Personality. My daughter has it. In fact, she has so much personality she has little time for things like cleaning her room on her own. Personality people love group activities and let’s face it: cleaning your own room isn’t a group activity. Greta loves to help in groups and will be the first to volunteer and she’s great at cheering on the team. That’s why we love personality people.
But her room is still a mess and the boys don’t wan to make it a group activity that Greta will love and help their little sister out. So we bribe them. Matthew is paid to work in the room for a while. Greta is thrilled to have company on doing a chore and the room gets cleaned. We gloss over the arguments and chalk them up to simple sibling rivalry.
The next morning, Greta came out with a huge smile and one of her recently rediscovered treasures, found deep in the recesses of her previously hideous closet. It was an envelope full of homemade cards from the kids at her school – from when she was in the hospital. She came out waving the envelope and shouting to the world:
See mommy, people do love and care about me.
Of course I responded that I never had any doubt and smiled, and tried not to cry, as Greta read card after homemade card from different schoolmates expressing that she get well soon and how much they loved and missed her. It’s been two years since our lives changed and ADEM came to our home, but those words of love and encouragement still found loving reception in Greta’s heart, and mine.
I told my class at church – I wish everyone could go clean their closet and find an envelope full of the love and encouragement folks have given them when they went through a difficult time – and remember that people still love and care about them. Go ahead, right now. Go clean out the closet of your memories. Don’t dwell on the obstacles and hurts. Remember the love and support of those who stood by you and perhaps even carried you through that time. Like Greta, hold those precious memories high and say to yourself that it’s true! People still love and care about me!
I got an email today asking me to review my application process for the special summer camp we have applied for – regarding Greta’s ADEM. It seems 40 families (it is a family camp) have signed up and they only have room for 30 families – unless some smaller families double in up in the units. In the email, they included a video of introduction to the facility – the Center for Courageous Kids.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a mom. Maybe it is just because Greta is still so young and we are still discovering what all lifelong issues ADEM will leave her to deal with. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t keep my eyes dry while watching that video.
There is a saying that unless you’ve been there, you just can’t understand. That’s what is so great about community. When we get together – we are stronger. When we get together – we find understanding and share ways to cope. I’m looking forward to attending this camp and meeting other ADEM families and sharing stories and practical day to day tips. Each child experiences ADEM differently, depending on where the lesions were located, how large they were and how many there were, as well as how long it took to get properly diagnosed and treated. So many variables, yet at the same time there are still classic ADEM leftovers that almost every patient, especially the children have to deal with.
What would we do without community? What would we do if we always thought we were the only one in the entire world that suffered the way we suffer? Take the time to be open about yourself and what you are going through – whatever it is. Look for support groups or fundraisers that help create awareness or contribute to vital research. You may have a handle on your situation yourself and think you don’t need community. I’m not going to congratulate you. I’m going to tell you that out there is someone who doesn’t have it figured out and they would be thrilled to talk to someone who has been through it and knows some of the ropes.
We need each other. We need community. Just google center for courageous kids and watch their introduction video. It just might change how you feel about community.
Filed under ADEM, Community
One of the many things I learned during my days in radio is that you will get twenty complaints before you get a single compliment. That’s not a reflection on your work per se, as it is a reflection on society. What it is saying is that people are twenty times more likely to call in with a complaint than they are with a compliment.
Now let’s look at it from the practical side. If what we want the most to encourage us are compliments, but we are 20 times more likely to get complaints instead. As Mark Gungor would say, you have yourself a math problem.
So I’ve decided to be intentional about making a difference. Yesterday I had lunch with my mom and I saw something in the menu that looked great, but I would need to change one thing. Eating out with Crohn’s Disease isn’t always easy. I asked the waitress if it could be done an she said yes. Later on the manager of the restaurant was making his rounds of speaking to the lunch guests. He came to our table and asked how everything was. We could have easily just said a non committal fine and let him go on by, but I chose to take part in the 20 to 1 Grass Roots Revolution. I told the manager about asking for the change on the menu item and that it was done for me and it was delicious and I really appreciated it. It cost me nothing to give that honest compliment.
We all know what it is like to need a bit of encouragement now and then. And with the 20 to 1 odds, we aren’t likely to get it. So let’s start our own odds. Let’s be intentional about giving honest, sincere compliments and words of encouragement! The 20 to 1 Grass Roots Revolution is this: knowing the odds of how people are more likely to give a complaint than a compliment, we purpose to be intentional about giving honest and sincere compliments and words of encouragement. Let the revolution begin!