8 Things Good Leaders Know

TinaBausinger

I am always looking for opportunities to teach my son about leadership. As a college professor and professional in the community, it is my job to lead others on a daily basis. So many times we assume kids learn this trait by osmosis, but that’s not always true. Of course, we should always do our best to model good leadership as a parent and someone they are always watching, but it’s more than just that. Here are 8 things I’ve learned about being a leader and what I want to pass on to my kids.

8 Things Leaders Know

  1. How to treat others. If you don’t know how to be kind and polite, then you are not a leader, you are a bully. A leader must be respectful to others, even those who have nothing to give back to them. Say please and thank you. There’s no excuse for rudeness. A good leader does not need to be brash.
  2. How to be assertive, not abusive. There’s a difference between assertive and bossiness. Being assertive is more about not letting others push you around or talk you out of the right thing. It’s confidence with grace.
  3. When to say no. A good leader does not take on too many projects at once, because she knows that she is only one person and it’s difficult to do a good job when you are spread too thinly. There are only so many hours in the day, and we have to remember that each commitment takes up one more slice of our precious time that might be more wisely allotted.
  4. When to step in. Sometimes, nobody asks you to be a leader, even when it’s plainly obvious that one is needed. Many times, others don’t see the need, or else are afraid to take on the task. If you are qualified and you see a position that needs filling or a problem that you can solve, the worst that can happen is that someone tells you no thanks. There are times when this is more urgent than others. For example, if you are in the grocery store and an elderly man falls over clutching his chest, and you know CPR you MUST step in and help him. If you don’t know CPR, this is not the chance to practice by any means, but statistics prove that many people just freeze up during emergencies. Maybe you don’t know CPR but you have your phone on you and you call 911. This is stepping up. This is solving a problem—leadership.
  5. When to not step back. There are other times when we, as leaders, really want something that we know deep down we are not qualified for. A good leader will wait until he or she is ready. They will procure the proper training, or talk to someone knowledgeable. They will take the next step towards their goal. They will not give up.
  6. How to not burn bridges. Many people, when leaving a place of employment, do so with a blaze of glory—Tweeting, posting on Facebook, etc. all of their personal grievances that caused them to quit (or be fired) in the first place. This is a bad idea. A leader never burns bridges; instead, she tries to make peace with those she’s leaving behind. You never know when your paths might cross again.
  7. How to admit your mistakes and apologize effectively. Leaders are only human. Mistakes are going to happen. A leader does not make excuses or blame others when she makes a mistake. A leader apologizes immediately, accepts blame, and asks how to make things right.
  8. Never, ever do the bare minimum that’s expected. Always give 110%. Leaders are never lazy.

Think I’ve  missed something? What do you think makes a good leader? Comment below!

Not Your Mama’s Sriracha Chili Meatloaf … and Feminism

Sriracha Chili Meatloaf and Buttery Lemon Asparagus

One of the most powerful things we can do as women is  to unleash our mad cooking skills.

Yes, I’m a feminist. Being a feminist does NOT mean that I can’t work cooking magic; it means I can. It just means it’s my choice to share my talents with the world–or at least the 4 people I love most. It means if I don’t want to, I don’t have to. But I want to, so I do.

I have found that meatloaf goes a long way towards smoothing things over after an argument. Did you know about the magical powers of meatloaf? If you didn’t know, it’s perhaps the fault of the cafeteria-style meatloaf experiences you’ve had in the past. This is NOT that!

I also must admit that since the price of beef has skyrocketed to almost $7 a pound (a pound, people!) I have been mixing beef and ground pork (I don’t like ground turkey.). But this time, I used pure beef. Because luxury.

I experimented with the glaze and it was amazing.

Ingredients:

Meatloaf:

5 pounds ground beef

1 jalapeno, chopped

1 can green chilies

1 package Knorr’s Beef Broth

2 tsp. dried onions

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

Seasoning to taste.

Glaze:

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sriracha chili sauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 375.

In a blender, add the vegetables, milk, bread crumbs, broth, egg and spices. Liquefy.

