Of flower girls and comments

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The fashion in weddings these days is to have a ring bearer and flower girl come down the aisle ahead of the bride. The flower girl throws petals along the way that the bride will walk. The ring bearer brings the rings on a pillow.

All weddings have mix-ups, some more serious than others. At my daughter Debbie’s wedding, the ring bearer, trained to clean up messes at home, came down the aisle picking up the petals strewn by the flower girl.

At the wedding we attended last weekend, everything seemed to go well. The cute little flower girl spread her petals and seemed to bubble over with joy. The ring bearer bore the ring with dignity.

When flower girl went to sit with her father, he said, “You were a little fast coming down the aisle.” All of the bubbly went out of her. For the rest of the ceremony she sat quietly on her daddy’s lap, looking at her feet as she kicked them back and forth.

Was she really “a little fast?” Beats me. What I’m sure of, though, is that her father’s remark will affect how that little girl thinks about being a flower girl if she has another opportunity.

She may tell her father that she “just doesn’t want to” or “just doesn’t like it.” She’ll probably never tell her dad that the reason is his comment that day when she went from bubbly and happy to somber. And he’ll probably never ask.

Over the decades I’ve been in business, I’ve watched casual comments become culture. No one intends to do it. The boss or the parent doesn’t want to dampen enthusiasm. The person criticized may not even remember the comment. But it takes its toll.

If you’re a boss or a parent remember that your team members and your children pay attention to everything you say and do. It may not be fair and it may not be logical, but it is what happens.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Everything you say and do matters. So pay attention. Choose your words and actions carefully. And follow up if it seems that the wrong message is getting out.

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