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SPECIAL FATHER'S DAY EDITION
    June 6, 2003     PAGE FOUR      
CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7

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 Grilling Guide Part I
 Grilling Guide Part II
 Jo Cordi's  Lifestyle Series
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 Our Father's Day Story


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          Find The Message in Father's Day by Jo Cordi Sica
           "The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life,
                      the clearer we should see through it."
                                                                 Jean Paul

My father would have never won a parent of the year award. In fact, Iím sad to say that due to mental illness and alcoholism, he is no longer in my life. Nonetheless, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. There were times when the good man underneath would peek out and teach me valuable lessons. With Fathers Day just around the corner, it seems like a great time to focus on all the positive ways he has impacted my life.

One of the things he told me was that I could do anything I set my mind to. He also told me that nothing is impossible; some things just take a little longer. He told me this often, and I believed him. Throughout my life, I firmly believed that I could do anything. It was as if I was privy to a secret that the rest of the world did not know. What a wonderful message to instill in children! If you have enough confidence in your children, they will have faith in themselves. Throughout my life, I have eagerly taken on challenges that others said couldnít be done. And, each time, I proved them wrong.

Several years ago, I worked for a company that had a fabulous corporate yacht. This ship was about 55 feet long, had 3 staterooms, 3 heads (bathrooms), a full galley (kitchen), and a large salon (sitting room) in addition to various lounging decks. The yacht was used primarily for entertaining clients and as a perk to the executive team. One day I had a brainstorm that it would make a perfect place to hold a team building session for my direct reports. I bounced the idea off a few of my associates, and their responses were all the same: I was crazy. No one except Senior Vice Presidents and the CEO were ever allowed to use the yacht. I failed to see the logic there. Here was a perfectly good ship, sitting at the dock, just begging to be used! Ignoring the warnings, I proceeded to plan the trip. My co-workers laughed and shook their heads, telling me over and over that I was never going to make the trip happen. In fact, as my team and I stood on the deck of the ship waving goodbye, the naysayers were standing on the dock still shaking their heads. How did I pull this off? I simply explained my idea to my Senior VP, told him how we would benefit from improved morale and productivity, and asked him to approve the trip. For months after the trip people continued to comment that they could not believe I had pulled it off.

My point is that all too often we are victims of our own self-limiting beliefs. Anyone in that company could have done the same thing I did. The only reason they had not is because they believed that they could not. It saddens me terribly when I hear people say that they cannot accomplish something. I have had people tell me they cannot go back to school, find a better job, lose weight, or even leave an abusive relationship. It saddens me because they are absolutely right. As long as they believe they canít, they canít. Henry Ford once said ďWhether you think you can or whether you think you canít, youíre right.Ē Sure, it is scary sometimes when you are navigating uncharted waters. Christopher Columbus was a lunatic by all conventional wisdom. Most highly successful people are unconventional. Without risk, there is very little gain.

Another valuable lesson I learned from my father was that the more involved you are in your childrenís lives, the less likely they are to get into trouble. There were a few good years in my childhood. When I was in seventh grade, my father volunteered to drive the choir to every engagement and the cheerleading squad to every practice and game. This is important because his willingness to drive was the only reason I was able to participate in these activities. I should probably explain that I am tone deaf and cannot carry a tune. I believe I was the original Millie Vanillie. Sr. Mary Margaret forbade me to let any sound escape my lips. I had strict orders, under threat of a crack with a stick, to lip sync. On the cheerleading front, I could not jump, split, or tumble. I was a fat kid who inherited my motherís graceful nature. (Have I ever mentioned the number of broken bones my mother had in her lifetime? Never mind, I canít count that high.) In any event, the groups needed transportation, and without me, they were walking. Since we moved often, it was sometimes challenging to make friends in a new school. Being a cheerleader sure helped, even if I was the chubby, clumsy one. I also managed to make straight ďAsĒ and avoid hanging out with the bad kids.

When I was in my early 20s, my father quit drinking. I took advantage of that time to make up for all the years we missed. Every weekend featured days restoring old cars and evenings of all night Scrabble games and moonlight bowling. Maybe thatís a strange way for a young woman to spend her weekends, but I can tell you that had I not been there, I would have been off consuming large quantities of alcohol in a disco. Maybe he knew that and was trying in his own way to keep me from traveling the same road he did. All I know is that when I was with him, I wasnít getting into trouble. I canít say the same for the times he wasnít there.

My daughter is blessed to have a father that in spite of being divorced and remarried still sees her every Wednesday and at least every other weekend. She also has a stepfather who rearranges his schedule so that he can pick her up from school if I cannot. During the summer, if Iím working, he takes the day off to take her to a movie, or swimming, or just be home in case she needs him. While I know there are no guarantees, I feel confident that she is less likely to run with the wrong crowd because she has parents that are involved. I also know that when she is older, she will have good role models of what to look for when choosing a husband. So my message to fathers is this: If you are spending time with your children and staying involved in their lives, thank you and God bless you. If you arenít, please reconsider.

Happy Fathers Day!


                  Jo Cordi Sica
                  SPHR Organizational Development and Training
                  jwcordi@aol.com



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