Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/marybiev/public_html/wp-content/themes/StandardTheme_274/admin/functions.php on line 229
Mary Biever | One Writing Mother |

4-H and Presentation Success

One of the most important lessons I work to teach public speaking students is flexibility. They need to change on a dime and keep going.

This week, when Vanderburgh’s 4-H Tech Club team rehearsed to give presentations at a state meeting, I distracted them during rehearsals. There were times I walked across the back of the room, clapped my hands, jumped, or gave them funny looks while speaking.

It’s a deliberate technique I use while coaching speakers to give them experience maintaining their focus during presentations. Each presentation experience presents its own challenges, and we frequently cannot anticipate what those challenges will be until they happen.  Learning to maintain focus prepares speakers for unexpected challenges.

These kids were not only flexible but found ways to solve problems. When we arrived at the hotel the night before presentations, we tried to figure out where we could do a final rehearsal. One of the youngest team members scoped the front of the hotel, talked to the hotel clerk, and got permission for us to use a meeting room free of charge that night for a rehearsal. As luck would have it, the room they rehearsed in that night was the same size as the one they presented in the next morning. As team members held computer parts and demonstrated their use, they found ways to help each other and turn equipment to give a better presentation.

The team members adapted what they said and when they said it whenever needed. They listened to our suggestions and found ways to improve their presentation but still keep it as their own and not ours. As slideshow photos were switched and timings tweaked, the team kept their focus. If they felt stress in those final adjustments, they didn’t show it.

As this team rehearsed, I didn’t anticipate when we got to the actual room that the setup we had carefully prepared would be completely flipped. Team members used to showing something on their right had to switch to their left, and vice versa. When we got to the room and realized they would have to reverse everything they had practiced, I said nothing but mentally kicked myself for not having them practice both ways.

However, they made it work and took the switch in stride. After a quick rehearsal with the new setup, they began the presentations, giving the same demonstration to 4 different groups, to a total of 110 adults.

No one in the audiences would have guessed they had flipped their presentation.

What was their secret to success? 4-H had prepared them well. They all had several years of experience giving demonstrations at the county level. Three of the five team members had also competed at state 4-H demonstration contests. One team member had competed in state level judging contests.

Most remarkably, they have had those experiences at such young ages.

The Tech presentation team ranged in ages from twelve to sixteen. I wonder how they will use those experiences later in life.

They give me hope for all our futures. And they remind me that when we set a bar of high expectations, and it is met, great things happen.

 


A Tech Club Team Tribute

Today, I want to say a big thanks to the team that has helped build our 4-H Tech Club the past 6 years. Sometimes, there are teams that learn to work together so well that they remind us of the ways families should be. I see that with Tech Club. The parts working together are greater than the individuals would be working on their own, and good things happen.

Six years ago, I came up with one of the scariest phrases my own family ever hears, “I have this vision.”

It all happened because I wanted to create some new opportunities for my kids. My son had joined a robotics team and had competed in some local contests. When I learned that 4-H programs in other areas had robotics contests, I wanted to try it locally. Part of my reasoning was that a robotics contest can take from 15 to 40 hours of preparation time. If our county approved a robotics project, then my son’s achievement record, in his robotics project, could note the hours he spent in other robotics competitions.

Other areas had formed 4-H clubs that focused entirely around robotics. I considered organizing one, but thought that didn’t fit what I thought our county needed. One morning, I “saw the light.” Thomas Edison may have developed the light bulb, but he invented a lot more than that. He always worked to find ways to improve technology. We could start a 4-H club that focused its programming around technology and many science areas: computers, electricity, aerospace, robotics, and more.

One problem: I don’t have a science background. All I was was a mom with a vision and a desire to create new opportunities for her children. As I talked to our extension office and 4-H friends about my vision, I knew I would need a lot of help. But I felt in my heart that this was a vocation, a calling, and something I was supposed to do for reasons that would fit into a picture bigger than mine. I also needed to find another club leader in order to charter a new club.

A friend of mine introduced me to Josh, a young web designer. At our first meeting, I shared my vision and told him my science limitations. But I assured him, “If we can find people to help with the science part, I can organize our way out of a paper bag.” He agreed to help and began the process to become a 4-H leader. Once he was approved, we began to organize our club.