In a big bowl, put the hamburger in. Pour the blender mixture on top. Mix thoroughly.

Place into a large baking pan. Smooth out so it doesn’t look weird.

In another small bowl, mix the glaze. Pour on top of the meat loaf.

Bake for about an hour or until the middle is clear.

A Letter to My Father

Originally posted on Tina Bausinger:

My favorite pic of Dad. My favorite pic of Dad.

Dear Dad,

How are you? I haven’t spoken to you in a while. Well, not where you could hear it anyway. There was a time when I spoke out loud while I walked around your tiny house, in the rooms you painted and decorated, because I felt your presence so strong and tangible I could feel it. I apologized for not selling your house right away like you asked. I couldn’t, you see. I didn’t have time enough to say goodbye. I needed more time.

I went to your grave and talked to you also. That felt empty and not nearly as satisfying. I knew in my heart that you weren’t there anymore. That an empty shell was the only thing that remained. A shiny brass marker with a permanent vase, placed neatly upon a too-green square of grass–that was even less you. But even…

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Tyler Morning Telegraph – A Texan in Shanghai: On self-reliance, humanity and budding democracy

My article about democracy in China.

 

Tyler Morning Telegraph – A Texan in Shanghai: On self-reliance, humanity and budding democracy.

The Top 10 TV Dads EVER!!

Originally posted on Tina Bausinger:

When I was growing up in the 1980s, summer smelled like coconuts, sweet tea and chlorine. I watched a TON of TV, especially on summer break. About 95% of my TV viewing occurred mostly in my swimsuit because I migrated back and forth between the public pool and tv. I would stay at the pool with my best friends from noon to 6:00 p.m. when the pool closed. I even reasoned that it was a waste of time to shower because everybody knows the chemicals in the pool water completely sanitize both the water and everybody in it. Also, I would like to point out that sunscreen was not even invented, and I’m here to tell you that even if it WAS invented nobody would have used it back then because everyone wanted to be TAN. Nothing signifies the beginning of summer quite like a second degree sunburn. Who would…

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An Open Letter to Judy Blume

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Dear Judy,

So many times as a kid I wanted to write you. To me, you were like the “cool” aunt–somebody who understood me much better than I imagined my mother did. I’m not sure why I never did it, so I’m taking a moment to do that now.

Thank you for your books. Thank you for your frank point of view–you seemed to really get me. Perhaps you also had a bit of a hard time during your teens–but then most teens feel they have a hard time.

Thankfully, I never had to hide your books from my parents. They were pretty okay with me reading whatever I wanted. I began with Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I loved that Margaret was much like me–worrying about getting my first period and the time it was taking for my boobs to grow in, hoping and praying my best friend wasn’t first! The horror! Isn’t that funny–what was I so excited about? Turns out, like a lot of things, it was a lot better in theory than in real life. I also learned a bit about Jewish culture (and New Jersey!) from Margaret. Growing up in small town Arkansas, I didn’t know any Jewish kids, and you showed me a glimpse into a girl who was very much like me. You helped open my mind to other viewpoints and lifestyles from my white bread, rural, Southern Baptist life. Nobody would have expected a children’s author to tread into such deep theological territory, but you did.Thank you for that.

Deeny was another favorite. Deeny explained to me a bit about scoliosis, which I was to develop a few years later, although very minor in comparison. My daughter as well has been diagnosed with it, and Deeny’s experience resonated in my mind. Because of your book, I knew a little about this beforehand.

When I became a mom myself, the first of your books I read to them was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. My son especially enjoyed Fudge’s personality (seeing that he was of similar nature, it’s no surprise), and so did my daughters. All my kids LOVED Otherwise Known Sheila The Great (which is still on our bookshelf, and my youngest is 16) the most, I think, and more than once I heard the favorite phrase “Sunny Sheila Tubman!” sang around the house.

I know parents and scholars alike have analyzed your work over and over–I’m far from the first. Thanks to you, my favorite childhood author, I began to write stories of my own, and my love of reading has never lessened.  I’m now an English teacher and author, in part to you and your influence.

