If someone took a look into my family world, especially over the last six months, they would probably be ready to pick up their bags and fly the coup. One of the questions people often ask my wife and I would be: how do you do it? What keeps you going when it doesn’t seem like anything is really working?
I believe in the power of love. I believe in the power of faith. I believe in the power of long term relationships. We believe that we have made a life long commitment- much like the commitment we made when we got married. We are aware of the fact that as much as people predict that life would get easier as the years flew by, we knew that our daughters would have a lot on their plate to take in, study, think about, process and then decide whether they would be ready to handle or cause more stress, anger and turmoil.
I’m thankful that I have a great outlet like bowling to channel my energy in another direction. The bowling ball hitting the pins is safer than any method I know to get aggression going in the appropriate way- against an inanimate series of objects that I’m not hurting in any way. Music tends to be another outlet- as my head and body can travel to another dimension as I get into the musicians, the playing, and the lyrical landscape. My third outlet tends to be writing. I love to think, put information together and type it out on my laptop or write it out through my fingers onto paper.
My wife and I are attending a special conference for mental health advocacy this weekend, and I’m hoping to find more like-minded people who I can share, learn and grow with. I’ve been involved in the care of individuals with mental health issues for well over 12 years at this point in my life. I’ve been able to see the great changes that can be made- including one of my former clients who moved from being an angry, aggressive teen to now living in an apartment with minimal outside assistance to keep his bills paid. I know significant changes can be made- as long as you commit to the long haul and show people that you’ll be there no matter what.
There’s no sense for me at this point in time to live in pain. I’m doing the best that I can and I have a great support system around me. We can’t be around our children 24/7/365 to make sure they live in a bubble and can’t think or act for themselves. We want them to know that’s fine to be fearful, but you need to know how to face those fears safely without causing a chain of events that you can’t turn back from. However their next few years turn out, I know that I’m putting in my head, heart and soul to the cause of helping them lead as successful a life as possible.
You teach children as much as you can, hopefully from your own example and the example of other mentors. Then you need to trust your instincts to know they’ll make better decisions in the long run, even if the struggle may consume them for a period of time. Examples like Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and others prove that your early years and beyond do not dictate whether you have a good or bad life. It’s all in how you look at things and the willingness to change from within to project a better self-concept to the outside world.