The Joyce Rafkin Special

 

To kick off Mother's Day weekend - A post in honor of my mom, Joyce Rafkin!

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful people out there!

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Have you ever tried to change your “unchangeable” plane ticket and the agent says “Sure, let me see what we can do for you?” When she returns, not only does she change your ticket, but she offers an upgrade? How about when you go to pay the handyman for repairs done on your home, he tells you “don’t worry about it, it was such a small project, I can’t charge you”? Or, you know that restaurant that has an hour wait? All of the sudden the host says I can get you in now and he sends over appetizers on the house - just because.

Chances are if any one of the above (or similar) situations has happened to you, it is not a typical occurrence but rather the anomaly. For my mom, these unexpected good fortunes are the rule, not the exception...and they happen ALL the time!

Is she just lucky?

I would say no. She (unknowingly) worked to create each and every one of her, seemingly lucky, good fortunes.

So how’s she do it?

I would argue her experiences are a result of who she authentically is and what she brings to every interaction – we call it “The Joyce Rafkin Special”. In short, The Joyce Rafkin Special refers to all the special treatment my mom receives by just being her.

Just being a kind human. Just being a person who cares deeply about other people. Just being the kind of person who takes time to ask someone about their day and their life as opposed to being consumed with self and personal needs. Just being sincere and likeable.

We often joke about the “45-minute special,” the conversations that she has as she bumps into the various people who have created her community over the last several decades. From the store clerks, to her UPS driver to the bank teller and the other friends she has made throughout life.

It used to drive us crazy as kids, particularly when we were sold on “just quickly running an errand in town” and 3 hours later we would be done with our “quick” errand. However, as an adult in our current fast moving-crazy-busy-technology- addicted-cell-phone-dependent world, I now realize the gift of the 45-minute special, and how we all so desperately need that connection with one another.

That old fashioned idle chit chat that we used to have when we “had time” (or more accurately made time for another human and when we weren’t walking down the street looking at our phone) is what creates the thread that weaves a community into so much more than random strangers interacting. These same people are the one’s who fill my mom’s holiday picture wall with their growing smiling families. They are the people who she has touched, just by asking about their families, their lives, and their interests. It’s the people who have taken the time to get to know her and check-in to make sure she is well and thriving.

So what’s The Joyce Rafkin Special have to do with the “45 minute special”?

Everything.

The Joyce Rafkin Special is the unintentional result of all the “45-minute specials” - all her kind human interactions that have accumulated throughout life.

By just asking someone how she is doing.

By just being present in the moment.

By taking the time to check-in with someone and hear about his life.

By letting a person know she is seen, heard and matters.

Does she connect with these people because she wants something in return? Absolutely not – that is precisely what draws others to her and truly makes her so special.

In honor of my mom, Joyce Rafkin, I challenge each and every one of us to make time for regular 45-minute specials. Just imagine a world where we all slowed down and took the time to get to know one another! In a matter of minutes we could turn ordinary moments into extraordinary relationships.