Are You Positive?

Today’s post compliment of tim.

mr ehlers was the badass teacher who taught drivers training at my high school

he hated hippies

he gave hell to everyone I knew except me. he was never nice but never gave me trouble. i think my friends noticed and asked but i didn’t have any idea what was going on.

years later my mom who was the art teacher in the school said mr ehlers had come up and told her “ that’s some son you have”

“why” she asked

he told her that some mean kids had been in the lunchroom and run into mike kennedy on purpose and knocked the books out of his hands.

mike was a big guy who was a special needs kid that was so good natured he had no enemies but he would notice that some people acted mean or stupid or do things to be funny just showing off for their friends. He was very philosophical about life. He had been that way when I was in first grade and met him at swimming lessons. He always had a smile and a story and told me how his sister karey was (i had a severe crush on her) so when the kids knocked the books out of his hands I went over to him and told him that i saw the kids acting stupid and helped him pick up his books. a pat on the back and a see ya later was all that went on that day but mr ehlers caught me doing something right and he was never able to see me as a hated hippy after that.

i try to remember that all the people who are driving me crazy in everyday life are not doing anything mean or intentionally trying to drive me nuts. they are just doing there little moment of life in front of me and that is how I get to base my conclusion as to if i would like to have coffee with them or not.

sometimes I try to remember that I am acting in a way that other people get to respond to too. am I really who I want to be?

i like getting caught being the right person

the one minute manager was a popular book in the early stages of my business life. it was a simple idea. if you are a manager try to catch people doing something right and praise the heck out of them. every time you catch them praise the heck out of them.

have you gotten positive feedback for being yourself?

64 thoughts on “Are You Positive?”

  1. Just this week. The supervisor of my current project was having some family issues that kept him away from work. For various reasons, most of the crew wasn’t showing up regularly leaving me to carry on alone. I overestimated being able to move a roll of vinyl by myself and in the process, dropped it and damaged some drywall…all in the presence of some of the construction management team. I reported the situation and got no flack from anyone as they admired my trying to remain productive. One guy said I was “old school”. At sixty four years old, I accept that designation.

    Liked by 11 people

  2. The most significant recent compliment came right here on the Trail. Because WordPress is so scatterbrained, we can rarely be sure a kind post applies to us and not someone who posted five posts earlier. I have arbitrarily chosen to believe the comment was kind and that it was directed toward me. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Ya…in later life from my folks often.

    I don’t really remember other specifics other that two teachers who had youngsters in ‘my’ all day Kindergarten class complimented me as a teacher-my methods and activities.

    I received compliments for my writing and artwork… which is me…my isdentity is exposed in all I do.

    My greatest compliment in recent years was when a dear friend and cousin texted me ‘….you are the embodiment of your father’s kindness and your mother’s graciousness…’ that brought tears to my eyes.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. You’re right, BiR. When I said the above statement, the folks on the Trail are excepted. It’s the people “in real life” (of which there aren’t that many; I have a small world) that I was thinking of.

        But then, I guess I haven’t really told anybody lately that I appreciate them for who they are, so who am I to complain.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. One kind of like yours, tim – In Latin Class as we translated a segment of some horrific story (Jason and the Agronauts?)… When we finished my hand went up and I asked if the people were ultimately rescued. (I just hated leaving them there in those dire circumstances). Miss Sadoff said something about empathy, and that no one had ever asked that question before. I took it as positive feedback.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. OT: Or maybe this is on-topic in the sense that it falls in the category of a compliment. I just read a moving and thoughtful article in the Washington Post. It was a review, written by their art critic, of a book of paintings done by George W Bush. The paintings are amateurish but moving, and Bush’s text reveals a man who is bigger and more likable than the guy I remember from his presidency. I might have misjudged him then. Or maybe he has grown as a human being in the years after his presidency. I like thinking that is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read about this book somewhere else, don’t remember where (besides “somewhere on the internet.”) I listened to parts of one or two interviews with him and was impressed with a couple things: he just started painting 5 years ago, and I thought that it was cool that he could start doing something creative at his age – and that he created this book out of a sense of empathy/sympathy/interest in veterans i.e. he is not totally self-centered. Also, and I don’t remember which interview this was, the subject got onto humor and he said that the best humor is when you make fun of yourself. Of course the interviewer suggested he tell that to our current president, which of course won’t happen, but I thought that his saying that showed a little humility.


