Tag Archives: life lessons

Furry Love

choc lab

I must share a story about Nora and her best friend, Monty. Monty, you see, is a dog, a chocolate lab who has lived a full life. He’s twelve, which I hear is equivalent to age 89 in people years.

For several months, Monty’s health has been on the decline. And because he requires a great deal of care, Nora is drained emotionally, physically and financially—costing her money she doesn’t have.

Her vet has suggested that it’s time to consider putting him down. Others have given her the same advice—including me. But despite the burden and despite the suggestions, Nora  has adamantly refused. Her stance has been a mystery to me, so at one point I simply asked her, “Why?”

“He’s never been so happy,” she said. “He’s full of life and doing everything he did when he was a puppy . . . only slower. When I take him for a walk, he smiles and wags his tail at everybody! When we cross a street, he drags me over to a stopped car and stares at the driver as if he’s expecting that person to roll down the window and give him some attention. It’s hilarious! I can tell he’s a day-brightener for a lot of people.”

“And what’s he doing for you, Nora?” I asked.

“I love being greeted with that happy spirit,” she said. “He expects nothing from me. He accepts me the way I am, and I’ve had very little of that throughout my life.”

Ahhh, now it was all beginning to make sense. Monty is providing something for Nora that’s priceless—something that only the heart understands, something the practical mind misses. It’s called love, connection, acceptance and joy.

Let’s face it, as life happens, such gifts make it all worthwhile no matter how burdensome our load.

My heart was touched that day, and my capacity to see grew a notch. I thank Nora for that . . . and I thank Monty, too—a real day-brightener.

 

Let me know your insights. I like reading them! 

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.

(c) 2014 Salee Reese

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Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

Fishing with My Little Brother

 

fishing

Everyone knows dads come in all shapes and sizes . . . but they also come in assorted forms. Lots of children are fortunate enough to have a man—who isn’t their biological father—step into that role. They may either supplement what Dad is doing or, perhaps, fill in the gap where Dad is literally missing. That man might be an uncle, brother or grandfather, or he might be completely unrelated to the child.

I know such a man. Don is a Big Brother to Logan. His father is completely absent from Logan’s life, so Don—along with other key male figures—has the opportunity to significantly leave an impact.

Recently, Don told me about an outing he had with Logan. The two of them headed for a pond with their fishing poles. When they got there, Don prepped Logan by saying: “Today, you’re going to become a fisherman.” Pointing to the bait, he said: “Which one do you think would work best?” Logan chose. Then with some basic instruction, Don coached him on how to bait the hook.

Don explained to me that it wasn’t their first time fishing together, “but it was fishing at a whole new level. I let him fish. I gave up control. My former pattern would have been, ‘No, do it this way.’ That avenue would only rattle Logan’s confidence and reinforce any fear of failure he might have. So I got out of the way and let him have his own experience.”

Logan’s attempts were clumsy at first. “But that didn’t matter,” Don said. “We grownups need to remember the first time we baited a hook . . . it just wasn’t very pretty.”

Within two minutes, Logan caught a fish. The first words out of his mouth were, “I feel really good about myself!”

“I felt happiness for Logan,” Don said, beaming. “I’m positive the reason he felt good about himself was because he mastered something on his own.”

What made that afternoon so special was the fact that Logan challenged himself to try something new. And Don facilitated it by being patient and by having faith in Logan.

 “I’m learning that there’s a difference between doing something with someone and doing something for them,” Don said.

“That’s how confidence is built.”

So true. After catching the fish, Logan asked: “Can I take the fish off the hook?” Ahhh, confidence in action.

“Logan’s success brought joy to both of us as well as a sense of connection and achievement,” Don said. “You know . . . I feel really good about myself, too.”

Hmmm. Looks like making a significant impact runs both ways.

For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters, see http://www.bbbs.org/

 

 

 

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Filed under General Interest, Parenting