When something doesn't feel right, and nothing makes sense, be still and Go to the center.
My daughter has always been thin. When she was smaller she was underweight, but healthy. When she was in elementary school she used to love lunch every day. But there was a streak of about a month when her cafeteria balance doubled. My husband and I could not explain it because she did not change in size. We took her to the doctor and she came back with a clean bill of health. I asked her what she was ordering from school. My daughter is a smart little cookie. She made up some stuff because she knew where I was going, but I didn't know yet.
She then started taking her lunch to school. My husband or I would take her to the grocery store and let her select her own snacks, and she learned how to make her own sandwiches. One day I took some time off to have lunch with her and the lunch that she was eating was not what I knew we had purchased. Literally it was a few leaves of lettuce and some bread with mayonnaise.
Shocked I exclaimed, "Baby where is the rest of your food?" Out of the corner of my eye a strange expression came across a couple of the kids faces that were sitting across from us at her table. It was not until later that it all came together.
My daughter is one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever encountered. If she sees someone in need she is going to provide for them. And that was what happened in this scenario. She had been purchasing lunch for some of the kids who couldn't afford it. That's why her bill was so high. And when my husband and I remarked on the cost, in her child's mind she thought she would just minimize her impact by cutting her own food intake and getting little things out of the refrigerator that we wouldn't miss but still be in a position to provide for the others.
My husband and I sat her down that evening to let her know how proud we were of her and her generosity, of her empathy and compassion for her fellow man. And we told her that she did not have to go without. That God had blessed us with enough resources for her to be a blessing to others and to herself. She looked so relieved. There were so many things in that moment that came forth for me.
First, that it is so important that the people over whom we have responsibility need to know that we have their backs no matter what. They also need to know that they can come to us with anything. Our dependents, our employees, the people who look to us for guidance and support and leadership must know who we are in our values so they can take action without always coming to us to ask.
My daughter knew that in our family we help other people. And she knew that she could go and purchase lunch for those who needed it. She became unsure when she thought that she was spending too much money, and began to deprive herself so that she could continue to help others. But that was not necessary, yet I see how we as her parents could have communicated to her better. And made an environment that made her feel that she could just say something without being afraid that she had done the wrong thing.
When people are new to our organization, it's important that we explain a lot. Let them feel that we're overdoing it; they need to see and feel and hear who we are and what we believe (my definition of new to the family organization). They are growing up in their watching us and learning. This is not to say that the people you employ are children, rather that they are new to how you do things and need guidance, understanding and support.