  6. I saw W last night on Jimmy Kimmel and it’s hard to stomach
    I want to cut him some slack but memories run deep
    maybe it’s a good idea to understand that this guy was a leader in the oil industry the owner of a professional baseball team the president of the United States and the amateurish paintings that he does is really the essence of him is maybe if you stand back and look at people in a deeper sense you can have a bit more understanding
    my guess would be whatever kind of artwork Donald Trump comes up with in the years to come I have a hard time looking at that too

    Liked by 2 people

      1. you can enjoy a mild smile and a innocent little laugh if youd like. i cant do it. the damage doen under his watch and the groundwork laid for the zero cooperation movement that he represented is not fixed by fingerpaints sold to millionaire buddies and donated to the w foundation for war veterans he championed.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! I’m back!! The only bad thing that happened was the two flights home. On the trip to Kenya, the plane was half full so I grabbed three seats and lounged the whole way. The trip back was miserable because I had to sit upright in between two rather large people for 18 hours. When I got home, I slept for 18 hours exactly. In between the flights, I had a wonderful time. Seeing the animals was fun, but getting close once again to my childhood best friend, who shared everything about her life in Kenya was the best part of this adventure.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I once had a boss that would studiously avoid compliments to any of the employees for fear that they would be encouraged to ask for a raise. He was also a bully who would wait for very public circumstances to berate individual employees. At the time, I was supervisor to a half dozen or so designers and any time this boss would criticize one of my people, I made a point of claiming full responsibility. It had the effect of taking the wind out of his sails. Needless to say, our relationship was not a relaxed one. Interestingly, he once called me into his office to confer when he had a question of ethics.

    What I find enlightening is when someone makes a comment that gives me an insight into how others see me, especially when it’s an aspect I had not considered. Back in my first years in college I was living in the dorm. There was a lot of pranking and half-friendly, half-hierarchical interaction that transpired daily. One day, the resident assistant on our floor called me into his room. The gist of what he remarked to me was, ” I notice that amidst all the pranking and teasing that goes on, everyone seems to leave you alone. Why is that?”
    I really didn’t know. It wasn’t as if I didn’t have friendly, jokey relationships with many of the young men on our floor. The implication in his question was that in how I presented myself, I gave off a sort of vibe that made me unavailable for that sort of abuse. I’ve heard similar comments from others over the years but I’ve never been able to pinpoint what that vibe is or how it gets communicated.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. its not that you are at an elevated level but that you dont seem to apply at the same level of screwy interaction as others. you have kind of a straight faced approach to life and conversations and the idea of giving you a hot foot is not at the top of ones mind when talking with you. have you ever gotten a wedgie? a monkey bump? a guy who asked what you got on your shirt and then flicked you nose when you looked down? its not so much that you are a poindexter but that you give off that aura. dont know if you would want to have that kind of camaraderie just to be able to say you did. you made a comment a week or so ago that the blog suits you well because you can come up with such wonderful statements given an unattended amount of time to consider where if the snappy patter of the barbed volley is being slug back and forth in fornt of you the ability to pull witticisms out of your back pocket is a littel tougher. or can you?


  8. At my volunteer tax preparation gig, one of my fellow volunteers tells a story about me, and has told it a couple of times when there were important people from the organization present. The story he tells, of an incident I don’t actually remember at all, is that when he was new to his role as a preparer, he ran into a complicated situation where he wasn’t sure if he should put someone down as a dependent on a return. When he consulted me and started to explain the situation, I stopped him and asked “Does it make a difference on the return?” It didn’t.

