Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Full Circle

The other day my husband and I watched a beautiful scene unfold.  A boy about eight helped his two-year-old sister play on her scooter.  She was determined to ride it no matter what.  He was incredibly kind and patient with her.  Despite the crying and tantrums from her repeated unsuccessful attempts - he remained calm and loving.  As we viewed the interaction we knew that he was modeling the behavior he’d received from their parents.  We also knew that the sister would be just as patient, kind, and loving with her own children one day in the future.

We mimic the behavior we’ve seen and perpetuate the behavior we’ve experienced.

Members of Swayze's Sweethearts:
Ronnye Boone, Deborah Carter,
and Megan Whitlow
I once heard a story about cooking that bolsters the point.  A mother demonstrated how to cook a roast to her daughter.  When she cut a third of the roast off and turned it sideways in the pan before placing it in the oven the daughter asked her why she cut it.  The mother paused for a moment and then picked up the phone. The mom called HER mother and explained the situation.  The grandmother laughed so loudly the granddaughter could hear.  It seems the grandmother’s roasting pan was too small to hold the roast in one piece but it would fit if a section was turned sideways.  The mother had been cooking her roast the same way - even though she had a larger pan.

How many times a day do you take unconscious action based on how your parents, “Cut the roast”?  Do you drive American or foreign?  Do you attend church?  Volunteer?  Yell or sulk when angry?  Do you wear seat belts? Jewelry?  Plaid?  We spend a great deal of our lives, “Cutting the roast”.

When I wash dishes I utilize an order to the process.  First washed are glasses, then silverware, then plates, and finally pots and pans.  There’s a logic to the system - the water is cleanest at the beginning so you wash items from least dirty to dirtiest.  It’s so ingrained I don’t even think about the process until I watch my husband wash dishes in his own way.  Then… I have to consciously remind myself that the outcome is the important thing.

Swayze's Sweethearts Women Build Team on Build Day
Megan is a member of the Swayze’s Sweethearts Women Build Team.  The Sweethearts helped to raise the first wall in Julie Clinkscale’s home in April.  That event was a Roast Cutting moment for Megan because Megan grew up in a Habitat for Humanity home.

Megan’s parents married young and their three children came along shortly.  Megan’s family lived in an older home in Monroe, NC and only one of the rooms had insulation.  During the heat of the North Carolina summer and cold of winter all five family members lived in that one room.  Because the home was so old it exacerbated Megan’s sister’s asthma so she experienced a lot of breathing issues and all three children were often sick during the cold months.

Megan was seven when her family moved into their new Habitat home. She remembers hammering a few nails into the wall during construction. Megan recalls her excitement to have her own bedroom.  Megan remembers the new, clean, smell and how she and her siblings were fascinated by the furnace closet.  She recalls feeling the warmth and love from strangers who simply wanted to help.

Team Leader Kristel Swayze and Megan
As an adult Megan understands that Habitat offers families the opportunity to change their lives.  She appreciates knowing that there are good people in the community who care and who will rally around strangers to help them become homeowners.  Today Megan knows the importance of giving back and is happy to be in a position to do some giving.

One April evening as Megan helped teams of women work as one to raise Julie Clinkscale’s wall she looked over and saw five sets of children’s eyes watching.  Five sets of eyes observed unknown adults setting foundations for their futures, constructing stability, creating possibilities.  Megan’s eyes filled with joy and love because she KNEW what those little girls felt in that moment.   Megan knows first hand what their new home will mean.  And she felt overjoyed to play a role in their future success.

Megan has come full circle.  Today she is a dedicated wife and a mother who has worked in the medical field.  Stability is very important to Megan and she’s willing to sacrifice to provide it to her children.  She’s also willing to work for Julie Clinkscale and her grandchildren.  Megan once stood on a Habitat worksite and watched unknown helpers hammer and sweat.  Now Megan feels blessed to help provide the hand up she is so grateful to have received so many years ago.

We mimic the behavior we’ve seen and perpetuate the behavior we’ve experienced.  Each Habitat workday creates more than a floor or a roof.  It builds love and constructs community that continues and increases with each repetition.  One day those five little girls may continue the legacy and help another family get one day closer to home ownership.