November 17, 2011

Life's Blind Spots

On my way to work this morning at the intersection where I was stopped, I saw a man in the turn-lane to my right pushing his car out of the way.

Usually when I see this situation someone will come to the persons' aid and offer assistance.

Today that did not happen.

Because he alone, was trying to steer and push at the same time, it was taking quite awhile for him to get out of the road.

The vehicles behind the big 4x4 truck (which was next in line behind the stalled car) started honking their horns.  First one , then others followed and with more frequency.

Of course my vision was clear as I could see the whole situation.
I could see what the other drivers with blocked information could not see.

First they did not understand what the truck driver knew and were letting him know they were not happy he was not moving.
Second they could not see that there was a man in distress doing the best he could to get out of the middle of the road.
Thus causing them to act in an irate and judgmental way.

As I sat there I contemplated several things.
If I were in their shoes vehicles:

1.  Would I have just sat quietly like the truck driver did, not reacting to others ignorance?

2.  Would I be like these reactive, impatient drivers pushing down on my horn, letting it get the best worst of me?

3.  How would I feel if I were this man with a disabled car, holding up traffic at a busy intersection knowing that there were irate people?  

4.  Would I have been able to stay focused on what was most important (moving my car) without showing my anger and helplessness with inappropriate words or actions?

5. Could and would I empathize with this man if I had been able to see the whole picture - knowing that I do not know of any person who intentionally breaks down in the middle of the road?

6. Today I had full understanding - will I remember next time when I do not, to trust that the traffic is stopped for a reason (that I might not understand) before lashing out because I am frustrated?

Most of us will have been in a situation similar to this, if not in traffic in another circumstance.

In that situation what was our personal role?
Are we proud of how we reacted?
Did we learn a lesson once we got all the facts?
Did others react differently to us once they had more facts?

Life is full of chances to learn-even at the intersections of our lives. 

"The test of courage comes when we are in the minority.  The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority."  ~Ralph W. Sockman  

October 12, 2011

I Just Have One More Thing To Say

I had been talking on the phone to my four year old granddaughter who lives over 1000 miles away.

I said goodbye and that I would talk to her again and she said, "Wait!  I just have one more thing to say.  I love you!"

What a sweet way to end!  The echo of those words lasted a long time in my mind and heart.  They still move me.

I am not proud to admit, but I thought of so many stressful, hurried, angry times that that is the last thing I ever would have said to my loved ones.  And those times never did feel like a sweet ending.

Do we realize the impact of our words?

"Wait!  I just have one more thing to say.  I love you!"

 She set an example that I can learn from!

"Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity - a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother."  ~Rose Kennedy

October 9, 2011

Blindsided By Twenty Dollars

After I got divorced as with many people, I financially struggled.

One day as I was robotically going through the bills and advertisements that filled my homemade mailbox I came across a small hand addressed envelope with no return address.
Inside was a twenty dollar bill and nothing else.

Every month for over a year maybe close to two, I would receive this "letter" written in different handwriting each time.

I was curious as to who was sending it and anxious to thank whomever brightened my day and was making my life a little easier. 

When your means are meager, twenty dollars can pay a utility bill, buy food for two weeks, fill a gas tank with enough to get you through the week or buy a birthday gift for one of your children.  I am not sure if the sender realized any of this but oh, how I wanted to tell them!

It would be years until I would find out who had so immensely blessed my family's lives.

It was an elderly man who went to church with me and whom I had known for years while I was married.  He had watched me grow spiritually over the years and then witness my struggle as I would fall apart emotionally after my divorce.

After he became ill and only had a short time of life left, his wife shared his story with me.

Being a veteran of the Navy and combat and a survivor of the depression all he knew how to do was to work hard.

He had taken a part-time job at a copy store weeding the properties' yard.  This was a challenge for him because you see, he was legally blind.  He used a cane to maneuver his way around.  How he did it I don't know.

He was paid twenty dollars and each month he sent that to me.  
He would ask different people to address the envelope so that I could never quite figure out who it was.  
The money was touching to me but when I heard the story and all the sacrifice it took to get that to me each month, I cherished it even more.

I was never able to thank him personally because that was one of the conditions of being told.
But I offered thanks in prayers.  And I'm hoping that maybe in sharing it, it will inspire others (including myself!) to consider a small yet selfless act.

