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A Memory from my Family Vault

compassion kind gestures opportunity Nov 03, 2022

Hello everyone! Welcome to my latest post. This one is my fond recollection from my family memory vault.

I was only 12 years old at the time and just started my first newspaper route. I was handed a list of addresses but was completely baffled. I had ABSOLUTELY no idea where THOSE homes were located. I might as well have been looking at a map of the moon.

But no worries, my 12-year-old brain had a simple solution: Hide the papers in the garage and hope no one notices. 

Well, it only took about 20 calls to our landline from angry customers before my mom figured something wasn't quite right.

While I was essentially hiding out in the naive hope that this situation would somehow magically resolve itself, Mom and my older brother John calmly approached me and asked what was going on? 

Initially, I acted clueless. After a few gentle prompts, I reluctantly came clean. I backed up and winced in anticipation of a rap on the side of the head OR at the very least a huge helping of verbal ridicule. Instead, they approached me with a calm curiosity that completely shifted the emotional intensity of the situation away from my immature response and allowed us to focus on solutions.

"It's ok Mike.  I wish you'd tell us when you get stuck, so we can help. Let's load up your papers in the car and we'll help you deliver them - THIS TIME."

I was so relieved and appreciative. I was also motivated to be the best newspaper boy from that point forward. Not because I loved the job of carrying around 65 newspapers seven days a week 365 days a  year through all kinds of nasty weather, but because I didn't want to let them down.

This encounter had another, even more, profound impact on my life that STILL resonates with me today - at the age of 66.

I already felt enough guilt and even a little shame at that moment and they could have added to it if they'd chosen a less understanding and forgiving path. They could have also given my Inner Critic a bullhorn to repeat over and over again how stupid and foolish I was for hiding the newspapers in the first place. Instead. it was as if they offered me a cool, supportive cup of water when I was wandering alone in a  sweltering emotional desert.

That incident had a lasting impact and I like to believe that I make an effort to follow their example and offer similar, supportive emotional cups of water to others.

We may not always recognize when someone is struggling and wandering through their own emotional desert. 

So today offer someone a supportive drink from your fountain just in case they're thirsty.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter and encourage you to learn more about my counseling 
and coaching services. 

Until then stay well and take care.


PS: Click here for the Facebook Video of this post.


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