THE INSPIRING ONES

Everyday Is A Field Trip is a movement to enjoy more of your life everyday.

Taking field trips on a daily basis creates endless memories, and many smiles while hopefully creating friendships that can help you laugh, smile, love and potentially provide inspiration to you and those you love.

I think of the inspiring people in my life and how they have provided countless field trips for me and others.

Unless you are a hermit, you will stumble onto inspiring people. I have not had to go far to be inspired.

I have been inspired inside my four walls both as a kid and at home today. I think this is easy when you are constantly around great women.

My mom is the leader of our clan: the Matriarch and treated as royalty within our extended families (brother and three sisters). She earned it.

When you think of leadership. You think of someone who can inspire you to achieve more than you believed was within your grasp.

My mom, like so many women born in the Silent Generation, married young and had five children in a very short amount of time. Her career aspirations were put on hold to raise a family, only to be handed a tough financial deal from my dad. I watched her put her own goals and, quite frankly, her own happiness on the back burner to do whatever she could to provide for her family.

While we may not have had a lot of money, we did have a lot of fun field trips. My mom needed to find field trips that did not cost money. One of our regular spots was going to Cummings Beach at Shippan. But, we would go after the park closed (no admission). We would pose for pictures while sitting on the lifeguard chair, run in the sand and just let it loose. Another regular field trip was a visit to our grandparent’s house in Norwalk. Now you may say that is not a field trip, but a regular portion of each visit would include playing in the cemetery behind the house. Do you have any idea how impactful playing baseball in a cemetery can be? Reading those gravestones everytime a ball got away was educational, and more importantly, mom insisted that we were respectful near any gravesite. History, sports, and respect. A home run field trip.

When I think of how my Mom turned our family unit into a fantastic caring bunch: taking teenagers and getting them to buy into her vision and not only think about themselves, I smile. In fact, I have been smiling ever since I left the roost and began to realize what a profound effect my mom had on me and my siblings. We became part of a team at a young age, we all shared in the responsibilities of getting by and ultimately achieving a more complete life.

I was born lucky with three sisters to teach me along the way, I cannot begin to tell you how often being raised by one woman and three girls has had on me. I never felt that men were from Mars and women were from Venus (or however that went), I always connected. I know this was not a birthright, I was lucky. My sisters and I created our own field trips every day, the GI Joe figures and the Barbies were integrated from Day 1.

Okay, so I got lucky again meeting Helen.

Can I say ‘Love at first sight’? Yes. But just as important is that I was inspired at the first conversation, and more so seeing her in action as we dated. There was no doubt that this young woman was inspiring me in a direction that was unfamiliar territory.

For Helen, it did not matter who you were- a crying five year old kid, a lonely old man, a celebrity or the guy working the jack hammer- she treated you with kindness, respect and care.

Field trips with Helen were of course about caring. Helen’s cousins all seemed to be in music, so some of our field trips were based around supporting her loved ones (of course this is what a nice person does), we saw many shows at small venues in and around New York City. It did not matter if we liked the music, we were there to support the family artist and the rest of the family in cheering that person on and helping them follow their dream.

Helen is still inspiring me: to love more, to care more and to always do the right thing.

We meet thousands of people during the course of our lifetime. While a great athlete may inspire you to work harder, or a celebrity may inspire your dreams, it can be everyday people who give us that little nudge into finding our way to leading a great and fulfilling life.

My career has provided me with plenty of opportunities to learn, grow and live a fulfilling life. In my early twenties, in between radio gigs, I took a job at the Marriott Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut working at the front desk. I needed the money, but I really did not want to be there. After a few weeks, the front desk manager, a young woman, requested a meeting with me in her tiny office behind the front desk. During this meeting she said something to me that I will never forget. “Jay, I know you have different aspirations with your career, and wherever that career may take you, be the best at whatever you are doing, whether it is a garbage man, a front desk employee or something else. Simply be the best you can be at whatever it is that you are doing, do not settle for less”.

Her statement hit me square in the forehead. Here I was at the front end of someone’s field trip and I was not being the person that they needed me to be. I went back to the front desk and put more energy into each greeting with our guests. And while my chosen career got back on track and I did not stay at the hotel for more than a month, this young woman has inspired me for a lifetime. I often wonder who else she inspired?

My career continued to prosper under strong inspiring female leaders Carolyn, and then Pamela. Their confident leadership styles without the macho bravado that comes with so many leaders was just what the doctor ordered. In both cases, they expanded the field trip opportunities within the company for their employees. Of course, this created a better work environment and led to great success for all.

My life continues to get richer as I am inspired by great women.

Nicole is a hiking friend of mine, who had to overcome her fear of heights just to go on these awesome field trips. On every one of our field trips on the Terrifying 25 trails, I had the opportunity to be humbled. I realized that while I was happy to scale the trails and summits, I gave less to accomplish the feat than Nicole did. I knew if Nicole was pushing forward with what she had to overcome, I could push through my knee pain, sore legs or other ailments.

I am amazed at young people and how they have to overcome massive communities of judgement (i.e. school), and worse, the judgement that comes through social media. My daughter Michaela had one such bullying episode that she handled with such strength it just leveled me, I was so proud and thought wow, hopefully her actions would inspire others in her school not to fall prey to the bullies of the world. How do we ensure those who are being bullied to take field trips that allow them to become confident and caring people who can see through bullies and their actions?

Taking care of someone is not always an easy thing for people. I have a Masters Degree in this just by watching Helen all of these years. My daughter Caitlin is a Field Trip Master, she will jump at a chance to go anywhere, but she really inspired me when I saw her in the car with her fiance Bryan who had just been tested for Covid-19 (She does everything she can to avoid germs). She put her fear of Covid behind her to care for Bryan. She was committing to a lifetime of Field Trips with someone special.

Who is inspiring you to take field trips everyday, to enjoy your life to the fullest? Even more importantly, who are you inspiring and inviting on a field trip today?

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EVERY DAY IS A FIELD TRIP

2 Comments

  1. Lisa on May 7, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    If this is a taste of what I will read in the book, I can’t wait for it to arrive!

    • EVERY DAY IS A FIELD TRIP on May 18, 2021 at 3:28 pm

      Thank You Lisa, the women of my life have shaped me and the book, it was an appropriate first blog. Thanks for reading!

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