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from the West Wing

Well, last week I had one of those “just as everything seems to be going along on an even keel, something happens and suddenly the world is turned upside down” moments of my own. You might recall, I was in the middle of my West Wing article when I was suddenly called away. My husband was being taken to the ER at Northwest Hospital with a possible heart attack or stroke. Thankfully, all the big, bad things were ruled out and he was able to return home. The official discharge was undiagnosed vertigo; not a particularly pleasant ailment, but certainly not life threatening. For that we are most grateful. It’s interesting that I had just been writing about such experiences. If you remember, I was telling you about some friends of mine who had had their world suddenly turned upside down with the death of their 25-year-old daughter. I had also recounted the story of the death of Jesus and how it had turned the disciples’ world upside down. I’m even more convinced as I sit here this week that we have all faced these times in our lives; and if you have not, rest assured, no one is immune. The one thing that is certain, there will be times when, in the blink of an eye, everything will change. So how does one deal with these unexpected, life-changing experiences? I believe the answer lies in how we live our lives all the rest of the time. It’s how we live our lives in the “everything seems to be going along on an even keel” times. My dear friends...

from the West Wing

There are times in life when, just as everything seems to be going along on an even keel, something happens and suddenly the world is turned upside down. Last Thursday morning my phone rang. I recognized the name and wondered immediately why she would be calling me. Our typical communication is through text. I answered, greeted her and asked what was up. She immediately burst into tears and relayed that the daughter of a dear friend of ours had taken her own life. Suddenly the world stopped. How does one process that kind of information? I’m sure that each one of us, while possibly not going through the exact same situation, has had similar moments. We all hear news at times that is just beyond comprehension. So it was with the disciples. They had known their friend Jesus for three years. He had taught them so much. They had done so many things together. They had laughed, cried, eaten and traveled together. They had recognized him as a great leader and they knew, they just knew he would be the new king. Suddenly on the fateful night everything turned upside down; and before anything could be done, Jesus was gone. Dead. Buried. Gone. How could it be? Three days later, two of the disciples did the only thing they could think of to do. They returned home. It was too much. Their hopes had been dashed. There was nothing left. Home was predictable. True, it was less than perfect, but it was predictable. As they walked along the road, a stranger joined them and asked them why they were...

The West Wing

Allow me to share an article with you that I recently read. It is written by Sally Ogden, author of the book “Words Will Never Hurt Me.” I think she gives some excellent advice and tools for not only children, but for adults as well. “How do we prepare children to handle the difficult and critical people in the world? A great deal of attention has turned to the prevention of bullying in the schools. We will fall short of success if we don’t realize that changing the external world has its limitations. Some educators and parents would like to create a perfect world, prohibiting all cruel acts or apprehending all perpetrators. This is noble, but not realistic. How will they control what happens outside of school, at the mall, at sporting events, at parties, etc.? We can teach students how to change their responses and reactions to difficult situations. They can employ strategies that will create more peaceful interactions and diffuse the power of bullies. We can help children learn to: 1. Change how they think about criticism. Translation! If something said is mean, critical, or cruel, it’s coming from a place of pain in the person who said it. Kids can say to themselves: “The other guy isn’t doing too well right now. I don’t need to internalize this mean comment.” 2. Change how they respond. The key is not to engage in the bully’s plan. Children can use a response that shows that the bully does not have the ability to get them to act in a weak, childish, or retaliatory way. For example: *Use an...