Entries in progress (9)
We have spent a lifetime learning how to walk. As infants we strive to take that first step, as toddlers we work to put one foot in front of the other and coordinate our movement, as children we explore our environment by learning what is acceptable and not, and as adolescents we often take several steps in the wrong direction…
It is in these early foot steps we begin to develop a foundation for one self. What dictates the foundation for which we stand on as adults? Often times, this is the very question clients present with in my office. Steps were taken with decisions and choices being made as adolescents and young adults and individuals often find themselves at a cross road. Fortunately, if you have found yourself at this cross road early on, you have an opportunity to assess, reevaluate, consider, and decide how to put your best foot forward.
We have learned a certain way of walking, a certain way of doing, navigating, interacting, and ultimately responding to our external environments based upon our internal cues or mode of operation. Internal cues are subject to the daily bombardment of our existence as dictated by the environment for which we were raised. Steps are not just about putting one foot in front of the other and hoping for the best result. Steps are fostered and learned from early experiences and validating and/or invalidating environments.
If you have not stopped to consider the place you are standing, find a moment to find a place and stand in it and evaluate how your footsteps dictate your forward movement and direction in life. Do your footsteps align with your hopes, dreams, goals, and growth or are they hindering your forward movement? Forward movement does not have to be accomplished alone. Learning how to put your best foot forward becomes a process of humbling oneself to acknowledge and humbly accept directions taken at past crossroads. It is never too late to stop for a moment and evaluate oneself...as one’s self-evaluation has the propensity for greatness.
It is a constant struggle to muster up the energy to parent. Boundaries need to be stated, reinforced, restated, re-reinforced, and on and on it goes until you think you may keel over or have a stroke. Like I said, parenting is not for the faint of heart. It may be possible that some preemptive planning and work could make all of the difference for some children. We all have heard of time-outs and restrictions, but there is some work we could do to anticipate some behavior.
There seems to me to be a missing piece to disciplining and parenting that I have realized from sheer necessity. Both of my daughters are highly sensitive to their surroundings (Confession: Even a loud TV can send me over the edge, so I can’t blame their father on this one).
Maybe you have experienced the same thing. Children pick up stress, anxiety, tension, over-scheduling, a dirty house, noise, etc., and they are more prone to ACT OUT. For instance, when my husband and I are overly busy, they are more inclined to be grumpy and impatient. When the house is messy, they seem more easily distracted and lazy. I know these things are true for me, but as we mature, we find ways to cope with imperfect surroundings. But our children need our help to do their best!
So, here are a few suggestions. If your child has difficulty being in certain situations (loud concerts, crowded places, jam-packed days going from one place to another, cluttered room, etc.), assess if there is anything you can do to reduce the problem. Plan ahead and do errands during your lunch hour when they are at school so that you can give them more of your attention in the evenings. Or, do an experiment! If your kitchen is usually dirty when they do their homework, try keeping it de-cluttered and clean for 1 week and see if they take less time to complete their work. Have a conversation about it at the end of the week. Seek and find your child or teenager’s unique needs.
In situations that cannot be avoided, it is important to plan ahead. Just having conversations about stressors can relieve some anxiety for children. In the process, you are teaching them to be more aware internally and more proactive and assertive for things they need.
The day that I intellectually knew would arrive in my life came a bit unexpectedly on April 25th. My appointment with my cardiologist was planned for five months and it was a follow-up to check on a bad aortic valve that I had had as long as I could remember. My health was good but my tests were bad… bad enough that my doctor strongly suggested surgery for a valve replacement. I was a bit stunned but not shocked. I knew that the surgery would one day be necessary, but I was feeling so well! After hours of thought and days of prayer, Renee and I both felt that it was time to take the step. I am writing these words nineteen days after my surgery and am doing well so far. Here are some post-op lessons:
1. You cannot rush recovery. I am an impatient man and prone to make things happen faster if I deem the pace is too slow. Recovery, however, has a pace all its own, and taking the requisite time to heal is the fastest way to true recovery.
2. Pain is a tutor. Instead of masking pain, learning from it is necessary in understanding the healing process. I don’t care for pain, but I need to heed it at every turn and allow it to teach me the best direction to head for my healing.
3. Taking care of your heart is a good thing. It is true… you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Having attention drawn to one vital part of your physiology is a true attention getter. Blood pressure, beats per minute, arrhythmia… all these factors are crucial in living a healthy life. I need to pay attention!
