• Dr. Cathie Dorsch

Groundhog Year

If you are like me, you may catch today’s news tomorrow or by the weekend. So don’t feel badly if you read about Groundhog’s Day on any other day of the month or quarter for that matter…just come equipped with a basic understanding of Bill Murray’s movie Groundhog Day to appreciate the message.


For many, it has been a season of Groundhog Days, more like Groundhog Year...or Two. In a recent leadership training session, I taught on – you guessed it – Groundhog’s Day, so we came up with some clever ways to present a review day. Reviewing, whether in a classroom, children’s church, coaching session or team huddle, is a powerful way to see what’s learned. Who learned what, what take aways were actually kept? So after a little research on what groundhogs like to eat, I bought crunchy treats with peanut butter and we were off to the races to see if Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow. Sidebar: I really wanted to know who did the research on the dietary preferences of a groundhog, and who started the breakfast routines that now mark the occasion. Who learned, and how, that they like treats with peanut butter. But I digress.


I was pleased with how much our leader-trainees remembered! For chocolate and peanut butter, you can whip up a lot of memories and answers. They filled in the blanks famously, like ‘Little things make ---” – “Big Things Happen!” and more. They quickly identified Team Spirit Killers,How to Make a Praise Sandwich, and gave great answers on examples of humility words and deeds verses pride in action. Even in an industry that had to climb out of several holes wave after crashing virus wave, our trainees and leaders were still standing.


When life feels like not only a series of groundhog days but weeks or months, remember the cycle can be broken. To keep going, you have to stay encouraged. Ask yourself, What is the root word of encouragement? Yes. (in my best Cowardly Lion voice) Courage! I’m mixing movie metaphors, but you’re following. It takes courage to be positive. It takes courage to remain optimistic. It takes strength to hold onto hope and remain stirred, passionate, and encouraged. How do you get past the days and situations that feel like life is on rinse and repeat cycle, or repeat repeat repeat cycle? It becomes an unexpected output of courage and strength to get to the other side. So…


· When you wake up to another Groundhog Day, you need something fresh ~ Refresh ~ if even briefly, get a change of scenery, some fresh air, rearranged the desk... little things combined can help hit the reset.

· You need a buddy. Break out the Buddy Bars (yet another crunchy treat) and remind yourself you cannot be an island. You need a trusted friend, a confidant, sounding board, a let your hair down buddy… and break that Buddy Bar in half and share.

· Don’t cast shadows. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they had the encouraging sign of the Divine Presence dwelling with them, the cloud by day and fire by night. What a show of support and protection! As long as they stayed in the cloud, under the Shadow of the Almighty, they experienced peace and protection. But when they disobeyed, complained, voiced their malcontented attitudes against their leaders, the cloud receded. Protection left. Gripers got the vipers. Purpose throughout every groundhog season to watch what you say, voice thanksgiving and gratitude for any good you can, and protect the peace. This doesn’t mean you are non-confrontational – it just means you can discuss, listen, get through the issues, deal honestly, and keep going.

· Stay in the Cloud…then be mindful of what kind of shadow are you casting? Is it a healing shadow like Peter in the Book of Acts, or more like Dark Shadows where only creeps find it comfortable?



For your own groundhog days, dig deep to see what you’ve taken away from life’s lessons, and don’t cast any shadows. Grow, and lead the way. Winter will be over before you know it!


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