Well, I'd say that settles it, wouldn't you? Unless Willie would like to explain how Mary's nickel fell out of his pocket. -Eva Beadle 1975
Every year, around this time, the Memphis Heat wraps its heavy arms and legs around me like a giant toddler, begging me not to move forward. I walk across job sites as if I am neck deep in water, fully clothed in work pants, sleeved shirt, and hard toe boots. It's difficult to walk straight, with my hair in constant battle with the hard hat, trying to push it off my head.
By 9am, Ms. Beadle is on one of my shoulders whispering, "why did you not go back to teaching? most of your schools were air conditioned, teaching came natural to you, and you could wear light weight and cute clothes, and you had your summers off and...."
On my other shoulder is the Dog Whisperer, "why are you not still doing behavior therapy out of your home? You loved creating behavior techniques and seeing success. You could still cook, clean, tend to the family, AND make some money at your first love and passion!"
Then my pity party is interrupted by the current job.
New guy, I haven't seen before, yells across the lot, "Hey Maam! I have all the equipment piled over here, for you to inspect! This is mine." He chunks a heap of harnesses and lanyards at my feet. "and this is my dad's" He motions to a heap laying on the welding table.
Hot and working on a migraine, I pick up one of the harnesses and hand it to the mid-20s kid who, in my opinion, might have had a bit of a disrespectful tone to his manner. He took the harness and with a furrowed brow said, "Thanks darlin, but it's your job to inspect them, honey."
My Teacher-of-the-ones-that-need-behavior-modifications Gear kicked in. It actually went 0to90 in 5 seconds, but I quickly switched all the gears to 'start'.
"My name is Margaret." I shook his hand.
"I am old enough to be your mother. So, to you, I am not Darlin' or Honey."
He still looked confused but I continued, "and my job is to coach YOU on any topic that will enable you to do your job efficiently, completely, and to the best of your ability."
For the next 10 minutes, I used visual teaching as I strengthened his auditory processing, I demonstrated the task and had him demonstrate it back to me, and then I listed only 3 points and had him repeat them back to me in his own words.
(Teaching mixed with behavior modifications)
Ms. Beadle and Cesar Millan smiled, patted me on the shoulders, and disappeared.
At this moment the supervisor who, much to my surprise, was the father of the new guy, walked up and gave me a friendly side-hug. We talked for a moment and joked around, as we always do. As we all three began to clean up the equipment, I gave 2 positive statements to the Supervisor:
1. "John really took initiative to demonstrate is knowledge on inspecting the equipment."
2. "It has been a pleasure talking to him. He has been very polite."
I casually shifted my eyes to John. The look on his face gave me a glimpse of what he might have looked like in elementary school years.
I continued, "You should be proud, Tom. He told me you are his father."
Unaware of the process of resetting John's behavior, Tom grinned and began telling a lively story. I look forward to his stories each week, but this one really amused me.
"Yeah, he is my son! but he has a different last name. When he was born, I ran like hell. His mother lived across the street from me and my wife."
I looked at John. He was grinning, "it's true! he ran 2 states away from me!"
The two of them happily slapped each other on the back and laughed as they took turns telling a story about a boy who grew up fatherless, a father that ran "like hell" from 2 more women and now 24 years later, they are working side by side. Father proud, as he bragged on the skilled welder his son had become and son proud, as he bragged on how skilled a welder his father is.