4. Life is best lived moment to moment, not event to event. Seizing the moment is the best way to live life. Too much is missed otherwise. I am continually struck with the fact that every day is chock full of wonderful stuff, stuff that is too easily missed if I don’t pay attention.
5. God is the One who heals. Certainly this is a no-brainer for believers, but it is all the more poignant when one’s life hangs in the operating room balance. The only time I was brought to tears before my surgery was in the waiting room of my surgeon’s office. In that room hangs a painting of an operating room scene with a surgeon and his team working on a patient. Standing next to the surgeon, guiding his hands, stands Jesus, the Great Physician. It still brings tears to my eyes…
6. Doctors and nurses are key instruments in God’s healing. What wonderful people! Words cannot express my gratitude…
7. Each day of healing is a unique journey. Ups and downs are inevitable in the healing journey, and even though I knew this, I am reminded of this process every day. Patience…
8. Family and friends are a healing balm. My wife’s care, my family’s comfort, my friends’ concern all join together to make the burden lighter and the days less stressful. I thank God for them all.
I’m still in the healing process, but I trust the learning process will never cease. Thanks to all of you for your love, care and concern. I love you right back!
My youngest daughter is notorious for having a difficult time following instructions. As a younger child, she had a difficult time remembering and staying focused on the instructions given. Now it is more that she is overwhelmed with the mess around her. Perhaps sometimes I expected more from her than was possible. However, I would find myself frustrated that she could not carry out one simple task, such as “Please take your shoes to your room” without repeated reminders. As she has gotten older, the problem remains. Cleaning her room is an exercise in torture for everyone involved! I would prefer to say, “Go clean your room, please,” and have it done in 30 minutes without one more word or whine.
She is a precious, loving, and sensitive soul and loves to please us, but carrying out instructions is a challenge…with one exception. She wants us to be with her! If we go with her to her room, she is a happy little worker. She smiles, puts away her toys, hangs up her clothes, and all is well in the Demetrician household. She simply needs our presence. Hmmm.
I for one am glad that I have a God who both SENDS ME OUT and GOES WITH ME. Left to my own devices, I can’t “clean the room of my soul” very well without the great Helper’s Presence. I simply can’t carry out the Father’s desires without His sustaining joy, hope, strength, and insight. I would be like my sweet daughter, hopelessly defeated and overwhelmed by an extremely messy room. I am sure I would sit on the floor and cry surrounded by sin, pain, shame, and bitterness knowing I had to do it all on my own. Our loving Father knows our limited capacity, and HE ACTUALLY WANTS TO HELP US. He enjoys being with us. It isn’t annoying to Him, and He doesn’t get tired. He is not like me, mostly helping my daughter just so it will get done.
There are messes that need to be cleaned up and places He is sending you, but rest assured, you are not alone.
The concept of Loss is so large that it is impossible to try to address the vastness of it in a simple blog. The concept, in its entirety, has been something that I have been pondering for some time. In this blog I am focusing on loss as related to death in particular.
I just spent the weekend in Denver at a memorial service for a woman with whom I grew up with. In many ways she had been given the title of second mom to me and my siblings. I have known her since I was 5 years old and our families had spent more than a decade celebrating every holiday together. Her health had been ailing her for quite some time and so Nancy's death came as more of a blessing than anything. Sitting in the memorial service, it was hard to describe the feelings that I had. I was thankful she wasn't suffering anymore, but there was such a sense of loss with it. She was the keeper of secrets. And had a memory of things that I had long forgotten or had not even remembered. Nancy could remember things that I could not. I had not lived near her for many years but whenever I saw her it was like no time had passed. She would ask me things about myself that I had long ago lost interest in, had changed my opinion on, or was in process of rethinking what I thought. I had a history with her that I have not had with any other adult woman. There is such a sense of loss in that. No one will ever be able to replace that.
I was talking with her daughter, my long time friend Tina, and she said something about our friendship that is so true: You can't replace time. No, you cannot. It has made me think more and more about time, life, dreams, and desires. Life is short. Nancy was nearing 80 but lived a full life. It was evident by what people said about her at her memorial. As I listened to what people were saying, but set my gaze on the absolutely majestic Rocky Mountains, I began to think about the concept of a full life for myself. I ask these questions of myself, but I encourage you to ask them of yourself as well. Am I living to my full potential? Am I living well? Am I allowing myself to dream and create? These are just a few to get you started.
I am in the process of asking myself these questions with no conclusions as of yet, but I am enjoying the process of asking them and letting my heart, soul, and thoughts go where they go. Nancy was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; however, I believe she did not have regrets at the end. I don not want to have regrets either.