want. Even more important, we are able to articulate and demonstrate what we are able and willing to give.

Thus, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers; only truthful responses to the one simple question: “What do you expect from me?” The fun begins by knowing whether we want a pet, or, a partner; then, actively listening to the sounds they make and the stories they share!

www.kimfoard.com

Alpha and Omega

Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes.

Thoughts to Destiny

An oft quoted slogan is, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” There are two sides to that coin, I know. Yet, there is merit, in consideration of love being defined as “Love is patient, Love is kind, It rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, Always perseveres.” None of that needs an apology.

What needs a little thought, though, is the question, “Where do we begin and end?”

One day when Lindsey and Ryan were grade school age, we were in Billings at the Applebees in the heights for lunch. As we were waiting for a table, we were also enjoying the signage. I’d seen it several times, before. Yet, it must have put the exclamation point behind the lesson for the day: “Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes.”

Maybe, that’s just another way of saying, “We get what we allow.” Many will try to feed us the crumbs of their time and affection. The result is a loss of energy and eventually the loss of our freedoms. How much better to sit at the banquet table of life and enjoy our God given right to be nourished.

In the animal kingdom, there is the Alpha Male, who struts his stuff and makes more noise than the competition. He tends to forget that there will always be a meaner gorilla, somewhere, who will grind him into dust and, eventually, be taken down by an even meaner gorilla, and so on, ad infinitum.

Refreshing is an Omega Male character like Bruce Willis, who, in his movies, is the epitome of the “Last Boy Scout”. He isn’t necessarily the strongest physically; yet, he simply refuses to accept defeat. Even when beaten until he’s bloody, he doggedly pursues the enemy; when tempted to take the easy way, he refuses to compromise; and, when we beg him to quit, he reminds us that the alternative to success is worse than death. He wins because he is the toughest: mentally and emotionally.

The years horseback taught a lesson that I use to guide others to destinations of their choice. A cowboy guides his herd by riding at the rear, moving up and along the sides, offering course corrections at the appropriate pace. Since cows never go in a straight line, the cowboy is alternating from one side, back across the rear of the herd, around to the other side, and so on, until the journey ends. Some of the cows offer appreciation for greener pastures; others give the impression it was their idea.

A shepherd, although different in philosophy from a cowboy, is also found behind those in his care. Rather than approach his flock with the intent of driving them, he comes prepared with a dog and a hook. Once noses are pointed in the direction of the day’s destination, sheep will be sheep, and the adventure begins. Wasting no time in thinking, they just do, as they rush to play “follow-the-leader”. They have implicit trust in the shepherd’s ability to rescue them from any misfortune.

Beginning to end, this is true: Thoughts lead to words; Words lead to actions; Actions lead to habits; Habits lead to character; and, Character leads to our Destiny.

www.kimfoard.com

Power Of One

Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.

Number 1We have all witnessed the spectacle of someone in front of a crowd banging on their drum, making noise and giving the appearance of a parade — when in reality, they were being run out of town. Those who once followed are now in pursuit.

The scene captures the essence of human nature: we’re constantly moving toward something.

The ancient scholars gave the instruction that we cannot serve two masters. We will love one and hate the other. The one who hung one sun and one moon in the sky of our unique earth — as a reminder that there is one designer and master builder — is known simply as “I Am.

Acknowledging that higher power allows us, as an instrument of His goodness, to boldly proclaim, “I’m the leader of one and boss of me.

At the beginning of each new day is a reminder of our limitations, as we subject ourselves to the law of gravity and put on our pants — one leg at a time. Then, with a knee bent, we remember the one great commandment, “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” And, one similar, “Love your neighbor as yourself.

A working definition of love might be, “Love is patient, Love is kind, It rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, and Always perseveres.” The result of that effort will always be growth in ourselves and others.

The secret mantra becomes, “If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.” Because, it is impossible to drag — or, ride on the coattails of — anyone else, to any destination.

In the course of our journey, we will discover ‘one more‘ as the difference between failure and success. Our greatest success comes when we commit to a singular focal point —  able and willing to give our all for that one choice.

We can choose to make the world better for days by planting flowers. We can improve it for years by planting trees. And, we can change it forever by planting ideas in the minds of those we touch.

From one tiny seed grows much. Whether a bountiful garden, productive orchard, or fruitful life, it all begins with a single thought. Individually, we have the right to choose.

More than a right, it is a responsibility. As students of life, we begin with our choice of teachers, coaches, mentors, and heroes. At some point in our growth, we become the teacher and accept the mantle of leadership to guide another on the path they have chosen.

To do so, we become their servant. As a shepherd cares for a flock, we lead by gentle nudges. It is then we understand the story of twelve guys debating among themselves who would be the greatest — and, the Master replied, “Whoever wants to be first must take the last place and be the servant of everyone else.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has power, genius, and magic in it.

www.kimfoard.com