Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Gift of a Soldier’s Return

The week between Christmas and new Years has been brimming with stories about soldiers returning from tours of duty to be reunited with their families. Seldom does the news of the day so aptly capture the dichotomous essence of relationships: the delicate balance between attachment and loss.

Picture the images in your mind. Imagine the child in the grade school classroom collapsing into the arms of his father as he recognizes the man in military fatigues entering his space. Consider the wife in the airport terminal consummating an embrace that has waited two years to occur. These are the displays of attachment that arise out of the all-too-real fear that the person you most love has been lost.

These family reunions live in the context of a much larger wager that determines whether the tearful reunions in classrooms and airports can occur. The commitment of the men and women who devote their lives to the protection of our country cannot be measured in the same category with most teams. There are few teams that understand the devotion to a common mission in the way that a military operation does. When everyone’s safety is in the hands of their teammates with national security hanging in the balance, error-free teamwork becomes non-negotiable. While sports teams and corporations are trying to win games or make profits with good teamwork, the military ensures our freedoms. For some teams, effective teaming is about attachment and loss as defined by life and death.

Each of us manages some variation of this gauntlet in our lives. Your willingness to invest in the depth of a powerful connection includes the inevitable risk of losing the piece of yourself that has been invested. It’s easier to hold back and sacrifice the potential of the attachment to protect against the prospect of pain. One does not come without the other.

The Team Clock Institute thanks the brave members of our armed service teams both returning and still deployed. The hugs filling the television screen and newspaper images are but a fraction of the story. Their example teaches.

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TEAM 101: Families and Holidays

Through their absence or presence, families coalesce during the holiday season. These annual gatherings are defined by who’s coming and who’s missing. Our clans provide the curriculum for Team 101.

The Shutterfly photo collage and those quirky letters stuffed inside of Christmas cards provide our first preview of family adaptation. “My, the kids have grown!” is a predictable refrain when your vantage point happens once a year. The updates are everywhere marking vacation highlights, career accomplishments, births and deaths. Frozen in time, the holidays have a way of stopping the world from spinning just long enough to measure who is still on the team.

Gifts under the tree and chairs around the dinner table illuminate the realities of change. Newborns become the center of attention. In-laws welcome outlaws. Deaths and divorces empower new traditions. The team is in a constant state of flux despite our natural wish to keep things the same. Yet, we somehow find a way to pause and take stock of the current state. We reminisce about where we’ve been, anticipate where we’re going, and savor the moment we are so lucky to have.

Our families define the spirit of the holidays. Whether anchoring a ritual, celebrating togetherness, creating something new, or coping with a change, these annual gatherings of kin teach our life lessons. May we all enjoy a warm, safe and loving December celebration and a peaceful, prosperous and fun 2012.

Happy Holidays from the Team Clock InstituteImage