    When he tells this story it’s in a rather admiring tone, as though I had dispensed some great wisdom. Actually, I think I was just being myself – that is, sort of lazy – and I just wanted to know, before making an effort to figure out the correct answer, whether there was something at stake in the outcome.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s pretty funny, Linda. And I think that maybe it was wise – some people get caught up in details and lose sight of what matters. It takes a type of wisdom to nail down what matters so you know how much effort to put into the details.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. This is the sort of question that makes me squirm. Yes, over the years I have gotten lots of positive feedback for basically doing what I thought was the right thing to do. I have also gotten feedback that was critical of how I handled a situation. I tend to be rather straight forward and am not very adept at hiding how I really feel. Some people see that as an asset, others see it as a character flaw. I should be more diplomatic, they say, while those who appreciate that trait say, I always know where I have you. While I appreciate getting positive feedback, I have to admit that with advancing age, I don’t care all that much about how others perceive me. As John Lydgate said: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” “You can be in my dreams if I can be in yours,” Bob Dylan said that.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I suspect you’re right about that, Jacque. At my parents’ house, positive feedback was strictly rationed as if we might run out of it. Either that or they wanted to make sure we didn’t get swelled heads.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. What a great sentence “positive feedback was strictly rationed as if we might run out of it.” Sounds very much like my mother’s childhood.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. if you do what in your heart is the right thing to do that’s all you can be asked to do
    if you get critiasized for not being diplomatic for speaking truth as you see it you can almost wear it as a badge

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rise and Shine Baboons–just in time to go back to bed. I am late today.

    About a month ago I received a thank you note from my 28 year old niece, Anne, thanking me for all the time I spent with her as a child. I nearly fell over. In my family, I am the problem and the oddball, so I usually just try not to draw any attention to myself. Attention there is rarely pleasant. So to get such a note was astonishing. I felt disoriented! Then several days later, another niece sent a thank you note for making the pies for her wedding with my sister.

    Both notes are taped to the refrigerator door. If I look at them often enough, maybe I will start to feel appreciated. Who knows? But I like the thank you notes.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It feels good when you get confirmation that you have made a difference in someone’s life. An unexpected note of appreciation is such a surprising gift.

      A young woman who used to work for me many, many years ago, and who I had no contact with for 25 years, showed up – oh maybe ten years – at the annual St. Patrick’s Day dance where I volunteered. She walked up to me and asked if I recognized her. I had to admit I didn’t, at least not until she told me who she was. She was at the dance with her husband and three teen-aged children. When I knew her, she was fresh out of college and single. She proceeded to tell me that she had viewed me as a mentor and a role model, and that she appreciated the opportunities I had given her at the firm where we both worked.

      What was interesting to me was that I recalled her as a high-spirited, giddy, and somewhat naive but capable worker who, because of her sunny spirit, could roll with the punches. I had used her as a floater because she’d drive almost anyone crazy if they had to deal with her day in and day out. I had no special affinity for her, and didn’t treat her any differently than I treated anyone else. Yet, the exposure she had gotten to many different work styles and expectations had really made a difference in her life. I happened to have facilitated that, but it was certainly not a deliberate attempt on my part to shape her in any way. It was just one of those happy circumstances that worked out for both of us. She still comes to the St. Patrick’s Day dance with her family every year, and we’re in almost daily contact via Facebook. I may have been an inadvertent blessing in her life, and she certainly has been on in mine.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. hallelujah jacque. good for you. the neices knew better than to acknowledge you in a hostile environment but knew the value of a reasonable head in the crowd,

      i would like to suggest a baboon pie day but i think 3.14 is the accepted day of choice and that happens to be two of my kids birthdays. they are in their 20’s now and have lives of their own but the shared birhtday is a cool tradition and we could no way miss or do it on a different day. how about an april or may pie day in your back year jacque when the flowers are in bloom and the bugs are not out yet before it gets too hot and when he rhubarb is in bloom. if we could tie raspberries into it too that would be heaven for me.


      1. Last year my raspberries were early, but they were not so early that they were ready in April or May. Maybe we can do raspberries if someone has some in their freezer. I wasn’t able to put by any berries last year – we ate them all.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I also didn’t get enough to freeze, although from the two canes that Linda gave me three years ago, they’ve now produced enough that we get some of them into the house (the first two years, almost all the berries went from cane to hand to mouth). And there are enough canes now that I might separate them a bit to spread them out. Nice to think about that right now as I watch the snow coming down.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I Like That Idea. It is hard to predict bloom dates and weather with the warm weather, though. Early May might be our best bet–eat pi and smell the lilacs. Heaven.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Hey all – speaking of pi and pie. Since those of you in the Twin Cities have been invited in the past, I am NOT doing a Pi Day celebration this year. Walking pneumonia and spending all day in the kitchen baking do not go together. Didn’t want anybody to think I had left them off the invitation list this year!!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Couple of times a day I still bark (I would have said like a dog) but now the cough is better, most of the time just sounds like your regular “getting-over-a-cold” cough. It’s the tiredness that still gets me!


