Allow a 6 year old to teach you about risk and personal growth. Enjoy
Join me and many others in fighting world hunger this Thanksgiving by saving your spare change between September 1st and Thanksgiving Day. The money collected will be donated to The World Food Program USA to provide meals to impoverished school children.
The School Feeding Program feeds over 20 million children each day, which is only a fraction of the vast need. Each nutritionally balanced meal is only 25 cents. That means when you spent $20.00 on sushi you could have fed 80 children. Shocking huh!
1. 870 million people do not have enough food to eat
2. 98% of the worlds undernourished people live in developing countries
3. Asia and the Pacific have the highest number of hungry comprising 578 million people, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa with 239 million people, and then Latin America and the Caribbean with 53 million people
4. Malnutrition is the key factor contributing to one-third of all global deaths (2.6 million per year)
5. Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger related diseases.
Begin by choosing a meaningful cup and start emptying your jingling pockets and bulging wallets into it. Take a look at some of last year’s participating cups.
Search under your couch cushions for all of the spare change you can find and send your little children on a quest to find every lost coin hiding in your home and car.
Dig out your old purses and rescue the loose change that is waiting patiently at the bottom, to be used for a wise purpose.
Spread the word that we can make a difference this Thanksgiving; a holiday in which we celebrate abundance and gratitude. Last year we collected close to $5000.00 which provided 20,000 meals to school children.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Stay tuned for logistical information. For now, choose your cup and start filling it with change. Until next time…
May you find your cup half full 🙂
“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.” ~R. Buckminster Fuller
The post I wrote for Tiny Buddha posted on their website last Friday (www.tinybuddha.com). I’m not tech savy enough to make it appear in it’s entirity on this blog, so I have given you the link.
I’m thrilled with the feedback I received. Over 2100 people liked it on the Tiny Buddha Facebook page and The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (Stanford University) re-blogged it. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Until next time…
May you find your cup half full 🙂
A Caregiver’s Manifesto
1. From here forward I will identify “Caregiving” as a clearly defined new role, and not as role reversal or any other negative associations I may have made with it in the past.
2. Caregiving is only one of the many roles I serve. I do not forget about my other roles such as: spouse, parent, friend, and employee.
3. I recognize that Caregiving is usually not convenient and therefore creates many conflicting emotions, ALL OF WHICH ARE NORMAL.
4. I clear my mind from all preconceived thoughts about Caregiving and accept each day for what it brings. This not only protects me from disappointment and discouragement, but opens me up to receive miracles.
5. I radically accept the physical and mental limitations of the person I am caring for. This allows me to direct much needed energy into productive thought and activity, rather then allowing my precious energy to be lost in a fantasy of how things “should be.”
6. I understand that to care for others I must first care for myself. It is a requirement for the physical, emotional, and spiritual energy needed to fulfill the role.
7. I understand that I alone am responsible for making time to take care of my needs. If I wait for the benevolence of others, I risk not getting my needs met, as well as feeling negative emotions such as hurt and resentment.
8. I accept help when it is offered even if my loved one opposes such help or I believe I can do it better.
9. Courage and Compassion are the attributes I am building.
10. I understand that pre-existing problems do not go away and if I need emotional help I obtain it.
11. I proactively look for tender mercies and miracles and capture them in writing to keep me balanced and reminded that I am not a victim.
12. I do not feel guilty when on vacation, spending time with friends, pursuing hobbies, or meeting my financial needs through working.
13. While I do what I can to ease my loved one’s burden, I know we are all responsible for our own happiness.
14. I respect my loved one’s ability to make their own choices whenever possible and make sure that I do not overstep by bounds when making decisions.
15. If my loved one is incapable of making choices, I base decisions on past conversations and what I believe they would want. In the absence of any such knowledge, I make decisions based on what I believe to be right along with the advice of other family members and professionals. When there is disagreement, the primary caregiver makes the decision.
16. I know my loved one is a multi-dimensional person with vast life experience, wisdom, interests, and strengths and weaknesses… just like me.
