…it would be a Kindness Movement. As parents we teach our children to be kind to each other from the time they can walk and talk. As they grow up I think we have to remember to keep reminding them in different ways at different ages. You may never know how much good you are doing for someone with a little kindness, even a smile may brighten someone’s day or maybe helping them in some way. In my book, Where Did Nicky Go?, Danny’s parents listen to him, support him, guide him, but ultimately let him make the final decision about whether to help his friend or not. Being kind is one of several underlying messages in my book. Also, taking responsibility for one’s actions is another one.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing author Lucy Geddes.
Lucy Geddes is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, and children’s author. She was fortunate to have a career as a teacher for 33 years doing what she loved to do, teach children. And now she is enjoying writing children’s books, which was something she also wanted to do, continuing to bring children and stories together.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
As far as becoming a teacher, I had always wanted to be a teacher since I entered Kindergarten. As far as a writer, I have always enjoyed writing and took writing courses over the years but didn’t start writing children’s stories to be published until about a year and a half ago. I actually think it was better to live life and get inspiration from my students, children, and grandchildren before writing and publishing children’s books.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
My writing career hasn’t been that long, but one story that I love to tell is related to a children’s book that I am currently publishing. It’s about a grandmother who always says no. When I first read it to my grandchildren, who are usually one of my first listeners as they are very honest, blunt, and will tell me exactly what they think of it, my oldest grandchild told me, “Grammy, you say no a lot.” I said, “Really?! Am I that bad of a grandmother?” To which he replied, “Oh, no, I didn’t say that. When you do say no you have a good reason why you’re saying no.”
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
First of all you have to love what you do, and that will make a world of difference. But even then I think you have to make sure that you have a balance between your career and other things you enjoy doing. You need time each day and hopefully a little more time each week for yourself and to be with others whether it’s a sport you enjoy, watching a movie, reading a book, listening to music, etc.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
During these difficult times I think one of the most important things we have to do is to be patient with one another. In my children’s book, Where Did Nicky Go?, Danny’s Mom is very patient with him as she knows he’s going through a very difficult & confusing time for a little boy who has just lost his beloved dog. She also is very supportive and listens to him as he works things out. I tried to do these things in my classroom when I taught. I always appreciated it when a parent would make me aware of a death in the family or some other difficult time that their child was going through. I tried to make their day less stressful. We should be supportive and help others if we can. And, last but not least, I think we should try not to judge others as we never know what they are going through. I’ve seen so much good come from people during this pandemic and it warms my heart.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I had never really thought about this, but once I did, I think it would be Little Women. I was inspired by the resilience and strength of these women. I also realized that I was fortunate to have these types of women in my life, whether it was my mother, grandmothers, or an aunt who had all gone through so many trials and tribulations in their lives.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
First of all, I would like to issue a disclaimer, as I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or therapist, but I can tell you what works for me and what may also work for others. I will do seven as I think the first one is a given if you want to stay healthy and I just thought of 6 more.
- Wear a mask, wash your hands with soap and water frequently, and social distance.
- Keep busy, especially doing things you enjoy doing. Ex. Going for walks, swimming, biking, kayaking, reading, sewing/crafts, etc.
- Enjoy nature — Go for a walk or a hike, try gardening, sit outside and read a book, etc.
- Prayer, meditation, yoga, etc. — I get a lot of peace and inspiration from prayer. Maybe this or the others mentioned may help others.
- Reach out to other people — Call or Facetime a friend or visit a friend while social distancing. Call a neighbor to check on them, especially if they live alone. Make a meal or bake a cake for someone.
- Exercise and eat well — Keeping busy helps me not to overeat. Try some different recipes. Exercise doing the things you love to do. There are videos for many different ways to exercise, including dance. I find music puts me in a happy mood! ☺
- Don’t expect everything to be perfect in life — I am the perfect example of wanting everything to be the best that it can be. However, I’m learning to be more patient and flexible.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Reach out to them, contact them. Just being a good listener can be a tremendous help as they talk to you and work through their anxiety.
- If they can tell you what is causing the anxiety you might be able to give them suggestions as to how to eliminate or reduce it. Ex. If they don’t feel comfortable going shopping, you can suggest they do it online, or you may be able to do it for them.
- Ask if there is any task that you can do for them that would take some pressure off of them.
- Follow-up with them periodically so they will know you care and support them.
- Suggest that they see a therapist who specializes in this field.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
If someone came to me and needed some guidance I would certainly do some research to help them find the resources they needed and would recommend for others to do the same as there are so many resources available online these days
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
This is an old one, however, it’s probably more needed today than it ever was. “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you.” I was brought up with this being used frequently. If this was instilled in our young children I think it might help to have less bullying and make for a happier world.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think it would be a Kindness Movement. As parents we teach our children to be kind to each other from the time they can walk and talk. As they grow up I think we have to remember to keep reminding them in different ways at different ages. You may never know how much good you are doing for someone with a little kindness, even a smile may brighten someone’s day or maybe helping them in some way. In my book, Where Did Nicky Go?, Danny’s parents listen to him, support him, guide him, but ultimately let him make the final decision about whether to help his friend or not. Being kind is one of several underlying messages in my book. Also, taking responsibility for one’s actions is another one.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
They can reach me on Facebook and Instagram at “Lucy Geddes Children’s Author.”
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you so much for this opportunity! ☺