  12. To be appreciated for what you have done . . .
    To be forgiven for what you have done . . .
    To be accepted for who you are . . .
    BUT to be appreciated for who you are!
    THEN to be told you are appreciated for who you are!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I happen to have just re-read Frost’s narrative poem “Death of the Hired Man,” which is about a generation of men who cannot move beyond step 1 I listed above, as opposed to a woman who gets to at least step 3.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Death of the Hired Man Related Poem Content Details

        Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
        Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
        She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
        To meet him in the doorway with the news
        And put him on his guard. ‘Silas is back.’
        She pushed him outward with her through the door
        And shut it after her. ‘Be kind,’ she said.
        She took the market things from Warren’s arms
        And set them on the porch, then drew him down
        To sit beside her on the wooden steps.

        ‘When was I ever anything but kind to him?
        But I’ll not have the fellow back,’ he said.
        ‘I told him so last haying, didn’t I?
        If he left then, I said, that ended it.
        What good is he? Who else will harbor him
        At his age for the little he can do?
        What help he is there’s no depending on.
        Off he goes always when I need him most.
        He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
        Enough at least to buy tobacco with,
        So he won’t have to beg and be beholden.
        “All right,” I say, “I can’t afford to pay
        Any fixed wages, though I wish I could.”
        “Someone else can.” “Then someone else will have to.”
        I shouldn’t mind his bettering himself
        If that was what it was. You can be certain,
        When he begins like that, there’s someone at him
        Trying to coax him off with pocket-money,—
        In haying time, when any help is scarce.
        In winter he comes back to us. I’m done.’

        ‘Sh! not so loud: he’ll hear you,’ Mary said.

        ‘I want him to: he’ll have to soon or late.’

        ‘He’s worn out. He’s asleep beside the stove.
        When I came up from Rowe’s I found him here,
        Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep,
        A miserable sight, and frightening, too—
        You needn’t smile—I didn’t recognize him—
        I wasn’t looking for him—and he’s changed.
        Wait till you see.’

        ‘Where did you say he’d been?’

        ‘He didn’t say. I dragged him to the house,
        And gave him tea and tried to make him smoke.
        I tried to make him talk about his travels.
        Nothing would do: he just kept nodding off.’

        ‘What did he say? Did he say anything?’

        ‘But little.’

        ‘Anything? Mary, confess
        He said he’d come to ditch the meadow for me.’


        ‘But did he? I just want to know.’

        ‘Of course he did. What would you have him say?
        Surely you wouldn’t grudge the poor old man
        Some humble way to save his self-respect.
        He added, if you really care to know,
        He meant to clear the upper pasture, too.
        That sounds like something you have heard before?
        Warren, I wish you could have heard the way
        He jumbled everything. I stopped to look
        Two or three times—he made me feel so queer—
        To see if he was talking in his sleep.
        He ran on Harold Wilson—you remember—
        The boy you had in haying four years since.
        He’s finished school, and teaching in his college.
        Silas declares you’ll have to get him back.
        He says they two will make a team for work:
        Between them they will lay this farm as smooth!
        The way he mixed that in with other things.
        He thinks young Wilson a likely lad, though daft
        On education—you know how they fought
        All through July under the blazing sun,
        Silas up on the cart to build the load,
        Harold along beside to pitch it on.’

        ‘Yes, I took care to keep well out of earshot.’