He taught me that giving does not have to be such a generous contribution that it makes the "platinum club".
What matters is that we do something .
What matters is how we give.
And that we give.
Something of ourselves to those who could use a hand.

He taught me that it is hard to find an excuse that would be excuse enough.
He had every reason to say it was too difficult.
He taught me that where there is a will there is a way.
He taught me that charity is the greatest gift of all.

"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth  forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."  Moroni 7:47

October 4, 2011

Do Arms Have Wings?

The four year old boy I was sitting next to at rest time asked me this, "Do arms have wings?" as he was flopping the skin back and forth on my underarms.

I told him it was time to rest his voice.

What do you think I should have said?
"Some older models do.  Now I am going to quit talking and rest my wings."

September 23, 2011

Handling Changes

This is an article I wrote for my school's news letter.       
As a new school year starts, there are bound to be changes to our schedules, our lives, our habits, and our emotions.
It will probably take some time for adjustment and for a routine to develop that the family is comfortable with.
I have found over the years that sometimes we are not aware how important predictability is to our children.  If you are doubting what I’m saying, think about what might happen if you drive a different route to school or forget your tie (does anyone wear ties anymore to work?) or drink coffee out of a different cup or heaven forbid buy it from a different store!?
So what can we do to help our children?
Try really hard to develop a routine especially for the mornings and at bedtime.
NOTE: When there are many family members including siblings, an exact time of things can feel impossible and may often be.  Seth misses his bus so you are now a taxi finding the quickest, shortest route with Miss GPS’s help-maybe--- in order to get everyone else where they need to be on time. 
Chances are on those days you aren’t merrily singing Polly Wally Doodle All Day, (but then again, you might be one of those exceptional families who will take every opportunity to create lasting memories…). 

If however you are not, just know Mama said there’d be days like this and get back on track the next day.  (It might help to recount where the glitch happened to avoid it again if at all possible.)
Try however, to establish a basic idea of what will be happening for these daily rituals.
On the other hand, being too rigid about time frames can create stress of a different source.
I know, make up your mind Reyna!    

But that’s parenting for you.   
Basically, it’s guidelines with room for personal interpretation.  Welcome to parenthood!
Anyway, back to my main point.  When changes happen as they will-for that is life in motion- keep as many of your regular habits as realistic.  Something as simple as not having their favorite breakfast bowl can cause turmoil for some children.  Also things we might not think, such as the opposite parent bringing the child to school when he/she usually doesn’t, can cause stress.  For some children this will be a treat, for others, chaos.  Learn to understand your child’s preferences.
A break in the family dynamic, like a parent traveling or company in the home can also uproot a child’s sense of security.  These things are also helpful to share with a teacher so they then can be aware of any sensitivities that might manifest itself in our children.
Although children may seem too young to really care, in general they like to know what to expect (in condensed form, not the essay-way I used to present it).   
Tell them a basic outline of events.  If your child is uncomfortable with transitions, give 5 minute warnings/reminders that change will be happening, e.g. we will be leaving in 5 minutes so finish up what you are doing. 
For the most part, as time goes on, people will fall into place with the new changes and all will be well.
One last thing I would like to address is the emotional changes that happen for the parents (which I alluded to in the first sentence.)
Watching our children become the independent, confident children we hoped to raise (darn them) can cause our hearts to mourn.   Oh yes, on one hand we are beamingly satisfied with them going off into the classroom and finding an activity or friend to play with but they may hardly even notice we are saying our goodbyes and that might sting.  They are growing up and away in the tiniest steps. 

It is imperative that we acknowledge this.  
Both the fact that they are maturing and the fact that we may not quite be ready for it.   It is in a sense a loss of their total dependence on us to a new form of independence for them.  This of course is what we want (for it breaks our hearts more to know they were crying for us all day) nevertheless it is sometimes a hard stage to swallow.   
It is normal to feel this tug of emotions!
Know they will always be your child and will need you to be their parent.  The only difference will be in how it manifests itself.  So, advise for parents is to develop a new habit/ routine for yourself that you do for yourself while your most prized gift is doing exactly what he is supposed to because you did your job exactly how you should have!
Have a wonderful year!                                                                                  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...