17. I am sensitive to my loved one’s need for privacy and do my best to preserve their dignity.
18. I do not blame my loved one for my feelings of loss and sadness. I own, validate, and take responsibility for my own emotions. I do not stuff my feelings, nor do I let them overpower me.
19. It’s okay to laugh.
20. I make mistakes and that’s okay.
- Caregiver’s Story Board: A New Facebook Page (barbarascovillelcsw.com)
- True Confessions of a Former Caregiver…and a darn good cookie recipe (barbarascovillelcsw.com)
It was eight o’clock in the morning when I drove into the parking lot. I should’ve been at the office by 7:45, but it was another one of those days when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
I parked my car, grabbed my briefcase, purse and lunch bag, and ran up the stairs to my office. Fortunately my client had not arrived, so I made the rounds, mindlessly opening the curtains, flipping on the lights and radio, and as I was sprinting down the hall to my office, I noticed a giant… and I do mean GIANT bug on my sleeve. I might have freaked out, but I had no time for such nonsense and gently brushed the bug off my sleeve. Shamefully, I was so rushed, I didn’t even take the time to think about how irresponsible it was to set a giant bug free to creep around the office. After listening to my phone messages, my client arrived.
14 years old, and not happy at all about coming to see me so early in the morning, he sulked into my office and slunk down into the brown leather chair. We exchanged greetings, and somewhere in the conversation I asked how school was going. He said, “I have to take ten pictures of bugs for a science project.” He went on to discuss the bugs he had already photographed.
–Now this is where I’m embarrassed to admit that several minutes had passed before I remembered the giant bug that accompanied me into the office just fifteen minutes earlier.
As soon as I remembered, I said, “Hey, you wouldn’t believe what happened to me this morning,” and then I told him the story. “Let’s go find the bug,” and instantly we were off on the hunt. It was early and nobody else was in the office so we had the full run of the place. Two minutes had not passed before he found it on the bottom of the picture window in the reception area.
“I found it”, he yelled. I walked in and saw him lying flat on his stomach looking at the bug. I got down on the floor and looked at it with him. It was a dragonfly. We took a picture of it with my iPhone, which I emailed to his Mom to print for school. For the remainder of our session we talked about dragonflies. Before he left, I gave him an assignment to study the symbolism of dragonflies and report back.
It was a magical moment. Never before had a giant bug hitched a ride on my shoulder as I walked into my office... and it hasn’t happened since.
That intelligent 14 year-old boy has Asperger’s disorder. Reading and playing video games are among his favorite things to do. He has a very strong sense of justice and fairness, and won’t tolerate variance in any form. Having extreme sensitivity to sound makes it difficult for him to concentrate in a classroom of chatty classmates. Last year his teacher had him keep his desk in the front corner of the classroom: not because he was in trouble, but because that’s where he felt the safest and farthest from multiple distractions that hurt his ears and challenged his sense of fairness.
Showers are not his favorite activity and looking cool doesn’t hold any importance to him. He is very good at playing checkers and when I asked him to teach me how to play chess; he attempted, but got bored with my slow progress. He kindly tried to help me win but I was hopeless. Structure is his friend. He craves family dinner; not only for the food, but for a landmark in the evening. His favorite food is frozen bean and cheese burritos.
He knows very well what it means to be bullied. He has been victimized many times, but he will not allow others to be treated unfairly. Imagining his favorite video game when others are taunting him is how he has learned to cope with unavoidable bullying, which is a big improvement over biting every time he is thrown a hook.
This year he attends the Spectrum Charter school, where only kids with Autism and Aspergers can go. He is is thriving! Finally a group of friends, and teachers who understand the importance of frequent breaks and other accommodations. He looks forward to going to school and enjoys playing basketball and gaming online with his new found friends.
As far as I know there is no cure for Aspergers Disorder, and I’m not sure there needs to be. What there needs to be is more tolerance and acceptance for people of all strengths and weaknesses. We need better educational accommodations for multiple learning styles, and environments that not only are safe, but feel safe to grow in. This much I do know: the individuals with Aspergers, with whom I have worked, are lonely and want to be connected to others – on their terms.