For now, I think I’ll go buy your newest book In The Unlikely Event. I can’t wait to read it.

So thank you, Judy, for so many reasons. And here’s a confession for you: sometimes, when I’m alone, I yell “Sunny Sheila Tubman!” … just for fun.

5 Things My Mom Taught Me

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For those of you who know me, you also know this: my relationship with my mom has never been easy. Truthfully, is any mother/daughter relationship really easy? We’re so very different–in almost every way. There has never been a time we’ve  understood one another, but I think we’ve both come to accept that.As a teen, I strove to be her polar opposite. I didn’t think I’d ever want to be a wife, and I sure as heck didn’t want to be a mother. She used to drive me utterly bonkers–she didn’t understand my need for college, to get out of Springdale.  I guess she forgot that when she was 18 the very first thing she did was move to Tulsa, all by herself, just to see if she could. Nobody in our family had ever broken free that way before. In the end, she moved back to be near the family and because she loved Arkansas.

I guess I understand that part of her.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to be more accepting of my mom and who she is, and I think she’s found the same peace with her crazy, unpredictable firstborn. I’ve also learned that even though I may have resisted her advice and may have believed that she had nothing to teach me, she’s been teaching me all along. Maybe I’m the one who has changed and not she. Here are 5 things my mama taught me.

1. The value of hard work. My mother quit high school her freshman year to get a job. It wasn’t because she hated school or learning, she wanted to help her mother feed and clothe her nine siblings. . My mother worked various waitressing jobs and seasonal farm work–picking peaches, berries, etc.–to help my grandma feed those kids. Then, when my sisters and I were growing up, she worked at a chicken plant, standing for 12 hours a day in a freezer. I know she wasn’t thrilled to work there, but she did it.

As a result, I, too am hard working. I don’t know how to be otherwise. Both my parents instilled a diligent work ethic in me that sometimes threatens to cross the line into workaholicism. You know what they say about anything in excess?

2.  Unreasonable stubbornness/perserverance. This trait has both served me well and been my folly. Sometimes I take a bit of time making a decision, but once it’s made I stick to it, TO A FAULT. I will hold on with nothing but my fingernails until whatever I’ve decided has either come to fruition or is torn from under me. Either way, I rarely give in. I rarely give up. This stubborn streak runs in my blood from both my mom and dad.

 Perseverance is different from stubbornness, because perseverance is usually a positive thing. To persevere means to endure even when things get crazy difficult and complicated. It means to hang on and not give up. One way I saw her persevere was with her caretaking of my grandfather. When my grandfather became old and ill, she took care of him. Incidentally, he also was unreasonably stubborn–so much so it took FIVE heart attacks to kill him. Even though his doctors warned him to quit, he chewed tobacco and drank until his dying day–well into his 80s.  I really thought he was never going to die–I thought even death was a bit scared of him. My grandfather was cranky and hard to please–but still my mother checked on him and bought him groceries and took him to the doctor. I didn’t understand why–he was mean to her, often complaining about the brands she chose or how she paid the bills, and he was often hurtful in word and deed. Yet, she never gave up on him.

3. To not waste anything. My mom is the queen of reusing and recycling before it was cool to do so. She rarely throws anything away, which can sometimes be a bad thing, but you could never accuse her of waste.

4. How to make a meal from nothing. When I look back now, I know my family was poor, but Mom saw to it we always had food in our stomachs. I never felt the sting of poverty in my belly. As an adult, I know now that many times we probably had very little and we rarely had an excess of anything, but we were never hungry. Mom never used food stamps, though we probably qualified. We did make use of the free lunch program at school, though. Mom would make the best pinto beans, fried potatoes and homemade biscuits ever. Understand that this was before anybody cared about carbs, ok?

5. My love of writing. My mom often jotted down short stories on notebook paper, and I would sometimes find them. She wrote about her childhood in rural Arkansas, her parents, her family, working in the fields, and meeting my dad and falling in love. I credit much of my love of writing to her.

