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How Gracious Can You Be?

Courtney Lynch, December 14, 2020

My daughter is a champion swimmer. To succeed in her sport, she starts practice at 4:30 am six days a week. I, Courtney, am a champion carpool mom; or, at least, I was until last week when I missed picking up my daughter and two of her teammates from practice. 
It would be one thing if I just overslept, or some emergency happened, and I was unable to pick up the kids at the pool. But, no, I just plain forgot. I was awake, trying to decide if I had time to take the dog for a long walk while I was answering emails, drinking my protein shake, and checking news headlines. I was completely unaware during this time that my daughter and two of her teammates were stranded at the pool. To make it worse, they were outside, wet from swimming, and it was 25 degrees. 
Around 7:00 am when I was wondering why my daughter wasn’t home yet, I happened to glance at my phone. My pulse accelerated instantly when I saw multiple texts and missed calls. I quickly realized my misstep and was absolutely mortified. In my 14 years of parenting, I have never left my kid (and other kids!) stranded. I called my daughter right away, told her I was on my way, and dashed outside to the car. By the time I got to the pool, all three kids were waiting in another parent’s car.  
What happened next warmed my heart. Every single person involved in the matter offered me grace. My daughter was the first to say, “Don’t worry mom, mistakes happen.” The other kids laughed and shared how icicles had formed in their hair. All three said how they enjoyed watching the sunrise. When I called the other parents in the carpool to apologize and fill them in, they offered only support, compassion, and good humor.
I have to admit this experience rattled me yet reminded me of what’s most unsettling about pandemic times. We can have moments where we think all is in hand and then something trips us up, or a wave of worry comes over us, or we just max out unexpectedly. As leaders it’s important to be accountable for our oversights, while also being compassionate with ourselves and others.
Grace, people! Give it to ourselves and extend it to others generously. It’s powerful. Especially in context of the year 2020. As we embrace the holiday season, realize that the gift of grace is one you can never give enough of and it costs nothing more than a little thought, intention, and effort to deliver.

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