From my earliest memory, my parents have taught me to try to find the positive side to almost any situation. They never denied whatever circumstances existed, they simply put their efforts into improving that situation and they taught their children to try to do the same.
Back in 1973, my dad broke his neck in a diving accident. The result was that he became a quadriplegic. During the next year, my mom split her days, going to the hospital for several hours in the morning to be with my dad, learning about his new disability and being his strongest supporter. She would then come home to be with us four kids, my elder brother was fourteen at the time, I was 12 and my two younger sisters were 8 and 3 years old. My mom would supervise homework and dinner and then taking one or two of the kids with her she would return to the hospital until 9 at night. She kept this routine day in and day out. While I remember her crying and being naturally upset, she didn’t dwell on it. I don’t remember her ranting or carrying on, I simply remember that life changed and she rolled with it well. She kept in close contact with my aunt and uncle who lived nearby, accepted and appreciated their amazing support. My mom is a terrific life coach.
When I would go to see my dad he would smile and laugh as he always had. He showed us how he was learning to do wheelies in his wheelchair, telling us all about the physical therapy he was going through every day as he learned to walk again and making sure that we got to know the other men in the ward, all of whom had suffered some type of spinal cord injury. He did all he could to put us at ease and to teach us that while everyone there had some sort of injury, each one of them had plans to go back to his life and family as soon as possible. In short, life goes on and he taught us to look forward to it with optimism and enthusiasm. My dad is a fabulous life coach as well.
As the years went by, my mom went to nursing school to become an LPN, she always told us that my dad being disabled gave her this opportunity as he was now home with the kids. She took positive action and made positive strides forward, again showing all of us that she was a great life coach.
My dad accepted his newfound limitations, taking on the roles of head cook and chief babysitter. He always told us and tells us to this day, that every day is a bonus. As the years went by my dad continued to work hard to keep the mobility that he had gained in the year after he got hurt. The doctors told him that he would never be able to walk again, but he did, showing us that having a goal and a positive, determined attitude makes anything possible. I told you he was a terrific life coach.
Time has gone on. In 1973 my dad was told that he had an outside chance of living for another 15 years. I remember that he used to laugh at that, and I think he’s still laughing. It’s now 35 years since his accident. He no longer walks, using a wheelchair to get around now as his condition has deteriorated in recent years. But here’s the thing, my parents are still showing us how to move forward in a positive manner. They are not a sweet, cuddly couple that’s likely to gush about one another. Instead, they are loud, friendly and sometimes crabby, but underneath all the noise as they laugh, tease and make good-natured fun of one another, there is no doubt about the respect, optimism and love that they still demonstrate very clearly. Each of their children and grandchildren has been blessed to be witness to this behavior and attitude and I have to believe that we are all the better because of their teachings. I’m very grateful to have been raised by amazing life coaches and teachers.
Wishing you a day filled with optimism, enthusiasm and wonderful life coaches.