Simply Embracing What is Important

Each month, the Development & Foundation team meets as a group. We open with one person’s reflection on one or more of the LSS Values. I was asked to share my personal reflection with our agency blog friends. Enjoy.

Simply Embracing What is Important

Whether it is home or work life, I like to keep things clutter free and pretty simple. It doesn’t matter how talented we are; how many skills we have in our back pockets; or how many projects are on our desk; we can only work on one project at one time.

So I picked one sentence in our core values that stands out. “Our core values, grounded by our faith in God, guide our hands and feet, our hearts and words as we serve our neighbors as God intended.”

It is clean, simple and says it all.

In some ways, this mirrors the life of Saint Thérèse, “The Little Flower”. She is known for her simplicity and practicality of her approach to spiritual life. Her spirituality is known as “the little way.” She focused on doing small deeds daily rather than great deeds.

I know LSS has done countless great deeds; and has for nearly 100 years. However, it all comes down to simply helping one client, one donor, one volunteer at one time.

With that being said, emphasis has been placed on five words to make it easy for people to remember and incorporate in their daily work lives—compassionate, appreciative, respectful, ethical and strategic.

There have been days that I’ve been hit in the heart with one or more key words. I am grateful to find a work home where doing my daily deeds can make a significant impact on the lives of others.

Unfortunately, there have been days that I’ve pondered those same words and thought, “nope” not today. However, I may just need to look a little closer to see that the words (and more importantly what those words stand for) are integrated in countless deeds daily.

In this process of preparing, I’ve made it a conscious effort to dig a little deeper and reflect on the definition of those words. For example:

Ethical: The word ethical sends my thought process straight to right and wrong.

But if I look a little deeper, the definition notes, “commitment to quality services and high standards.” LSS is all over that with the recent Council on Accreditation (COA) re-accreditation. LSS celebrates twenty years of continuous accreditation.

Strategic: I know it is a small deed, but it is strategic that Bill changed up the meeting agenda to reflect annual fund, endowment fund, capital campaign, and so on—both large and small deeds noted. It keeps our team focused and on task.

Respectful: The definition states “collaborative and professional relationships.” For those of us who worked the annual golf tournament in Watertown, we could take a simple glance and see the many faces of LSS interacting.

  • donors and potential donors
  • clients (some we know of like the Roes who spoke about adoption and some we don’t)
  • board members
  • LSS employees (working and participating)
  • volunteers

Appreciative: The definition states “significance and magnitude of contributions”.

Sheila Johnson was telling me a story where a young woman smiled for the first time since she came to LSS. I didn’t specifically ask how long she had been at LSS, but I had the impression that she had been here for a while and this was a significant milestone.

LSS is a lean organization. The significance of what each person does, matters and impacts the agency picture. Every employee has daily tasks (or deeds) to complete efficiently and effectively so the agency is able to run smoothly. Our daily contributions made a difference in the life of that young woman who found the inner peace to smile.

Last year, there were 49,831 individuals just like this young woman. Multiply that times the number of years you have worked at LSS.

Referring back to the definition of appreciative—you can better understand the magnitude of your daily contributions (your daily work) and the capacity to accumulate into something greater. That is significant.

Compassionate: A good example of compassion was the response to the Wessington Springs tornado. It probably seemed like a small deed when Betty simply walked beside the people of Wessington Springs during their time of need. But it wasn’t. Betty was there as a ministry of presence.

To quote Betty “I experienced the power of that presence—walking through streets littered with debris—talking with city leaders who were weary from worry and lack of sleep. I was there to be present, to walk with those in need.”

To quote Saint Thérèse, “One word or a pleasing smile is often enough to raise up a saddened and wounded soul.”

This is not to overlook Lisa Adler in the Wessington Springs response. Her contributions and work coordinating the Disaster Volunteer Service Center accomplished one of the great deeds of LSS.

As a team, we also express compassion when we:

Support Casey in her care for her husband Chuck. Laugh at Jamie’s dog Clarence. Admire Kathy’s recent work of art. Smile at Linda’s stories about her great niece. And talk gardening with Maria. We are just getting to know Jessica, but we will get there.

That compassion also extends beyond the department when we:

Sneak a quiet opportunity to hold Rebecca’s precious new baby Graham. Celebrate with Mel as he embraces a new style of retirement. Listen to the excitement in Mary’s voice days before her son was married.

With all being said about keeping things simple and concentrating on our daily deeds or work, it doesn’t diminish the skill of multi-tasking or the drive to accomplish great things.

However, keeping life simple and clutter free allows us to prioritize. It allows our hands and hearts to embrace what is important and jump in with both feet to accomplish the great deeds of LSS.

Barb Goldammer, LSS Development & Foundation, Communications

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