Paula G., “Look at life as positively as possible.” Tip 4
Paula is a Mom to one grown son. She’s loved watching him build his life and develop into a “wonderful man.”
As a single parent, Paula acknowledges the difficulties in raising a boy without the support of his Father. Fortunately, Paula’s Dad was a strong male role model and exactly the influence her son needed. She highlights the great gift of having parental support in her own parenting journey.
Paula’s tip #4, “Look at life as positively as possible,” is at times easier said than done. Looking at the positive can be challenging, even when everything is going well. I think for some people it comes natural to see the bright side. As for me, it’s a skill I continue to develop.
I was successful in modeling a positive outlook in my parenting. As result of diligently highlighting the positive, for Michael, it’s now seems automatic for him. Maybe it isn’t as instinctual as I might think, at a minimum more natural. Regardless, I’m thrilled a positive outlook has seemingly been well established in his case.
Of course, this skill/perspective/ability became increasing important and evident following Michael’s spinal cord injury. After exactly 40 days of absolutely no movement, Big Mike contacted me at work exploding with good news!
He and Michael were so excited to report, “Michael moved a finger.” I too was elated; however, with much greater expectations. I raced to the hospital expecting our nightmare was over. I knew it would end. I was busting with gratitude and thanking the Lord!
I crashed through the room ready for the dance party! My boys were beaming! I said, “Show me! Show me!” Michael’s reply, “It’s too tired. I can’t do it anymore.” I urged, “Try! Just Try!” My response and demeanor began to suck the joy out of the room!
From that day to this, Michael has been thankful for every twitch and tingle he has gained. Over the next two years, Michael worked tirelessly to achieve maximum mobility. He acquired, what we now know to be significant improvements!
As he worked tirelessly I too worked tirelessly, to “look at life as positively as possible.” I consciously worked to achieve maximum understanding, appreciation, and gratitude. I also made significant improvements!
Throughout our travels, we met a woman who was paralyzed due to falling out of a hammock. She will never again to move from the neck down. I met a man paralyzed falling down a flight of stairs. He moves only with the aid of what is called a “sip and puff” device. This man controlled all movements using his mouth. I think of him almost every time I go down my basement stairs.
I met a 5-year-old boy, with a bright personality and limited mobility. He was left in the hospital without parental contact. Another boy controlled by an electronic wheelchair, attached to an enormous battery-operated machine, followed by a Mom who could not lift her head due to the burden on her heart. This little boy required a van to transport him in any fashion.
I came to understand, though not yet internalize, illness, accidents, and misfortune on any level, are not personal attacks on individual people. The world did not turn against me and my family. Shit happens.
I recalled, the day of Michael’s injury he stared up at me, still on the gurney, and stated, “Mom, as long as I can communicate, that’s all that matters.” Now!, there is someone who looks at life “as positively as possible!” He has not wavered from that mindset. Not to my knowledge.
I don’t know if it comes natural, or if it is something he works on. In my opinion, Michael is a master at seeing the positive, an absolute master!
Similarly, to Paula’s journey, my son continues to teach me every single day. Immediately, he started life teaching me to love, and to reach for more. In his childhood, he continued teaching. I learned to plan, to play, to care, and to reach even higher. I had no idea the gravity of lessons yet to come.
These days Michael teaches me to use my time wisely, and to focus only on positive. He leaves no time for complaining, gossiping, or droning on. Such things do not exist in his world! In fact, I’ve seen him leave the room when negativity begins.
In my world, the student has become the teacher. I aspire to be more like Michael, and to live and see the world as “positively as possible.” It is a guarantee when I am in his presence that is exactly what happens. He wouldn’t have it any other way!