The members put their own stamp on the club. I had planned to call it the Technology Club, but when our bylaws were adopted, the members voted to call it the Tech Club instead. Little did I realize at that first meeting the great things that can happen when dedicated people work together.  At the second meeting, members asked if they could tear apart computers and put them back together. So that’s what we did at our club’s third meeting.

Six years later, our club has about 25 members per meeting. Some of our parents are or have become 4-H leaders – Dana, Brooksie, and Karen. Sometimes families have been key to the club and have had to move away – they are missed but still made an indelible mark on the club’s spirit, especially Mark and his family. They share their expertise to help improve the club. The kids and the families work hard to make things work well. After surgery two years ago and since my recent heart attack, they stepped up to keep the club going during my illness and recovery.

Four weeks ago, we were offered our largest honor and challenge to date. We were invited to give a presentation at the Indiana 4-H Foundation’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, one of 4 clubs throughout the state chosen to participate in a science showcase. Members of the club will give a computer hardware demonstration, describing how we have done computer tear-down workshops at meetings.

When we were invited, I was still in cardiac rehab and knew the only way this would work was if our team worked together. In those 4 weeks, incredible things happened:

  • Members rehearsed and prepared their presentation, which they will repeat to 4 different groups at the meeting.
  • My son, the one who originally inspired the robotics project and the club, has worked with the other club officers and shared what he has learned about computer hardware for the presentation.
  • Corporate and individual sponsors lined up to sponsor Tech Club to not only cover the trip’s transportation costs but also t-shirts for club members and model rocket purchases for the club for next year.
  • Members, parents, and leaders put the club’s needs ahead of their own desires and needs to help. They have shared their talents.

I don’t know how the final presentations will go. I do know that this team of remarkable players – leaders, members, and parents – have worked together in ways I never dreamed possible six years ago. As they rise to the challenges of this opportunity, I know that the Tech Club is bigger than one mother’s dream and will continue beyond my time.

And for that, all I can do is say thanks.


Easter Dinner

How do you do Easter after a heart attack, without a ham but still having it feel like a celebration?

I tweaked the menu some, with more of a focus on how to make foods lower fat and lower sodium.

Salad - organic greens tossed with broccoli and carrots.

Fruit salad – strawberries, peaches, and pineapples tossed together.

Garlic beer bread – I didn’t have the time or energy to make yeast rolls, so this worked.

Deviled eggs – I hesitated on this one, but my family loves them, and I can eat one in moderation; I’ve avoided real eggs all week to save room for one.

Twice-baked potatoes – I used Yukon potatoes this year and cut the butter/margarine entirely. My son made these with fat substitutes. We’ll see how they taste.

Sauteed veggies – Zucchini sauteed with green and red peppers with onion.

Butterflied pork chops cooked with apples and cranberries – this is a new recipe and an experiment.

Low fat chocolate cake – this is an experiment too. I tried making a chocolate cake mix with a can of 7-up instead of the fats and oils. I’ve tried a strawberry cake with this and liked the results. So we’ll see if chocolate is edible.

 


A Heartfelt Good Friday Thank You

Good Friday is always a mixed bag.  This year, it’s doubly so. My Lent began on December 9, the day of my heart attack when my life changed. Since then, I’ve given up many of my old favorite meals and foods.

This is a poignant Good Friday because it’s also the day I end my time in cardiac rehabilitation. As I went through my exit evaluation, I nearly choked up as I left. The ladies who work here have helped me change my life and save it.

For two months, three afternoons a week, I’ve spent time with them. Cardiac rehab is a season of closely monitored exercise. Each session began with a weigh-in (talk about pressure) and then the strapping on of heart monitors. During cardiac exercise, they take your blood pressure and monitor your heart rate.

In my time there, I’ve seen them intervene when blood pressures raise too high and help a diabetic when glucose levels dropped too low. They’ve monitored weight changes in case someone shows weight gain as a symptom of congestive heart failure.

With me, when I had a “niaspan flush” – like a hot flash induced by medication – they helped me work through it. When I tried to bend the rules and push myself too hard, they had me slow down my exercise. As I built relationships with these remarkable heroines, they became very in tune with how we were doing. Last week, one day when my blood pressure was low, a nurse picked up on it and raised concerns that I looked tired; that evening, I realized I had taken the wrong medication that morning. She knew something was off before I did.