My work with these individuals has been about helping them to be more effective socially, and teaching them skills to better tolerate frustration. I once read a psychological assessment for one of my clients diagnosed with mild Aspergers. The treatment recommendations stressed the importance of finding a therapist who would take an interest in his life and personal growth. Without question, I consider that to be the key ingredient in every therapeutic process. Never have I seen that written in other psychological assessments for clients with different diagnoses, and for a number of reasons I don’t like what it implies.
As pioneers of peace, we are kind and accepting to all. We model valuing everyone for their unique contribution to this tapestry we call life. We teach the children in our lives, that not only does everyone wants to feel valuable, but that everyone IS valuable.
Here’s a thought… isn’t it time for those of us without this “disorder” to do our part by adapting our behavior to those who are different from us? (I use that term lightly, because there is always more about us that is alike than is not.) Or, isn’t it time to level the playing field by broadening our sensibilities, and capacity for frustration tolerance?
If you are interested in learning more about her, read one of the many books she has written, and watch the HBO movie Temple Grandin, winner of 7 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie.
As always, I plead with you to be a pioneer of peace and leave a comment. Share this post with those you know who might benefit from it, and if you would kindly like it on Facebook, I would greatly appreciate it. You never know whose life you might touch for good and the ripple effect it could have.
Shine on 🙂
I hope you have had a great week since I last posted. Did you get the chance to read my re-blogged post on Mr. Rogers? I took a lot of time improving and updating it and would like you to take a look-see.
Also I re-blogged a post from Http://parentingandstuff.wordpress.com/ which showed a Ted Talk called What’s So Funny About Mental Illness featuring comedian Ruby Wax who has bipolar disorder. She delivers a poignant message with a cup full of sugar, and it is well worth the 9 minutes it takes to watch.
*Disclaimer* This post is raw and unedited. Spelling and grammar mistakes abound so beware… and be kind 🙂
For the past couple of weeks I have been working on two posts. One will remain in the shadows until it is complete, but I want to share with you my plan for the second.
This week I was going to write about how to get things done when motivation isn’t anywhere to be found. I had some specific tips that I have found helpful to both myself and my clients that I was going to share, but as I started asking the people in my life what is hard for them to get started on, I learned this topic is much bigger and too important for one post. Let me walk you through my thought process…
1. I looked over the list of tasks people told me they have difficulty getting started on.
2. Then I wrote statements I have heard in connection with each of the challenges. For example:
“Homework!!! I dread doing my homework. I don’t like what I’m studying and I can’t see the point. I’d rather be eating Oreos and playing Call of Duty” *Another disclaimer: The statements I have written are a combination of my voice and others. They DO NOT represent any one person.
3. As I looked at the different statements it became clear to me that underneath each challenge, there are multiple reasons for not being able to get started…or cause lack of motivation
4. Looking at each statement, I listed the possible barriers. Take the homework issue for example
-Not seeing the importance of the task
-Really preferring to do something else
–Hobbies consuming attention
-Not wanting to do it because of making the wrong choice of study
5. After doing this with every statement I noticed a pattern which was really enlightening
6. I grouped the patterns into categories and came up with 9 reasons (to this point) for why getting things done is hard.
8. I asked myself how can we overcome a problem if we don’t understand it? That would be like someone giving you an answer without listening to your question… or cutting a tree down with a butter knife instead of an axe. I’m sure there is a better analogy, but you get the idea.
…So I have decided to create an ongoing series called the “The Power to Do”, which I hope will do justice to this essential topic.
Stay tuned…and thanks for you interest. Everyday, anywhere between 20-100 people are reading this blog. I know you all have great ideas and I would like your help in making “The Power To Do” meaningful by sending your comments and more importantly, your suggestions. Talk to your friends and if you are so inclined, ask them to become a reader.
Hope this all made sense to you. If you have any questions, just ask.
