One day my 4 year old neice asked her mom, “Is Uncle Randy married?”
My sister-in-law told her daughter, “Uncle Randy has always been single, he doesn’t have a wife” My niece looked confused as she formed her thoughts and asked, “Then, who does all of his work?”
For the last 14 years my Executive Assistant has been Ruthe. On March 13 of this year that came to an end. The allure of her ranch, 4 horses, 6 dogs and, most important of all, 2 grandsons, won out over me and she retired from the music ministry and from being my assistant.
It was as very sad day for me.
Ruthe is absolutely amazing.
For 14 years. . . .
She has been the best face and voice of the student music ministry—not me!
“Ruthe, can you just take messages so I can work?” (now, THAT’S me)
She has always anticipated what needed to be done and started working on it before I even remembered that it was time to do that—not me!
“Ruthe, you mean you already have that mail out ready to go?” (the one I haven’t asked for yet!)
She managed expectations of parents, students, other music staff members and even her boss—how she did that I have no idea!
“Ruthe, if she calls one more time to try to get me to give in. . . “
She did the stuff that none of us really want to do, but someone has to do it—not me!
“Ruthe, can you ____________________ (fill in the blank with any number of menial, uncreative tasks)
She travelled with us on choir tours to make sure that no detail was missed.
“Ruthe, will you make sure that the airline has the correct spelling of every name and has their passport number?” “And don’t forget that those three girls want to sit together. . . . “
She learned calendaring program number 1, and number 2, and number 3 and can probably tell you which number that the church is currently on—not me!
Ruthe does calendaring.
She sensed calamity before it ever happened and worked to avert the disaster.
“Randy, don’t you think that I should be at the parent’s meetings tonight to answer any questions that they have?” (by the way, the answer to that question is “YES!”—every time!)
This list could go on and on.
So, what is my point. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah you had a great assistant. Bully for you!
Here is the point. We can’t do this by ourselves.
The tremendously hard work of planning the choir year, evaluating music, working on “opening night”, building relationships, communicating with students and their parents, developing a conducting plan and strategy for each piece, dealing with discipline, electing officers, enlisting sponsors, planning the choir tour. . . . . . . you can’t do it, by yourself!
And we all know the above is only a PARTIAL list.
Early on, I discovered the incredible talents that this lady had and I worked hard at finding ways to unleash the power of those gifts and talents all over the music ministry.
Perhaps there is someone who helps you make the magic happen each week. Do they know how much you appreciate all that they do? Make sure that they DO!
What is their favorite flower? Have them on their desk! Or what is their favorite cake or cookie and make it for them, or get the best bakery in town to make it for you. (this was Ruthe’s love language—she liked for me to bring her homemade food! So I did!)
There are a lot of ways to make someone feel appreciated.
Make sure the person knows how valuable they are to you and how much you value their opinion.
On more than one occasion Ruthe would have an insight into exactly what we needed to be doing and she knew that I wanted to know any of her insights.
“Ruthe, talk to me! How do we fix this?”
Value their creativity and collaboration; include them in brainstorming sessions. Let your assistant know that you couldn’t do it without them. (you can’t)
So. . . to Ruthe, thanks for 14 of the best years! I will never forget you and most importantly there are hundreds and hundreds of kids, parents and sponsors who will never forget YOU!
Watch this space for a future blog on how to get the right person for your assistant—coming later this spring.
March 18, 2015