Friday, October 22, 2010

On Relationships, Honesty, and Trust

Another thought on the note of family appreciation, but also about relationships. I have continued to reflect on what I have to offer in the world of social media. The next step in my journey is to begin contributing and teaching others. Despite my background as a Professor, I haven’t been considering my potential to educate other people. I’ve been wanting to help others, but sometimes it’s seemed like the best I can do is just stay out of the way.

I started thinking about what I have to teach, and one thing that is coming to mind is that these social media platforms are all about relationships. I have good relationships. I have been married for coming on 9 years. I’m still close to some of my childhood friends. I have good connections to people at work. It’s not that I’m always outgoing or extroverted. I have a tendency to let things drift, and I can be quite reserved. But I understand the value of trust in relationships.

This leads me to an example. About a week ago, I had a video project that I wanted to do and in my typical determined way, I jumped in feet first. The first day on the project, I waited until my children were in bed, set up the camera as best I could, and started shooting. I don’t know much about film, but I was committed to follow through on this project and I knew that the sooner finished it the sooner it could be out communicating to others. I just focused on getting there. That night I struggled for several hours to figure out how to connect the camera to my computer, to update the software, understand the help guide. Mind you, this was after a full day’s work at my regular job, and my job as a mom, and I was darn tired. Night #1, and I fail to solve the dilemma of how to get the videos from tape to digital. Finally at 1AM my two year old daughter woke up, and I took her back to bed and gave up for the night.

Night #2 was a Friday night.  The kids were happy to spend night at Grandma’s house – 1st time Harmony has ever done so. (They live 1 mile away- I love being near family!) So I had a very most unexpectedly kid-free evening. This made me 110% determined to finish the video clips, as I could have equipment set up and no little ones to interfere. With my husband’s assistance, I solved the mystery of how to download the tape to the computer. He had done this before, so it helped that he knew where to look. I downloaded the clips, found my thumb drive, transferred them to the computer that had Windows Movie Maker, (ah software incompatibility issues) and with a quick tutorial from Matt, my husband, I was editing away.

About an hour later I had my first edited clip to show for all the work. I asked Matt to review the clip. He took a seat at the computer and hit “play.” Now, I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I was actually quite proud of this clip. I had worked very hard on it and was feeling pleased with myself. So what happened next quite literally burst my bubble.

Matt said, “Honey, this video clip sucks. You need to do it over again.”

Needless to say, this wasn’t what I wanted to hear. For a second I felt like saying something impolite. I was hurt and angry. But, I have been with my husband for over 10 years now. I knew that he always tells the absolute truth. I knew that he studied film in college. I knew that he wanted me to succeed.

I also knew that if I asked him for help, he would tell me how to do it over and do it right. So I said, “Help me. Tell me what I need to fix.” And he did. My framing was off. My lighting was wrong. I hadn’t used a script. I had said “um” too often. The cuts were awkward.

15 minutes later, Matt had the camera framed properly for me, had adjusted the lighting, and made a few suggestions for the script. He went to bed. I stayed up until three in the morning re-shooting and editing my clips. They still weren’t exactly professional quality, but they outmatched my original by a factor of about 3:1.

My husband is not always nice, but he is always honest, and he is often right. I trust him to tell me when I’m doing something poorly. It’s cliché, but a good marriage is in part about knowing each other’s strengths and leaning on them. So, I guess I might have something to say about relationships. Maybe something to teach, too.

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