For the last year, I have told friends and family that something has to happen for us to come back together as a country. Something big that impacts everyone and forces us to scrutinize everything we are doing, like a tipping point of some kind. My parents said this happened after Pearl Harbor, and we all saw it after 911. A chance to reflect on life, death, and the way we live our lives, an opportunity to reset our direction.
I talked to my son yesterday about the Coronavirus. Scott lives in Hawaii and works with autistic children. We discussed how the virus was having an impact on every person, without regard to wealth, religion, race, sex, political beliefs, or where they lived in the world. Scott is a spiritual person and had an interesting way of looking at this crisis.
Managing money is a critical part of education that is mostly ignored by our schools. Maybe that is one reason around half of the American households have no retirement savings. Zero! So as parents, we must be responsible for teaching our kids a lesson on economic survival. The sooner they learn the basics of earning, spending, and saving, the better off they will be. Be their best advocate by celebrating their accomplishments, helping them overcome challenges, and cheering them on. So what else can you do?
People have strong feelings about their beliefs, and many see issues as right or wrong. It used to be common sense to stay away from emotionally charged subjects. I understood this during the summer of love when I, a sixteen-year-old Lutheran boy with long hair, was dating a fifteen-year-old Catholic girl whose father was a barber. These differences could have been a problem, but instead, they completely took me off her family's radar. They knew the relationship couldn't work and figured their daughter must be going through a rebellious phase.
As I grew up, role models in television and the movies reinforced the right actions and dishonored the bad. Our parents and teachers held us accountable to do the right thing. It seemed everyone understood right from wrong even if we didn't practice it. Yes, we all crossed the line, but hopefully, we learned from our mistakes and improved. Okay, maybe you are the exception and perfect.
New Year's Resolution
It’s interesting how life works sometimes. Unexpected events or people come together to change the direction of your life. Think back to the crossroads you have encountered, the decisions you made, and how they shaped your life. Let me share a personal example.
I needed to find a job to pay for my next semester in college. If I didn't, I would lose my school deferment, get drafted, and sent to Viet Nam. To motivate me, my mother told me she would call the draft board herself if I didn't find a job soon. That got my attention. I skipped my first class the next morning and walked to the business office just as the secretary put up a help wanted notice on the bulletin board. I took it down and had the shipping job at the music store two hours later. I had no idea how much this sequence of events would impact my life.
You have a life-threatening disease. The doctors, nurses, and caretakers focus on helping you. They know what they have to do, but as the patient, what are your responsibilities? What can you do to help yourself and them overcome your illness? I want to share what we learned during my daughter's fight with cancer, hoping it may help others.
Faith, part 2
The oncologists told Stephanie that her survival was a miracle. I was amazed at how strong her faith was. She never blamed God or asked why this was happening to her or gave up. She just wondered what she was supposed to learn from this experience. Twice when she was hours from death, she was saved. There was never any doubt in her mind that God was with her. She became our hero and role model. When fear overcame her, she asked God to take over and was rewarded by feelings of peace and serenity.
Faith, part 1
Faith has always been an important part of my family’s life. Some use it as encouragement. “You can do it, just have faith, and do your best." Sound familiar? Faith often refers to trust and confidence in someone or something. That something is frequently God. I never knew how strong my family’s faith was until my daughter's illness tested it.
There is definite power in the two words Thank You. It's common courtesy to appreciate someone helping you, and yet those words aren't as common as they used to be. Do you notice it too? Opening a door for someone usually gets a smile and thank you in return. Everyone feels good about it. Other times they don't even notice it or just expect you to do it. This really doesn't bother me, but I see it happening more often. A person feels good helping others, and I guess that is enough of a reward.
Stress, part 2
Search for the good in things. When you are in crisis, finding good can be very challenging. If you had an 8% chance of living, you probably wouldn't wish you had a newborn child. That's what happened to our daughter, and she chose to look for the silver lining. She quickly realized this newborn was timed to uncover her cancer with a chance of survival remaining. This beautiful child then became her reason to never, ever give up.
Stress, part 1
Most of us feel stress from time to time. Fear and too many things to do mixed with emotions can quickly overwhelm the mind. Listening to Bobby McFerrin's song, Don't Worry Be Happy, may not be enough to change things. So what can we do about it? There are a few simple things we learned during Steph's illness that helped us move forward through the fear, stress, and too many things to do.
Finding Medical Help
Do you have any sayings or quotes hanging on the wall? I do. Things I have read or heard that I do not want to forget. Some are funny, and others are just true. Here is one by Charles Swindoll about an attitude that hits home for me. "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Looking back on my life that sounds about right. What do you think?