Show Up and the Rest Will Come

Jane - Wakefield, Rhode Island
Entered on October 20, 2011

Throughout grade school and high school I really did not have a choice on whether or not I attended class. In my district, if you did not show up for school the detention officer would track you down and report you to both the town juvenile delinquency department as well as make a phone call to your parents (the later resulting in a worse fate than the former). So you simply showed up for school every day and if you did, you could be guaranteed a diploma.

When I moved onto college, no one was watching whether or not I showed up at a lecture hall filled with 250 students. I had to decide if I could learn the material on my own or if I would benefit from hearing the experienced teachings of the professor. I found that if I just showed up and listened to the lectures that the information penetrated my brain so I did not have to study as hard. Over time, my face became a familiar one to the professor amidst the sea of 250 other students (a handy political chip that could be saved for future use). So during my college years, I showed up to class, invested minimal independent study time and graduated with a very healthy GPA – albeit quite a few chips had been cashed along the way.

After college, I entered the work force. I very quickly learned that those who were constantly calling in sick or coming in late and leaving early were not viewed as positively as those that were dependable and showed up according to their schedule. I took that philosophy one step further and I decided it would even be more beneficial to show up early. Thirty-five years later I have achieved multiple career advances and am now an Executive at a prominent institution – I still show-up early (and stay late) on a daily basis.

The philosophy can be applied to my marriage as well. Early on in our marriage my husband and I showed-up for each other. We supported each other and were ready to be there if anything was needed. I was the stronger personality and found it comfortable to naturally take control of many of life’s responsibilities. Through the years, he grew accustomed to being a bystander in our relationship as I showed him up in pretty much all aspects of life. In turn, he stopped showing up for me. We are now going through a divorce as we simply stopped showing-up for each other.

When my kids were younger, their sports teams further emphasized the philosophy of showing up. They earned participation awards for simply showing up and being part of a team. Some critics say this approach is diluting the competitive nature of striving to be the best that you can be and to aspire to be #1. I can remember so many stories of a number one athlete who doesn’t show-up for training camp because ‘fill in the blank’…sometimes the result is that the athlete doesn’t have a contract for the rest of the year. I believe that youth sports is in fact promoting one on the most fundamental philosophies of life by giving out those participation awards!

As a parent, I always want to support my children. I show-up for them. I am at their games and events, I help them with their homework, I show-up at family gatherings, community events and religious services (even when it pains me to do so). All so that my children gain sense of how important it is to be a part of something – simply by showing up. In the circle of life, I believe they willl return the favor by showing up for me as I age and revert back to a dependent state. Social service agencies have countless examples of the affects of absentee parents on the welfare and long range outlook for a child’s future and their family’s…the negative cycle is hard to break generation after generation…..all because no one shows-up for them.

In this age of technology, showing up is even easier, mobility devices, texting, social networking, and video chatting…. all these remove the physical boundaries once conveniently in my way. So there really are no longer any excuses other than personal choice to show-up or not to show-up. I choose to show-up as I believe if you show up, the rest will come.