Anyway, I hate it when people blame their mothers for everything and never give them credit for what good they did. Sure, we will never see eye-to-eye, but that doesn’t really matter. My love for her remains. I will never forget the sacrifice, the hard work, the devotion she demonstrated–these are the things that endure.

Thank you, Mom.

When your kid isn’t getting the awards

Tina Bausinger:

Wonderful, relevant piece by my writer friend and mom extraordinaire Jennifer.

Originally posted on all things messy...:

picture of a small kid winning a trophy, over white

Hello out there!  If you have any friends on Facebook or social media at all (of which I’m more than sure that you do), then I’m positive that you’ve seen their cute little kids with their end of year awards and some very proud parents!  And they should be proud! If you have kids, then you know the blood, sweat and tears (literally sometimes) that it takes to get that kid through each year of school.  Especially when they’re younger, you have to remind them about their homework, fix their lunches – even sit down and DO their homework with them.  As they get older, they SHOULD be able to do more on their own – making their own lunches, remembering to do their homework (alone), and working hard towards those good grades.

I look at the posts my friends make of their kids – from toddler to teen –…

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5 Writing Opportunities for College Students

studying

Are you a college student who wants to be a published writer? What’s stopping you? Here are a couple of places you might not have thought of to break into publishing, and why it’s silly NOT to try.

http://www.freelancewriting.com/articles/ff-writing-opportunities-for-college-students.php

Slap Your Mama Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

enchilada

That’s right.

These enchiladas ARE delicious enough to incite mama slapping throughout the world. I can’t help it. It’s really your choice, you understand. Please understand that if you make these enchiladas, it’s not MY fault you slapped your mama and I take no legal or personal responsibility as you have been warned.

I’ve taught my daughters how to make these and it’s just sad that even living in Texas–the Tex-Mex capital of the whole stinkin’ world–we can’t find them this good at our restaurants. They have slapped me on occasion after trying them and I have nobody to blame but myself.

Ingredients:

10-12 corn tortillas

1 large can green chilis (whole or chopped, it really doesn’t matter)

1 onion, chopped

1 jalapeno (if you don’t like heat, then skip it and add another small can of green chilis)

3-4 cloves garlic

4 chicken breasts (or 8 chicken thighs–you pick your poison)

Chicken broth concentrate (I like Knorr–it looks like this. It makes your chicken more chickeny)

knorr

1 bag sharp cheddar cheese

1 tsp or good sized sprig of cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

*******

You won’t believe how easy this is. I feel like publishing this is going to put me in danger with the Tex-Mex Mafia, but I’ll take the chance for you.

First, put a generous amount of oil in a large skillet. I use an iron skillet, but that’s just because I’m Southern and I was raised that way. After it’s hot, put it the chicken, half the onion, one container of chicken broth and the garlic. Salt and pepper the chicken to taste. Cook until the chicken’s juices are all clear.

While the chicken is cooking, work on the sauce. In a blender or food processor, put in the peppers, the other half of the onion, the cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Blend until it’s a nice even green color. It only takes a minute.

In another skillet, heat some oil and drop in a couple of corn tortillas at a time, cooking just a few seconds on each side. You want to soften the tortillas–don’t cook them so long they are hard and stubborn and don’t want to bend.

Put the tortillas on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the grease.

After the chicken is done, cut it into cubes. In a large rectangular baking pan, put a little sauce in the bottom–just enough to wet it. Pour about half of the remaining sauce into the chicken cubes. Mix thoroughly with a big spoon.

Next, put a few cubes inside a tortilla and roll it like a cigar. I’ve never rolled a cigar, but I don’t judge those who do. Repeat until your pan is full.

Pour the remainder of the sauce over the tortillas. Next, completely cover the enchiladas with the bag of cheese. USE ALL OF IT. If you have another bag, use it too. You’re not driving, are you?

Next, cover your enchilada babies with a sheet of tin foil. Be careful to loosely wrap it or the cheese might stick. That would make me sad for you.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly. I’ve topped these with a bit of the chopped cilantro just to be more Tex-Mexy.

If you make these, please let me know! Send a picture and if it’s better than mine, I’ll use it here and give you credit. :)