At each step, as I mastered one level, they encouraged me to raise my workouts up a notch. When they needed me to slow down, they did that too.

Besides the rehab, each session included a class on lifestyle changes. Some of them I knew – like how to fix healthier foods. Other ones – like the time they showed us a dissected human heart so we better understood what made us sick – were whole new territory for me.

And so now, on the day we remember the crucifixion, I feel a deep loss. The professionals who have worked so hard with me give the same effort to every patient, each hour of the day. They know us, nurture us, and prod us.

This week, after an especially strenuous workout, I wanted to leave to meet my next appointment. But my heart rate was elevated, and they don’t let us leave until our heart rates are in normal range. If you know me, and my Type A emphasis on schedules, you know I was like the stallion pawing to get out of the barn. But the nurse told me, “Sit down, get a drink of water, and relax. Pushing too hard will give you a heart attack.”

Oh yeah. She knew just what to say to slow me down.

But the really remarkable thing is she – and all those she work with – know that about every one of their patients in cardiac rehab.

So this Easter, as I celebrate the resurrection, I’ll celebrate my own second chance and say a special prayer of thanks to the healthcare heroes who helped me get here.

Rejoice!


What Risk Will You Take and How Will You Make It Happen?

Yesterday was the final session in a 24-part public speaking class I taught to a small group of high school students this year.

Last week, during the next-to-last class, we went through each student (8 of them), and their classmates shared what strengths they saw in each other. I told them after the exercise that in those moments when they might doubt their public speaking, to draw upon those affirmations and to build upon their strengths.

This week, after we worked on personal storytelling and leadership stories, we closed the class for the year. First, I explained that public speaking isn’t just something you take as a class and then stop doing. It’s a process of continuous improvement. We constantly analyze and work with what we say and how we said it to improve our next public speaking activity.

So I asked each of them how they wanted to improve their public speaking in the next 6 months and had them write it down. Then, they shared them.

Then I had them all envision it’s 5 years in the future and asked what they will do in their lives that will use the public speaking skills they have developed. They each pondered before writing down a 5 year goal. When they shared these goals, I could see a part of their hearts awakening. I explained to them that if they set a goal, write it down, and share it with others, it’s more likely to happen.

To finish the class, I told them they had what it took to reach those goals. All they needed to do now was to start the process – what strategies can them employ to reach their goals. And I challenged them to find people in their lives that can help them reach that goal, recruit them as accountability partners, and learn from those people.

The steps I worked them through can apply to us all:

  1. Encourage others.
  2. Believe in yourself and your abilities.
  3. Think how you can improve your talents.
  4. Set a goal.
  5. Decide what you need to do to make it happen.

So what’s your goal for 5 years from now? What will you do to make it happen?


The Problem With Angry Dieters

As I recover from my heart attack and work to keep my lifestyle changes, I’ve found that “diet” can be a four-letter word.

It isn’t just because it’s hard to continue for a lifetime.

It is also because of the angry dieters.  Angry dieters can have great ideas on how to improve the western diet. But they become so enamored of their personal best plan that they grow angry when someone eats a “forbidden food” and talks about it.  In the process of venting their anger, they can demoralize and discourage regular people who are trying to make better food choices.

It goes like this:

I can post a menu item of something I made and get the following feedback:

  • I shouldn’t have used whole wheat flour to make a pizza because wheat has gluten and that’s the basis of all health ills in the civilized world. I shouldn’t use whole wheat but other whole grains instead. If I didn’t eat wheat, I would lose weight faster than the 24 pounds I’ve lost in the 15 weeks since my heart attack. The fact that I have a tabletop wheat grinder and grind my own wheat is irrelevant.
  • I shouldn’t have chosen corn tortillas for a Mexican dish because they were probably made of GMO corn. I should ignore the fact that I’m on a 1,500 milligram limit of salt per day and that corn tortillas have not only more fiber but only 20 mg of sodium, compared to the 200 mg of a single flour tortilla. A better choice would have been to skip the tortilla entirely and only eat the filling. Never mind that I’m cooking not just for me but for my husband and teen-aged son who miss their more traditional diet of last year.
  • It didn’t matter if I baked the brown rice because I shouldn’t have eaten rice to begin with. It’s not paleo. The fact that I’m not following a paleo diet is irrelevant.
  • I shouldn’t have used fat-free cheese as a topping on that pizza because automatically everything that is fat free puts in so many different chemicals that it will kill me. Ignore the fact that I’m severely limited on the amount of saturated fats and cholesterol I can eat each day, cheese was one of my favorite ingredients, and I miss it. And a little fat free cheese can help me miss it less so I stay on the low fat low sodium whole food wagon better.
  • God help me if I eat an egg. That can lead to a 3 day discussion on whether or not eating a single egg is good or bad for heart disease. And if I am busy and eat an egg beater instead of just doing the white myself, that can double the discussion length as we analyze the additives in the low-fat egg substitute I just ate.
  • I can’t discuss the store where I buy most of my produce because it’s not all organic. Ignore the budgetary differences between organic and non-organic produce. I’m buying real food, primarily grown in the United States, and I work to properly clean produce before we eat it. I know all-organic would be better. But if I did that, and added that much more money to our food budget which has already increased from our healthier options, it might stress me out and increase my blood pressure.
  • I should have substituted bacon grease for olive oil because olive oil is processed and bacon grease is a simple, real food. Ignore that I am fighting clogged arteries.
  • When I made a fish meal from flash frozen fish on sale, I should have instead spent more money and bought fresh fish. Never mind that I worked to get the fresh water varieties, have a busy schedule and bought fish when I had time to grocery shop.
  • If I cut all the dairy and meat from my diet, I wouldn’t have had a heart attack in the first place. And then someone else will argue that dairy is a hidden, unknown resource in battling weight loss.
The anger and criticism inspires those of us who are trying to make better lifestyle choices to hunker down, shut our mouths, and share our new lifestyle adventures with no one. It’s hard enough to recovery from surgery and major illness without having to justify every single menu choice every day.

And the whole time all those hair-splitting arguments are taking place about my food choices, another student in my cardiac rehab class is sharing his information on his lifestyle changes:

  • He’s eating healthier now because he buys his bologna from the deli instead of the package.
  • He eats white bread for his sandwiches because there’s no real difference in its nutrition content from the whole grain selections.
He has heard so many discussions like what’s described above that he no longer listens to any of them.

When all we do is argue and criticize other people’s food choices, we alienate them. Our anger can cause them to filter and ignore everything we say, much of which is beneficial.

Our bad behavior will not inspire other people to make better food choices.

A more pro-active approach is to talk about what we like with our food choices. What’s fun to eat? What’s affordable to buy? How can I incorporate better whole food choices into my menu family for my family, on busy days?

My first choice in this lifestyle change is to follow the suggestions given to me by my doctors and cardiac rehab team. First and foremost, it involves as many whole foods and as few processed foods as possible. Fats and salt are limited as much as possible, but when I do have fats, I try to substitute them for healthier choices. If we eat beef, it’s generally limited to 2 times per week. We work to eat 2 fish meals per week, as well as 2 bean-based meals per week. If I eat real eggs, they are limited to 2 eggs per week. I do eat eat grains and work to make sure they are whole grain.

And now a nugget that’s bound to anger somebody: I was a salt fiend. I loved to salt my food and no longer do. When I absolutely crave it, I now use a potassium-based salt substitute. It helps me resist the urge to salt my food when a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t taste the same, but it adds enough zing for me to keep my salt down. As my taste buds have changed, I’ve used it less. But I also have low potassium, and I figure those dashes of salt substitute might just help.

The real diet war  I’m fighting isn’t with other people. It’s a war to prolong my life. I take it seriously and work to keep my focus on the long term view and not just today’s battle.

And I hope that as I talk about the changes I’ve made it inspires others to do the same.

 


Living, Breathing & Loving – Lessons I Learned with a Glass of Water

As I count the days until my time in cardiac rehab ends, it can feel like I’m merely passing time. I generally spend it praying and listening for God to speak to me.

Those who go into cardiac rehab can face a variety of challenges in addition to heart disease – maybe needing a walker, fighting partial paralysis, battling diabetes, or struggling to get healthier while breathing with a single lung. In today’s class, there was a lady with a walker, who worked her hardest to complete her exercises. When she finished the last one, I heard her comment across the room that she was thirsty.

Tired from her exercise, she pushed her walker towards the water cooler, where I was already standing. That’s whenGod decided to speak to me.

“Give her a glass of water. Take it to her.”

“Are you sure? Did you really say that?” I asked Him.

