Tag: children

1/17/11 “Story Telling and Shining”

Good day, team.

“Playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”


Marianne Williamson, spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance

My sister sent me this wonderful quote a few months ago, and it’s been on my mind this week. It reminds me of how often I worry about what others think and stop myself from realizing my full potential. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to offend someone I’m working with or I’m in a situation where I don’t want to outshine a family member. Sometimes I find myself holding back information or actions because I’m afraid of taking up someone else’s space or because I don’t want to attract envy or jealously. Whatever it is, I realize that it happens more often than I’d like. This kind of consideration to others is based on fear rather than inspiration or love.

This weekend, on the other hand, I was reminded of how children can really shine. We had friends visiting us at our home in the Columbia River Gorge. They brought their daughter and one of her close friends. So we had the delightful experience of having two lovely, incredibly curious, intelligent 10-year-old children to keep us company.

Saturday nights with guests in the gorge have become story night. That is, after dinner we all go into the living room, sit around in a circle and tell stories. They can be sad or happy, frightening or inspirational, about every day occurrences or great adventures we’ve had in our past. I’m always amazed at how interesting and creative people’s stories are — and how much fun it is to hear them!

As we listened to the stories of our 10-year-old visitors, we saw them shine in our candlelit circle. One minute, we were holding our sides from laughing so hard as Bella told us the story of the most embarrassing event in her life, and in the next moment, we were held in close attention as Estelle told us a story about an adventure she had at camp last summer. In both cases, these girls shone in their ability to recount their stories of humor and life lessons.

Listening to the children share their stories allowed the adults to free themselves from shyness or an unwillingness to participate. In the girls’ uninhibited way of allowing their stories to flow through them, they allowed the rest of us to do the same. It made for a wonderful night of sharing, laughter and tear-filled eyes, while we opened ourselves up to one of the oldest traditions in the world — storytelling.

This week, try not to worry so much about what other people think of what you’re saying or doing. I’m talking about the low hum of constant internal chatter that often says, “What will they think of me if I say that?” or “Maybe I’ll just not say anything at this point and let it be” — even if you know that your suggestion might be helpful. Try not to allow those thoughts to prevail. Make an effort to have a more courageous conversation or take a bold action rather than shrink from the opportunity.

If you have children or grandchildren around you, notice how their eyes shine when they tell you a story, whether it’s true or not! Think about how we all have that childlike desire to hear a good story or tell someone a tale that holds their attention for a few moments. Although we live in a culture that seems to prefer hearing and watching stories on television, try making time to share stories together. It’s not only empowering, giving each person an opportunity to have a voice, but it’s also very entertaining.

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.

Coach’s challenge for 9/13/10 “Time”

Good day, team,

As I sat gazing out the window this morning, coffee in hand, I noticed the twins who live across the street heading out for their first day of school. When we moved into this house seven years ago, these girls were toddlers. Now, here they were, looking so grown up, one dressed in a cute plaid skirt, knee highs and sneakers (do we still call them that?), the other in jeans, bright pink boots and a jacket that had a big “C” sewn on the back. (The “C” stands for Cordelia, and her twin’s name is Hortense. Unusual names, but, I think, very distinguished!) How happy and hopeful they looked as they moved forward toward another year of experiences, friends, learning and activities!

What struck me most as they passed by my window was the passage of time, which is the subject of this week’s challenge. Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” I pondered this quote as I watched the twins walk to the bus on the corner. In seven years, these two have grown up to be young girls; where have I been all of this time?

I’ve noticed that people who raise children tend to have a better sense of the passage of time than people who don’t. Children change so fast and so drastically, from week to week when they’re infants, from month to month when they’re toddlers, from year to year in their first decade. In contrast, the passage of 10 years for someone without children may seem to be a time when he or she doesn’t seem to change very much. But growing children demand very different kinds of attention and care as each year goes by, and parents are continually amazed at how quickly they grow in such a short time.

The value of this observation for me is to see how much I’ve changed over the years and to not take it for granted. One of the blind spots in most human beings is our inability to observe ourselves. We look in the mirror and see the same person, day after day, year after year. Often it isn’t until you notice the first grey hairs, or see wrinkles that don’t go away, or take twice as long to heal from a cold, that you begin to realize you’re actually getting older! With this realization, there’s often the accompanying thought: “What have I done with my life? Have I been wasting my time? What happened to the last 10 years? They went by in a blink!”

This week, take a good, long look at yourself and see how you’ve changed. Perhaps age has brought you more understanding, or a more even-tempered disposition, or some patience you didn’t have a few years back. Maybe you’re in a completely different job or family situation or residence than you were five years ago. How have you adapted to these changes over the years? I think it takes consistent effort and a positive attitude to make our way though this life with a small bit of success and happiness as the result. Taking all that for granted doesn’t give us the opportunity to clearly see what we have become.

We give value to the time we have by using it wisely, and we also give value to ourselves. I like to think of it as putting gold coins in jars. How many gold coins have I put in the family jar today? Or the job jar? Or the exercise jar? Or the television jar? Do I spend my time (my gold coins) wisely, or does time spend me? This week, I’m resolved to spend my time more wisely and not take the benefits of that good use for granted. George Matthew Adams wrote, “We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” See where your gold coins are spent this week and by week’s end, enjoy the benefits of your investment.

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching (503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.