        ‘Well, those days trouble Silas like a dream.
        You wouldn’t think they would. How some things linger!
        Harold’s young college boy’s assurance piqued him.
        After so many years he still keeps finding
        Good arguments he sees he might have used.
        I sympathize. I know just how it feels
        To think of the right thing to say too late.
        Harold’s associated in his mind with Latin.
        He asked me what I thought of Harold’s saying
        He studied Latin like the violin
        Because he liked it—that an argument!
        He said he couldn’t make the boy believe
        He could find water with a hazel prong—
        Which showed how much good school had ever done him.
        He wanted to go over that. But most of all
        He thinks if he could have another chance
        To teach him how to build a load of hay—’

        ‘I know, that’s Silas’ one accomplishment.
        He bundles every forkful in its place,
        And tags and numbers it for future reference,
        So he can find and easily dislodge it
        In the unloading. Silas does that well.
        He takes it out in bunches like big birds’ nests.
        You never see him standing on the hay
        He’s trying to lift, straining to lift himself.’

        ‘He thinks if he could teach him that, he’d be
        Some good perhaps to someone in the world.
        He hates to see a boy the fool of books.
        Poor Silas, so concerned for other folk,
        And nothing to look backward to with pride,
        And nothing to look forward to with hope,
        So now and never any different.’

        Part of a moon was falling down the west,
        Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
        Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw it
        And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
        Among the harp-like morning-glory strings,
        Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves,
        As if she played unheard some tenderness
        That wrought on him beside her in the night.
        ‘Warren,’ she said, ‘he has come home to die:
        You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.’

        ‘Home,’ he mocked gently.

        ‘Yes, what else but home?
        It all depends on what you mean by home.
        Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
        Than was the hound that came a stranger to us
        Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.’

        ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
        They have to take you in.’

        ‘I should have called it
        Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.’

        Warren leaned out and took a step or two,
        Picked up a little stick, and brought it back
        And broke it in his hand and tossed it by.
        ‘Silas has better claim on us you think
        Than on his brother? Thirteen little miles
        As the road winds would bring him to his door.
        Silas has walked that far no doubt today.
        Why didn’t he go there? His brother’s rich,
        A somebody—director in the bank.’

        ‘He never told us that.’

        ‘We know it though.’

        ‘I think his brother ought to help, of course.
        I’ll see to that if there is need. He ought of right
        To take him in, and might be willing to—
        He may be better than appearances.
        But have some pity on Silas. Do you think
        If he’d had any pride in claiming kin
        Or anything he looked for from his brother,
        He’d keep so still about him all this time?’

        ‘I wonder what’s between them.’

        ‘I can tell you.
        Silas is what he is—we wouldn’t mind him—
        But just the kind that kinsfolk can’t abide.
        He never did a thing so very bad.
        He don’t know why he isn’t quite as good
        As anyone. Worthless though he is,
        He won’t be made ashamed to please his brother.’

        ‘I can’t think Si ever hurt anyone.’

        ‘No, but he hurt my heart the way he lay
        And rolled his old head on that sharp-edged chair-back.
        He wouldn’t let me put him on the lounge.
        You must go in and see what you can do.
        I made the bed up for him there tonight.
        You’ll be surprised at him—how much he’s broken.
        His working days are done; I’m sure of it.’

        ‘I’d not be in a hurry to say that.’

        ‘I haven’t been. Go, look, see for yourself.
        But, Warren, please remember how it is:
        He’s come to help you ditch the meadow.
        He has a plan. You mustn’t laugh at him.
        He may not speak of it, and then he may.
        I’ll sit and see if that small sailing cloud
        Will hit or miss the moon.’

        It hit the moon.
        Then there were three there, making a dim row,
        The moon, the little silver cloud, and she.

        Warren returned—too soon, it seemed to her,
        Slipped to her side, caught up her hand and waited.

        ‘Warren,’ she questioned.

        ‘Dead,’ was all he answered.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. I can be less cryptic. Morrissey and Frost were Yankees, sharing roots in New Hampshire. Frost’s poem and Morrissey’s song are both novels compressed into a tiny space. Both involve a dialogue between a woman and her husband. In both the song and the poem the male is named Warren. In both the song and the poem the listener identifies more with the woman than her husband, for she is more spiritually and ethically alive.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Last winter I was blessed with a note blessing me with understanding and appreciation for who I am from the 90+year old father of the boyfriend I had in the sixties….he died later that spring.

    Liked by 5 people

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