“Get her a glass of water NOW.”

As I gave her the water, I realized this is the most important lesson cardiac rehab taught me. It wasn’t how to change my lifestyle to eat better. It wasn’t how to gauge my exercise so I push myself, but not too hard. He told me what I had just realized.

“Living and breathing. And loving. That’s what matters.”

As I’ve worked through rehab, I’ve seen people get sick in the middle of exercise. Their blood sugar has dropped, or their blood pressure has spiked. They’ve needed immediate care and have gotten it. It’s hammered home how precious our gift of life is.

We need to better treasure our gift of life and appreciate even what a gift it is to breathe. Those breaths sustain us.

Many times, we get so distracted with the details of our lives that we forget to appreciate living and breathing.

The lady took her water and proceeded to class.

I immediately flashed with another image – of the woman at the well. Jesus Christ offered her the gift of water, and I never realized until that moment what a profound gift it was.

He not only reached out to her with water but with love. Love is the greatest of our gifts.  It is not an abstract concept. It is a deliberate choice in how we approach the other people in our lives.

We can do everything in the world right, but if we do everything without love, it’s all wrong.

On the flip side, we can screw up lots of details and make terrible mistakes, but if we truly reach out with love to those around us, it will work.

As I’ve faced my own mortality – and witnessed it in others – I’ve resolved to spend as much time as possible savoring the gifts of living and breathing – and of loving those around us.

Always remember these important gifts…

Living, breathing, and loving.


My War Against Heart Disease

Getting over a heart attack is different from getting over the common cold.

Yes, I’m thankful that I won the first battle – surviving the heart attack. However, I see a common misconception that surviving that attack means that life resumes as it had before the heart attack.

Instead, it means I won Battle 1 against heart disease and will be at war against it the rest of my life. If I return to the habits that brought me to a heart attack before the age of 50, then I dramatically increase the likelihood of a second heart attack and more complications.

The small decisions I make each day play a huge part in whether I win the war against heart disease:

  • What I cook at each meal makes a difference.
  • What I order when we eat at restaurants matters. When you eat to live, instead of live to eat, your first purchasing decisions eating out are based on what’s the least harmful food on the menu and how can I make the most nutritious choices.
  • Whether I exercise and how I exercise impacts my future weight loss, triglyceride levels, and more.

Each time I make a bad choice “just this once,” I might as well be playing Russian Roulette with my health and lifespan.

Some make bad choices because they say they want to enjoy life.

I want to enjoy life too. What I didn’t anticipate during my heart attack recovery, as I totally flipped my lifestyle, was how much better I would feel. I have more energy than I’ve had in years, and that makes life more fun.

This is a battle I will wage every day for the rest of my life. I don’t know the outcome, but I do know I’ll do whatever is in my power to lower risk factors.

And I ask friends and family to help me in 2 different ways:

  • If you see me making bad choices, remind me of what I have to live for: more time with my friends and family.
  • The one advantage I have is that I know the battle I’m fighting. Many out there are losing the battle against coronary artery disease without realizing it until it’s too late. If you can make better choices for your own lifestyle, I challenge you to make them starting right now. Not in an hour. Not after dinner. Not tomorrow.

But here and now.

Aren’t the people we love worth doing what we can to win this war?


Hearing God in the Silence

What do you give up for Lent when you’ve already given up fat, fried foods, bacon, ham, cream, and cheese for health reasons? That was my struggle this year. I was inspired by a homily to give up noise in my car so I would have more opportunities to listen for God.

No more would I race down the road making productive use of my drive time with news radio or Christian music. Instead, I would drive in silence and listen for what God wanted me to hear. The first day, as I self-congratulated my resolve, I expected to hear trumpets sounding and angels singing.

Nada.

There was nothing that day, the next day, or the next week. But I continued my decision and found myself singing in the car. Last week, I resigned myself that my exercise in self discipline, listening for God, would yield no results. Well, it did have some negative results when my teens wanted to turn on the radio while riding with me, and I told them I gave up car radio for Lent.

Until today. It was a poignant St. Patrick’s Day as our daughter returns to college this afternoon. This was our last time as a family together at church until May. As we sat down in Mass, the Bible readings each spoke to me and then opened the most profound of visions.

