Friday Five: Personal Growth

Friday, June 22, 2012

Over the last two weeks working at camp I have learned a few things about myself. Some of them I knew, I just never took the time to really acknowledge it. So because it's been so long since my last Friday Five post, I thought it was an appropriate topic to cover.

I've learned that:

1.  I am an organize freak. Now you're probably thinking, duh you already knew that! And you would be correct, I know how much I love organization and rely on it.  However I learned this week that I don't just rely on organization, I thrive off of it.  It keeps me sane, it helps me be productive, it relaxes me, and it helps me remain stress free.  I've noticed myself this week using organization as a tool to relieve stress, instead of expressing unnecessary emotions to my staff or campers.  I've always known this about myself, but I never really gave it any thought.  The more I think about it though, I realize that over the last few years organizing/cleaning has become a very therapeutic tool for me.  Whenever I have a bad day, am stressed out, or just frustrated I clean.  It seems to always cool me down making me feel much better afterwords.  However, I've also learned that it goes the other way. When things are unorganized or dirty, it makes me anxious beyond belief.  In my mind it's very simple to keep a space clean and organized, but to others it's not as easy.  That frustrates me.  And while I know it shouldn't, because I can't expect everyone to see things as I do, I still find myself flustered when I walk into a space that is not kept up to par (my par).  I have learned this week that I need to be more patient and understanding with those who do not see organization the way I do.  While I still don't believe there is any excuse to have spaces look chaotic or messy, I am learning to realize that my shiny, fresh, everything in it's place outlook is not realistic at camp.  While I will always hold our staff and campers accountable for putting things where they belong, and protecting our belongings, at the end of  the day if the games in the game cabinet, or the balls in the equipment room are not how I would choose to place them, I have learned to simply be pleased that they are put away and not destroyed.  Baby steps. I'm working on it!

2. I need to be more intentional in my efforts to praise, before judging.  This is a lesson I've realized needs to be applied to every aspect of my life, not just camp.  The other day I found myself  looking around in one of the rooms for things out of place or someone misbehaving.  Then I caught myself, and thought why on Earth am I doing this??  I should be looking for kids to praise or encourage.  I should look for the people doing what I've asked and take pride in those who are doing great.  I don't know if it was just a bad day, or if I've always done this, but I had a huge reality check with myself right then and there.  What a terrible attitude I create in myself when I intentionally look for the bad over the good. That is not a characteristic I want people to relate with me. I have tried very hard  since then to make sure I'm praising our staff, giving encouragement, and loving the kids rather than showing unnecessary judgement.  While part of my job still requires me to handle the more difficult or extreme disciplinary situations, I am trying to make an intentional effort to love, listen, and care even when I have to discipline. I think Cassie said it best:  "For every time you have to discipline someone, make sure you go out of your way to praise them twice later that day.  That way the child (or whomever I'm having to get on) feels love and encouragement from me twice as much as anything negative."  I wish I could take that moment back from the other day, but boy was it a much needed wake up call to myself!

3. I don't like criticism.  Ok, I've honestly known this about myself for a long time, I've just noticed it a lot this week.  Criticism makes me highly uncomfortable.  While it is easier for me to dish it out, than receive it, even having to give direct criticism is difficult for me.  I can easily point out faults when they are obvious, or potentially harmful to others or the camp.  However, when I have to really address bigger issues, I get uncomfortable.  I don't like making people feel bad about themselves, nor do I like to appear as if I'm judging them. This also goes the same way when the tables are turned.  I have a hard time taking criticism.  Not in the sense that I become overtly defensive or deny it, I just become very sensitive to the situation and begin questioning myself.  I will admit that I always try to defend myself when criticism arises, but it's more of a front I put on to protect myself and how I think others view me.  There is always a much larger internal battle happening than what I show externally. While I know constructive criticism is good and necessary, I simply do not enjoy it at all.   I don't like being the one to give harsh criticism, nor do I like to receive it.  I'm having to learn at camp how to balance all of this, and handle criticism correctly. I think it'd be safe to say we all struggle with this one a little bit!

4. I need to work on my patience.  This again is one of those things I've always known about myself, and something that I'm constantly working on.  This week I've just noticed a large testing of my patience.  While I can say I handled some situations with grace, I must also admit that there were others that I did not handle so well.  I was quick to respond harshly, rather than listen and respond appropriately.  I apologized in both situations, but that did not make my actions justified.  I've really been pushing myself to remain patient this week.  I haven't been feeling well, and had to deal with some difficult situations, but I tried to not let either of those become an excuse for a lack of patience on my part.  Camp is really testing what I've learned in this area, and I think God is trying to show me that while I've gotten better, there is still a large area for improvement.  I think changing my attitude how I mentioned in #2 will be a huge step in this process for me. Not only do I need to work on my patience when it comes to interacting with people, but I need to work on it in every area of my life.  My relationship with God, waiting on His timing not my own, while searching for jobs, etc.  This is a characteristic that I need to get down and keep!

5. Facebook is nothing more than a procrastination tool.  Yes I know this one is not nearly as profound or inspirational as the others, but a lesson I've learned this week nonetheless. I've noticed that I spent drastically less time on the computer, Facebook specifically, during the summer than I did while in school.  At school, my day at times would revolve around Facebook.  Updating, posting pics, etc.  However, now that I'm home I find myself checking it maybe once a day if that, and when I do there's nothing exciting going on.  I honestly think it was nothing more than a time filler and procrastination method for myself while I was at school.  I hope to keep the short Facebook visits going.  I don't need to spend nearly the amount of time I did in school on that website.

It's been a great two weeks, challenging, but great.  Maybe there are some lessons you learned?  I'd love to hear about them.  I'll try to keep you updated on how I do on each of these things.  I've learned some very important things about myself this week, and I intend to make it a priority to work on every single one.

Good night everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Friday!


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2 Responses to “Friday Five: Personal Growth”

  1. Why could you not have realized point number 1 many many many years ago?!? You put me through A LOT of stress/anxiety with the way you kept our room SUCH a mess! :) oh ally poo...I've apparently taught you well...just a few years too late.

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  2. The next time you are feeling stressed, PLEASE come to my house. I need help with organizing. Love you AllyCat!
    ~Dee

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