Thursday, October 6, 2011

Understanding our Role

A few years ago I took over the household chore of vacuuming after my wife said her doctor felt she should no longer do it because of some cervical disc issues.  I never checked with her doctor about the validity of this claim but I figured fair is fair, she had done it for the first 25 or so years, it was probably my turn.I do have one rule, I won't do it when she's home.  The reason is that she micromanages my work and I can never do it well enough.  It's not her fault, she has this obsessive-compulsive streak at times.
I used to feel sorry for her about this and to be honest, slightly superior, till I realized that I too can be obsessive-compulsive. (Just not about cleaning).  I first recognized it in myself, after therapy and joining a support group, as it pertains to my adult children.  They were making choices that I felt were not in their best interest and I could not stop myself from interfering in their lives.  I'm getting better but it remains a struggle and always will be.  I think it's natural for parents to fall into this, but it's not healthy, for the children or the parent.
In my recovery process I have realized that I have always leaned toward being obsessive-compulsive, often in one area of my life at a time.  I have had times when I obsessed over our family budget (whether money was tight or not), running (5 marathons, 1 ultra), school ( up all night before clinicals preparing) and other things.
The past 12 months I have poured myself into this fight for a union at work.  It' a fight worth fighting, the outcome will benefit coworkers and patients now and for years to come.  I could not have continued day after day if I wasn't the way I am.
I'll share a great prayer that helps me:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change:
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

One of the lessons I have learned with my children is that I can lead and teach them by my example, but I cannot choose for them. 
For the past 12 months our organizing committee and now or negotiations committee have led us in our effort to gain a voice at work. Our officers and stewards will one day fill that role.The "wisdom to know the difference" tells me that their role is not to "lead", not "carry".  It is the role of each and every member to become involved and do what we can. 
For those in a leadership role to "carry" the membership would be like me trying to make life choices for my children or my wife trying to micromanage my house cleaning, it just doesn't work.
So, if you notice me bugging you less about coming to negotiations, or becoming otherwise involved, it is not because it has become less important, it is only me trying to do my part and leave your choices in your hands. 
This is not me saying I'm tired, or I'm done fighting.  Ironically, in the past, whenever I have decided to back off and let others decide for themselves, I experience a renewed vitality and energy.  My goal is, and will always be, to fight for a Backus Hospital that puts patients first and respects it's employees.

The question I would like you to ask yourself is this:
What's my goal, what's my role?

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