I help people all day long. I help them make lifestyle changes, I help them execute the perfect plank, and on some days I'm helping them stay sane. I help my kids proofread their homework and finesse their dance moves, and I help the dogs cuz they still can't feed themselves. I help my honey when it's time to grill the fish since she's daunted by this cooking task.
Do you need help? Do you know how to ask for it? A client of mine has been swimming in her life: single mom, full-time student pursuing a Doctorate, part-time worker. . .she realized she couldn't sustain her pace and took a meeting with her advisor to strategize for her next quarter. The advisor came up with a re-worked plan that provided instant relief for Ms. Client -- and they in fact could start this schedule now. She said her sigh of relief almost blew the advisor over.
What about offering to help someone? This time of year the donation baskets are filling, the needy are lining up for toys, but look around your close-in community. A mom with 2 and 3 year olds would appreciate a meal delivery the same as a mom with newborns. A friend who suffered a break-up needs movie and lunch dates. . .even if it's been a little while. Those who live alone appreciate visits and social interaction, and maybe some internet tutoring if you're with an older friend.
Giving money can make a profound difference. Giving time and love is priceless. Offer to help someone when you can, and maybe more importantly. . .ask for help. What you receive in return will fill you in ways that might surprise you.
The dynamic fundraising team at my kids' school — lovely Strawberry Point Elementary — produced a footrace to raise money for the PTA. For a first-time event, it was a great success. Over 200 runners chose from a lovely, if slightly hilly, 1 or 4 mile course. Local merchants at Strawberry Village generously supported the event and the winners took home some groovy donated loot.
I happily said yes when asked if I would warm up the runners at the start of the race. This is always a fun job, but with my kids and friends in attendance, I knew it would be more special. I let the boys choose the music for my gig and we arrived in our best spirited race-ware to a sunny morning that couldn't have been any nicer.
The kids in attendance had a blast, as did the adults. But I will say more of the parents were spectating rather than participating with their kids.
Can you run a mile without stopping?
Should all kids be able to run a mile without stopping?
Not everyone is a runner, and kids are just young people. Some body types are ill-suited due to hip or feet issues. . .even at a younger age. At our school, running a mile is still a routine part of P.E. . . . one the students aren't always excited about.
BE ACTIVE with your family, whatever you choose to do.
The exciting START. You can see the fancy balloon arch and the sun shining in everyone's faces. After only 500 yards is was slightly uphill. . .
My son Hartley started struggling to keep up during the last quarter mile of the run. . .going uphill, of course. We'd been running with his brother and two of their class mates (soccer gals!) and had been moving at a pretty good clip. And then this sweet soul started to slow down.
I personal trained my son for the first time that morning; I took his hand and told him I wanted him to keep running because I knew he could do it And, if he ran the whole way he'd be so proud of his accomplishment. Once our route flattened out he said "I got it," and released my hand. Approaching the finish line, I told him sometimes people like to sprint to the finish line and to go for it if he wanted. That's him in the Santa hat charging for the chute, while I'm happily letting him beat me and concentrating on yelling him on. A very proud morning for me.
Here is the triumphant finish of our good friend Mason, who took on the four mile event. His mom and Uncle, pictured, did the course with him. Four miles is a very respectable distance for any 10-year-old.
Post race smiles! When I told Kyle I was super proud of his strong showing, his reply was "Thanks, but Lauren still beat me!" (Lauren is in the red short sleeved t-shirt).
I couldn't suppress my smile. Not just at his comment, and the fact that he was beat by a girl,but regarding the whole experience.
Get outside and move with your family. . .you just might have some fun and get to know one another better in the process.
Four weeks ago a regular in one of my classes stopped me in the locker room. She had a semi-stricken look on her face, and she proceeded to tell me her daughter's best friend had just committed suicide 3 days prior. Her 16-year-old daughter's 16-year-old best friend. AND that her daughter would be singing at the memorial service the next day. She was worried about her. I knew instinctively the daughter would be fine, that this was something she had to do. Then I paused and asked my friend, "did you know my brother killed himself?" You see, so many of my friends do and I guess I assumed she did, but she said No!
I was grateful for my sibling's insight. I asked if the girl had any brothers or sisters, because in the cast of suicide survivors they can get lost amongst a parent's suffering, especially a mother's. I suggested she rally the mommy troops in her community to keep checking on the left-behind sister.
A week later I got a call from my partner. One of her close friends was at the hospital on suicide watch, as he'd tried to take his life earlier that day. A very upsetting 8 days or so ensued as she and his other friends tried to contact family and help as they could. The good news is he's alive and in a residential treatment program getting the help he needs.
The week before Thanksgiving, a high school pal posted the news of his best friend's suicide on Facebook. He's heartbroken at his loss, and based on the musings of those left behind, it sounds like yet another instance of the oldest suicide cliche there is — a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
This year it seems we've heard a lot about gay teen suicides. Gay or straight, teens commit suicide more often in politically conservative areas. The most common age group for suicide, however, is ages 40- 59, and men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.
I love the holiday season, but it can make me miss my brother. We often read about stressors around this time of year, so talk to your friends and family. Really talk. Listen. Don't make a game face when you need an ugly cry. Ask for and offer help. And most of all, treasure loved ones and your life. Many are suffering silently, and your light could be that which makes a lasting impression.
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