The Minnie Stories
A Position Of Responsibility
I think I must be one of the luckiest women in the world. Well actually, having said that, I think that being a woman is lucky in the first place. Now I know that’s not how a lot of women see it - some of them think it’s a man’s world, because of the jobs they can do, the money they can earn even doing the same job as a woman, and so on.
But I’m not talking about things like that…. sure, in a lot of ways they’re right - life can be unfair. What I mean when I say I’m lucky is that I really believe we make our own luck. Oh, I can almost hear you shouting me down for saying that…..! But give me a minute, let me explain……..
I’m not saying that I believe we can control what life throws at us, however much we would like to; all I’m saying is that I really think what we can control – no, more than control, choose, is how we react to it.
When something happens that I'd rather hadn't, and I feel down in the dumps, I find myself remembering a time when I felt happy; I can put myself right back into that time - I see what I was seeing, i hear what I was hearing; and then I find I'm also feeling what I was feeling - really happy!. Then I say out loud " You're great Minnie!" So any time I want to feel happy when I'm not, all I have to do now is say
"You're great Minnie!"
and I feel better again! And I really like the fact that it feels like I really own my own life.
I mean, it’s so easy nowadays to blame everyone else for how we feel, and for what happens to us, isn’t it? And it’s like, kids are brought up thinking the world owes them a living, that if they don’t have everything they want when they want it - like right now! - they should be given it! And maybe that’s because their parents have got so used to living in a - what do they call it now? - oh yes, a Nanny State, they think everything is their right.
Well I believe in taking responsibility for ourselves: which reminds me…….I was talking to Bob, our nice night caretaker, the other evening……….we’ve got into the habit now of having our coffee break together…..and I said to him that I’d noticed how much care he took over security. Which was great because it was a position of responsibility; and he said
“Well that’s interesting, that word, isn’t it Minnie? When you think about it, it means more than just taking ownership for things. To my mind I think ‘responsibility’ actually means ‘the ability to respond’. So I’m okay because I know what to do in any security situation here - I have the ability to respond to it. I think the problem with a lot of younger people is that we, society, say to them
“Right, take responsibility - for yourself, for your family"
or whatever...... but they don’t know how to! No-one’s taught them the ability to take ownership of their lives, have they?”
He’s a very deep thinker, is Bob. And I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he says; it really makes sense to me. I mean, a 'Nanny' State, if it’s properly balanced, would be more like a good nanny or parent…it would take care of those who really can’t care for themselves, sure:- and then give the rest of us the training, and set good examples - in other words we’d learn the ability - to know how to do things for ourselves, to respond.
Otherwise it would be like, what? …yes, like if I’d never explained to Sarah Jane about keeping away from the fire, when she was little, but just kept moving her myself, without saying why…….she could have grown up expecting me to always be there to do it, couldn’t she? Or if I’d warned her to protect herself from the fire, but not shown her how to put the fire guard in front of it……I’d have given her the responsibility without the ability to respond!
I said that to Bob the next evening, and he said
“Minnie, you’re so right! I think that’s the same as I do with my kids!”
“You’ve got children, Bob? I never knew that….I didn’t know you were married”
“My wife died three years ago”, he said quietly.
Oh, I’m sorry, Bob. In my own way, I know what that’s like. So you look after the kids…….how many have you got?”
“Oh, only about a hundred and fifty….”
I actually felt my jaw drop, when he said that!
……..it’s just a small school”, he continued. Then he grinned, and said
“ir’s okay Min., relax…I didn’t father them.! In the daytime I’m a school ‘Lollipop Man’ - I see the kids safely across the road outside the junior school. And you’re right…..I don’t just stop the traffic for them - I teach them road safety as well, so they’ll know how to cross safely themselves when I’m not there…..they’ll have
“The ability to respond!” we said together.
And we laughed…….and as we finished our coffee, Bob told me about how he took the caretaker’s job at the offices because the nights were too long just sitting at home; and he took the day job, yes, another position of responsibility, because, although he and his wife didn’t ever have any of their own, he’s always loved kids. And as well as teaching them road safety, he loves telling them stories about lots of things in life, sharing what he’s learned over the years.
Anyway, before I left the building that night…sounds a bit like Elvis, doesn’t it - “Minnie has left the building!” - anyway, as I was saying……before I left, I invited Bob to come over to my place for tea next Sunday; but only because Rachel and Anthony will be there…….. and they’ll just enjoy meeting each other, won’t they?
Introduction To The Story Collection
The Minnie Kerchevsky Stories
Real wisdom can often be found in the most unlikely places....not from teachers, coaches, professors and so on, but from ordinary people who have their own life experiences to draw on to help others.
Cleaning Up Your Act is a collection of the stories of one of these very special people.........
Minnie Kerchevsky is a so-called ‘ordinary woman’, a cleaner, a 'daily', with no pretensions, no super-ego... just a desire to make things better in any way she can; helping those around her to “clean up their acts” in her own unique and heart-warming way!
Minnie believes that what stops us being happy is thinking we don’t have choices - and that feel-good is a state of mind we can always choose to be in!
So in ‘Cleaning Up Your Act’, we gradually learn about Minnie’s own life and events - and how she dealt with challenges and learned how to see raindrops as sunbeams in disguise! - interwoven through the stories she shares about the people she impacts with the homespun wisdom that is the essence of who and how she is, because of who and how she has been.
Each of us has met Minnie, or someone like her, in our lives... and if we haven’t, we’re the poorer for it - so here’s our chance to put that right!
From ‘CAN DO’ to ‘CAN DID’……..!
In today’s economic climate, we all have to do more with less, and so we’re told that there’s a real and imperative need for a ‘can do’ attitude. Yet one of the most powerful secrets of business success is not just a ‘can do’ attitude, but an ability to ‘live’ your goals backwards. – in other words, to have a ‘can did!’ attitude instead…… and the ability to action it!
So here’s the secret of how to do this:-
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TLC…… THE TENDER LOVING CARE OF TEACHING, LEARNING, AND THE CHILD.
When I was a child, there were two constants in my life….I loved learning; and I hated school. The two were apparently incompatible – with a couple of notable exceptions.
In my Primary school it was George Breeze, the music teacher. The first time I had a lesson with him I sat reluctantly at the piano, waiting for instructions, Instruction! But he simply asked me what I wanted from music, and what it would be like when I got it. Sharing that with Mr Breeze crystallised it in my own head, and also made me feel comfortable…..in rapport with myself as well as with him.
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© NEW OCEANS 2012