For the past year, I have worked with Amanda Ingram, who is the 15 year old daughter of my co-worker, Carrie Beauchamp. Amanda’s job is to file, make policy changes, take payments, and of course, answer the phone. It is a typical job for a customer service representative. No matter where Amanda is in the office, when the phone rings, she usually says, “I’ve got it.” Of course, that is her way of letting us know that we don’t have to stop what we are doing to answer the phone, but for me, her statement brings back years of teenaged memories…memories that the kids of today will most likely never have.
When I was a kid, we had just one phone in the house. It was the family phone, and my parents had five girls in the house. Over the years, mostly as each of us became teenagers, and had more friends, and especially boyfriends, we wanted to be the first one to the phone. It was especially important to get to the phone before our little sisters embarrassed us by talking to our friend or boyfriend and saying something that we might consider stupid or otherwise embarrassing…or simply embarrass us just by answering.
In our house, as in the homes of most of our friends, the younger kids just wanted to get to answer the phone once in a while too, but we assumed that it couldn’t be for them anyway, so they should just stay away from what we considered our own personal phone. I even recall being annoyed when the caller had the audacity to want to speak to one of my parents. What did they need to be talking about anyway. The older generation couldn’t possibly have anything important to talk about…could they? At least that was what we thought, with our typically self centered teenaged minds. It wasn’t that we were selfish, because I don’t think we were, but all teenagers are self centered to a degree. They think of themselves and their needs, as well as their insecurities, which were the main reasons that we didn’t want our younger siblings, or even our parents to answer the phone. You just never knew what they might say.
These days, with the invention of cell phones, we all have our own phone to answer, and most of the time, we don’t want to answer the phone for someone else, because that is…just annoying. Still, with the dawning of Facebook, and the fact that our friends can also reach us there, has come a new, and sometimes even better way for siblings to embarrass us in front of our friends…hacking our page. So, in that way, the kids of today can say, “I’ve got it.” And I guess they do.
For a number of years now, my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook really didn’t want to go a lot of places. It was something I just couldn’t understand, then…but, I think I might have it figured out now. It really wasn’t that he didn’t want to go anywhere, it was about where he was going. Lynn was a truck driver for a number of years, and also served as a deputy sheriff for a number of years. I think that a big part of the problem was driving long distances, or driving much at all. Lynn, it seems had simply had his fill of driving.
Upon his retirement, suddenly, Lynn didn’t mind going places so much…provided that the destination was a camping spot in the Big Horn Mountains for a month or so at a time, that is. It would seem that the problem actually wasn’t the trip, but the destination. He wanted to go to one place, camp out, sit around the campfire, and just relax. In reality, I think that most of us who have worked for any length of time, can relate to that. It’s all about have your day finally be under your control.
Retirement for Lynn Cook meant that he and my sister-in-law, Debbie could go out in the mountains, shut off the phones…not that they had much reception there anyway, and just disconnect. Yep, it was about being disconnected from the hustle and bustle. Lynn, like many people who have been around noise, ringing phones, a hectic schedule, or tense moments, simply needed to find a way to make the world go away…even if it is only for a little while. And that is something I can certainly understand.
When Lynn is camping, he feels…alive. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, a campfire, and family around him…that’s what it’s all about. Bob and I feel a lot like that when we are hiking, so I can relate to his way of disconnecting. Just being out in nature, gives a person a feeling of freedom that can’t be beat…especially if he doesn’t have to shave…because isn’t that what retirement is all about. Lynn, I hope that today has been that kind of day for you. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Every girl can tell you that there are the everyday things and then there are the important things. The important things vary from girl to girl, and are partly their personality and partly the way they mimic their mother. From the moment a girl is old enough to notice the everyday essential things that her mother has or does, she starts to develop her own list of the important things. One of the first things many little girls notice is their mom’s purse. They instinctively know that Mom’s purse is important. It seems like everything she needs in in there. With that discovery, they decide that a purse is a must have for them too. The things little girls keep in their purse are different than their mom’s, because at this time in their life, toys and lollipops are just more important.
Of course, the use of the purse changes as girls get older. With the discovery of makeup, comes not only a time of experimentation, but a time of change in purse contents. A girl just can’t go anywhere without the ability to freshen her makeup, you know. One other thing that usually happens at this point is that Mom’s makeup is no longer safe, and really needs to be put away in a place that is too high for her little angel to reach, because I don’t know a single little girl who hasn’t used her mother’s makeup and not had disastrous results…for the makeup anyway. And, yes, I think for her little face too.
At some point, maybe after the makeup phase, or maybe during the makeup phase, the dress up phase begins. Your little princess starts trading her sensible shoes, for your high heels. She may also borrow some of your clothes too, because she is pretending that she is you. In her make believe world, she heads off to work, just like you do every day, or if you are a stay at home mom, she wants to cook dinner, change the baby, or clean the house. The biggest problem with this phase is that it is all too quickly over, and she goes back to wanting to play and not help out around the house. Have you every noticed just how quickly our kids grow up and begin a life of their own, leaving behind them all of the memories of their little kid days, for us to sort through and feel quite lonely over? We miss the little person they were, and if it were possible we would love to have that person back…especially when their teenaged years begin.
Yes, when the teenaged years start, many of us begin to wonder just who the child is? We thought we knew who they were and who they were going to be. Then suddenly, and without warning, all they want to do is talk on the phone with their friends…or boyfriends, as it were. Once again, the important things have changed, as they spread their wings and try to figure out who they want to be, and the kind of life they want to live. You are no longer the only real influence in their lives. Yours are no longer the only priorities in their lives. There are other hopes, dreams, and goals on their minds now. You have been relegated to being the back up plan. You are the one they come to when they have a problem no one else can fix, and you become the babysitter when they want to spend alone time with their spouse. Those are wonderful things and I don’t know of a parent or grandparent who doesn’t love being there for their adult children, but somehow…in the back of your mind, you can still see the little girl…your little princess, who is trying to figure out just what the important things are, while you are trying to figure out, where the time has gone.
For the past year, I have had the distinct pleasure of working side by side with my granddaughter at The Stengel Agency. Yesterday was Shai’s one year anniversary. She is our CSR, and her job is to answer phones, take payments, keep our filing up to date, and all the other odd jobs we give her. This has been a great opportunity for a high school student, and she has done a great job of it.
Not many people get to work with their kids or grandkids, and I am blessed to be able to work with both. There is a loyalty that goes along with working side by side with family and friends, and that is what you will find in our office. There is no need to micro-manage anyone, because we all just do our jobs. Shai comes in after school, and works until 5:00pm every weekday. When she first started working in the office, she was nervous about answering the phones, and dealing with customers, but as time has gone on, she is very comfortable greeting customers, and talking on the phone.
Kids go through many changes as they journey from childhood to adulthood, and I am proud to say that through those years Shai has excelled in several key areas of that journey. At 10 years of age, she cared for her great grandparents during the last 2 months of that summer, when they were both quite ill. I was very proud of how capable and responsible she was. We knew we didn’t have to worry about them…Shai was on the job. She also babysat my niece’s 3 boys, and they knew their children were in good hands…not to mention loved. And now, she is proving herself in the office. We know we can count on her to do her job to the very best of her ability.
Shai, I don’t know what your future plans will be, and while I love working with you, I will support you in whatever you do, but I will tell you this…you make a good CSR, and I believe that as time goes on you will get better and better at it. And thanks for the great…but fictional picture. I know you didn’t really drop those files, but it definitely adds flair to my story. Congratulations on a great first year!! Love you very much!!