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Jun-02-2011 21:06printcomments

An Ode to the 'Rich of Heart'... and Why Girls Love Feedback

Sometimes even a brief response can be worth a thousand words...

Rich of heart
Image courtesy: PhotoBucket

(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) - I’m not sure where or when it started, but girls love feedback. Maybe it’s one of those “what came first the chicken or the egg” type questions … but in any event most females really like to “share” and they especially like a “response” to that sharing.

Chris Rock did a show about this general phenomenon. The G-rated version goes something like this: “Everyone is always appreciating momma. Kids … tell your momma how good that dinner was … Tell her how pretty she looks … Tell her how nice she smells … Tell her how lucky you are to be related to her … Tell her how glad you are she knows how to buy a loaf of bread … Tell her how thankful you are that she woke up this morning … Tell her how glad you are about ‘anything you can think of’ … etc …”

What Chris was really trying to say is that “no one appreciates the dad,” but nonetheless, he clearly and concisely made the point that humans have found lots of ways to give lots of verbal feedback to the females. And for some mysterious reason this feedback seems to work wonders.

As a female, I fall into the “chief lover of feedback” category. You might even be able to call me a “feedback junkie” because I actually crave feedback. Good, bad or ugly, I love it all: just don’t give me lukewarm indifference, aka silence.

As it turns out, this feedback addiction is “so sad” for me because I have quickly learned that I have news for myself. The news being: writing does not offer a proportionate amount of “feedback” relative to the total volume of “bearing-your-soul-output.”

At times I wonder if I have wandered into the wrong profession because I can literally “pour my heart out” in a story or blog only to be met with real and virtual, cyber-space silence. In these “no response” cases, the silence is not necessarily golden, but it does provide a great opportunity to truly appreciate the responses that do trickle in.

We’re not “in this” for the feedback per se, but we do treasure and save “all feedback” because it sure is nice know when what you’re doing is making a tangible difference in someone else’s life. Feedback’s not our end goal, but positive feedback thrills us because we’re “in this” for “difference making!”

We’re “in this” to connect with the good and share the wonderful stories of people that we meet or know because we believe this good can make a real difference. And so today, it is our privilege and honor to share two feedback stories. We hope you will enjoy them both as much as we have.

The first response comes from Major Jack Mullinax, an active duty soldier stationed in Iraq. Jack has been away from his family on various assignments for years and hopes to return home in the late fall. When I thanked this Chief of Plans Major for his courage and bravery, Major Mullinax earnestly protested, saying “Ms. McCain … thank you for your kind remarks, but ‘bravery’ and ‘courage"’ should not be used to describe my level of involvement. Those words should be reserved for the Soldiers that go out looking for trouble. As you can see from my signature block, I am a planner--that hardly requires courage and bravery! Aside from the random indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars), the heat is the biggest threat I face day-to-day.” (Emphasis mine because I find that statement extraordinary.)

Somewhat amazed by these remarks, I kindly and politely insisted to Major Mullinax that “rocket and mortar attacks” are not normal and that being subjected to them in any fashion is, in fact, brave. And then, I thanked him again for his courage and bravery: the courage and sacrifice that keeps us and our homeland safe and free from “rocket and mortar attacks.”

Major Mullinax’s response to our recent Memorial Day story is as follows: 

    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED 
    Caveats: NONE

    Ms. McCain,

Major Jack Mullinax, an active duty soldier stationed in Iraq

    I agree that we have lost sight of the meaning of the various holidays.

    It is especially jarring to hear “Happy Memorial Day” when we should be honoring our war dead. On the other hand, many times I hear a person use Memorial Day to honor all veterans, which although greatly appreciated, obviously misses the point and takes away the significance of the holiday in November (which, thankfully, has not been moved to a Monday).

    Again, as I sit here in the lovely country of Iraq, I wanted to thank you for your column.

    I’ll leave you with a poem with which I am sure you are familiar and which is certainly appropriate for a Memorial Day reflection:

    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
    Between the crosses, row on row, 
    That mark our place; and in the sky 
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
    Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
     
    We are the Dead. Short days ago 
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie, 
    In Flanders fields. 
     
    Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
    To you from failing hands we throw 
    The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
    If ye break faith with us who die 
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
    In Flanders fields.

    v/r

    JACK E. MULLINAX II

    Major, Aviation

    Chief of Plans 

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The second story comes from Tim King in response to our piece, “The Decoration Day … Difference Maker.”  Tim is a war correspondent and the founder and News Editor of Salem-News.com.   Tim is devoted to covering U.S. engagements and conflicts overseas, and he has spent months as an embedded photojournalist/reporter covering operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Tim’s feedback to our Memorial Day story is as a follows:  

    Coco, 
     

    Tim King from Salem-News.com in Iraq


    Your uplifting interesting story allows me to breathe some clean air and is a nice break from reporting about death and destruction which seems to take almost all of my time these days, thanks for the bright light and well received dose of southern hospitality and honor. 

    I was just reading about Decoration Day a couple of days ago and find it very interesting.  Did I tell you that (due to the fact that my dad was in his mid 40's when I was born, and so was his, etc.) my great grandfather was a major in the Confederacy? 

    More interesting specifically, is that he was from Arkansas but fought in a Tennessee unit.  His name was James Stanhope King and he was a minister.  People who knew him said he was never a rich man but always rich of heart, and I love that.  (Emphasis mine because I love that too!) 
     
     
    Thanks so much!  
    Tim   
     

A special thanks to Major Mullinax and Tim King for “the feedback” … and may we all live to be brave, courageous and always rich of heart! 

Join the conversation & find extra info about today’s Good Stuff article on the BLOG at www.COCOMCCAIN.com.  Share “your story” with me & help me “shine a light” on the good things you see every day at COCO@COCOMCCAIN.com. I hope to hear from you soon — but between now and then may you LIVE…GIVE…and…GROW with all the good in life!   

_________________________________

Help me “shine a light” on the good things you see every day! Share “your story” with me at COCOMCCAIN.COM. I hope to hear from you soon — but between now and then may you LIVE…GIVE…and…GROW with all the good in life!

CoCo McCain grew up in central Florida and attended the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. After graduating in 1995, she moved onto the Cumberland School of Law in 1998. In addition to her role as an attorney and writer, CoCo works with a translator so that her articles can also be enjoyed by a Spanish speaking audience.<

_________________________________

CoCo presently resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband and a roost of beautiful children. She says she is your ordinary girl-next-door … but on that one November day in 2009, CoCo was given an extraordinary dream: "A dream to shine a light on all the good things that happen every single day! Everyday acts of love, bravery and generosity. Everyday acts of determination, kindness and triumph in the face of tragedy. The simple things that make life so rich and rewarding! The zest and marrow of life."

She says from the very beginning, the vision for her column The Good Stuff has been crystal clear: shine a bright light on the good in life because sharing the good has the power to touch lives around the world.

You can write to CoCo McCain at this address: TheGoodStuffDesk@cocomccain.com




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gp June 3, 2011 3:07 pm (Pacific time)

Hey you guys, Coco's stuff would be great to see in Spanish too, I would appreciate that very much.


Colli June 3, 2011 2:08 am (Pacific time)

Coco: Regardless of whether you receive feedback or not, you should know that your articles are uplifting and offer a nice break from the crushing weight of bad news we are burdened with daily. Thank you for being you. Colli

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