"I am not here to wipe butts"

“I am not here to wipe butts.”
Over the years, camp kids will inevitably hear the “I don’t wipe butts” talk.
Today wasn’t about literal butt wiping.
It was a lesson in the importance of pausing and recognizing if the question they are about to ask is one that they can solve on their own, or with the help of a teammate.
For someone who writes and talks about kindness and vulnerability, it might seem a bit off brand to know that I didn’t help every time a kid asked for assistance today in the kitchen.
Kindness and niceness aren’t the same thing.
Compassion and coddling aren’t the same thing.
Kids are used to being told what to, how to, and when to do just about everything.They don’t want to mess up and need me to double check everything.
My job is to set them up for opportunities to build confidence, to not always give the answer/help when I know they can figure it out.
Then there are kids whose confidence doesn’t match their competence.
When they fail, I don’t swoop in and fix it, nor do I shame them. What they learn is how to take accountability and move into action to remedy their mistake.
And when the kids did solve their own problems, answered their own questions, their smiles grew and posture changed in ways they never would had I just given them the answer.
What they hear from me is “I have complete confidence in your ability to figure this out.”
And when I see a kid doubting their ability- I remind them of what they know and the tools in front of them. Confidence is learned through action, through failure and success.
I answered around 876 of the 2,378 questions asked today- which lead me to the annual “I don’t wipe butts” talk.
I explained that I was asked to wipe a lot of butts today. And that I had complete confidence in their ability to wipe their own. We talked about mindfulness, the importance of them learning vs me telling and how to trust oneself to know the right thing to do and if they mess up, that is okay.
I work with leaders who spend their days wiping butts. And because of that, never get to the work they need to and their employees never get to feel the satisfaction of having accomplished something on their own.
You know what your child or your employee is capable of solving/answering on their own.
Empower them to discover that themselves.

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About Becky

Becky Schmooke (pronounced “Smoke”) is a Mindful Leadership Consultant and Speaker, focused on providing action based mindfulness and leadership training to organizations and businesses who are ready to do things differently.

Becky’s Mindful Kitchen, is located outside of Iowa City, and provides truly unique team building and leadership retreats,  strategic planning workshops, private parties and classes and weekly summer camps for kids. The commercial teaching kitchen, treehouse, archery range, bush craft skills, first aid training, wood fired pizza oven, chickens, baby goats and timber adventure playground provides endless opportunities for hands on activities.


As a mom to three girls, 60 chickens, 4 goats, 2 dogs and a fire fighter’s wife- life is never boring and provides Becky with endless stories which she uses to illustrate her approach to mindfulness in daily posts on social media.  

In all that she does, Becky has one goal, to build confidence in others to take action to live their best life, not just pass time.  

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