First, in Isaiah 43, the lector read that God opens a path in the waters. We can forget the problems of the past and rejoice in His new creation. I thought for a moment of my wicked childhood, our struggles, our loss by fire, and my recent health issues and recognized that God is making a way for us to follow that is new and wonderful.

And so we could sing, “The Lord has done great things for us. We are filled with joy.” I was filled with joy – the joy of being there singing with my family.

Then we went to Philippians 3, where St. Paul writes he considers the things of the past a loss, and we have a new beginning. As we pursue this new path, we “strain forward to what lies ahead,” pursuing our goal of God’s promise in Christ Jesus.

My life feels like it is beginning Act 3. Act 1 was childhood, Act 2 was motherhood, and Act 3’s path is still being determined. Changing my lifestyle to make it healthier, and discovering new interests and talents, is definitely a strain, but I’m optimistic in the promise.

Then the profound Lenten gift happened. As the priest began to read the Gospel of the fallen woman where he taught the lesson on casting the first stone, for a few moments I saw a Renaissance painting come to life. The picture was a beautiful mix of reds, blues, and golds and was set in heaven. Christ was in the center, with Mary and the apostles surrounding Him, as well as saints and angels. Then I heard a voice from a past dream telling me, “We are still praying for you.”

It was a reminder of the Communion of Saints and of the dream that profoundly changed my life. Seventeen years ago, as we struggled with a high risk pregnancy, I had prayed begging for my son’s life. That night, which was the first step of my conversion, I was told, “We will pray for your unborn son.” I didn’t know what the communion of saints was, but I woke up the next morning determined to become Catholic and learn about my new faith.

Despite terrible odds and many setbacks, my son and I both survived a difficult pregnancy that included a month on bedrest in a hospital 100 miles from home, 4 PUBS blood transfusions to my son, 5 weeks of high dose IvIgg treatments, and a terrible hemorrhage from placenta previa. There is no scientific explanation for our survival; it was truly a miracle. During those months of struggle, we were prayed over by prayer circles around the country. I took comfort in my recognition that saints and angels were praying for us too in their “great cloud of witnesses.”

Now, as my children are no longer children but young adults beginning their own adventures and stories, I was reminded that I am still prayed for, as are they.

We each have a path to follow, and if we listen, we can receive guidance every step of the way.

After that brief flash of my Renaissance painting, I was back  with my family, where I was then reminded to put faith first, family second, and my career third. (Thank you Mary Kay for that reminder!)

Had I not turned off the car radio weeks ago, and begun giving myself time to reflect and release, I don’t believe I would have enjoyed today’s epiphany.

We discover God in the silence. Sometimes it takes awhile to hear Him, but He’s most definitely there.


Less Is More – And Letting Go of Teens

Good teachers and parents learn as much from their students and children as they teach.

As a speech coach, I’ve had definite ideas of what will and won’t work for speeches and demonstrations. His whole life, my son has confounded my ideas. I’m into detailed plans.

His perspective on the world is different. When he takes photographs of events, he always chooses unique angles no one else considers, and they turn out well. I learned with his photography to back off so he can do it his way.

The same holds true of public speaking. He has that rare gift of taking complex subjects and making them simple. And he sees the value in doing something that is seemingly simple but doing it well. Years ago, when he was a health and safety officer of our Tech Club and gave monthly health reports, I gave up on trying to direct him for topics. Once, his topic was how to safely carry a table and set it up. I would never have chosen such a topic. But he approached it thoroughly and made good points. For years since that report, when I set up tables, I’ve thought of his demonstration and how people often drop tables or put them up incorrectly.

This past week, as he designed a Project Interact – in 4-H we used to call them action demonstrations where you demonstrate something simple that you can repeat over and over again. He chose his own topic:

How to Tie Your Shoes Faster.

I shrugged my shoulders and assumed it would be a total loss. But when he began, he took multiple pairs of shoes with him and started with a calculation of how much time your spend in your life tying your shoes. And then he explained that if you cut that time in half, you save time every single day. Then he demonstrated his shortcut.

He held the audience’s attention. I observed 8 teens happily trying a new way to tie their shoes, laughing and joking as they worked.

It was an effective demonstration of something seemingly simple, but improved.

Never would I have considered a shoe tying demonstration for teenagers, but this worked.

Once again, I learned that less is more. And if I step back from my son whose viewpoint is so unique, and I give him space to do things his way, they work.