Shine on 🙂
Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.
“I believe so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex” Fred (Mr.) Rogers
I was born in Ohio, and at age 6 moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While our home was being built, we lived out of moving van boxes in an apartment close to the building site. It was the winter of 1963, and I remember it as being very cold and lonely. Many times I would wake up in the middle of the night with excruciating stomach pain which we later found out was a spastic colon due to stress. I missed my friends, my bedroom, and my sense of safety and security. My father was busy with his new important job, my sister was just enough older that she didn’t want anything to do with me, and my mother was busy managing the construction of our home. During that difficult time, the one bright spot in my life was coming home from school to watch Mr. Rogers. For half an hour everyday I didn’t feel alone because Mr. Rogers WAS my friend. At that time the show was black and white and still local, originating from Pittsburgh.
Time went by and when I grew up and had my own children, I welcomed Mr. Rogers back into my life, this time to teach my children about kindness, compassion, and being a good neighbor.
He taught my kids to slow down, and that they were perfect just the way they were; “I like you just the way you are,” we would often hear him say. My children grew up and I’m not sure where the time went, but before I knew it, I was watching the news and hearing that Mr. Rogers had died. I was deeply saddened. It was like losing the family member who could always be counted on to give the best guidance.
Last summer I was listening to NPR and heard the tail-end of an interview with Benjamin Wagner, an MTV producer, singer, songwriter who created a documentary called, Mr. Rogers and Me. He was very emotional as he shared his admiration, and to be honest, I was worried that it was just another piece of mockery. Despite that I immediately got on Amazon and bought the film. The day the DVD arrived, I tore it open and watched it. Artful, and a revealing window into Fred Roger’s world and life’s work, my expectations were far surpassed. Trust me…it’s well worth watching.
From the film, I learned that as a child he was the victim of bullying. Overweight and sickly, he was a target for name calling and threats. His parents advised him to ignore the abuse, telling him he was better then they were. His feelings of loneliness, sadness, and anger were not validated. Mr. Rogers said it made him “really mad” that the kids couldn’t see past his “shyness and fatness” and he was troubled by not being given permission to feel his emotions. After many years of struggling, he decided to reclaim his power by choosing to look for what was “essential and invisible to the eye” in everyone he met (the quintessential quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery‘s “The Little Prince“). From that point on he devoted his life to the lifting of others.
In 1969 he testified before Congress for Children’s Public Television which was in it’s infancy, and won a grant for twenty million dollars. In addition to his B.A in Music and a graduate degree in Divinity, he was the recipient of forty honorary degrees.
Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister, but never had a church. He saw children’s television as his ministry, and taught principles of acceptance, kindness and respect. Memories from his childhood inspired his most important teaching which was; “whatever is mentionable is manageable.” In teaching us to slow down, think a moment, accept our emotions, and be grateful, he embodied the spirit of mindfulness long before the mental health community endorsed it for its many physical and mental benefits. Those who knew him best said he was completely genuine in all places, in all times, and in everything he did. He provided self-esteem and safety for millions of children and their parents. “You can either be an accuser or an advocate,” was his creed. Being true to his teaching, Fred Rogers was an advocate for humanity and peace; a true Pioneer of Peace.
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor? ~ Amy Taylor (elephantjournal.com)
- Remembering a wonderful neighbor: Fred Rogers (storypockets.carnegielibrary.org)
- Remembering Fred Rogers, Myron Cope (wtae.com)
- The world’s most beloved neighbor, Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers’ (donnyprevette.wordpress.com)
- I Like You Just the Way You Are – A Lesson from Mr. Rogers (joanneeddy.com)
- The Wisdom of Mister Rogers (jesssmartsmiley.wordpress.com)
- 15 Interesting Mr. Rogers Facts (todayifoundout.com)
- Missing Mr. Rogers: Reflecting on the TV icon, a decade after his passing (misterrogersfables.com)
- Ina Hughs: Remembering Mr. Rogers’ gentle wisdom (knoxnews.com)