James’ Story – Living Life as a Loser

James’ Story – Living Life as a Loser

“No Way!” James almost shouted at his best friend, Robert. The boys, both eleven, had been friends since pre-school. They were walking home from school and Robert had made a ridiculous suggestion that they should join the Boy Scouts.

“Scouts are just losers and dorks,” James continued. “Besides, they would never accept us. We don’t know anybody in Scouts!”

James had always felt like a loser. Well, not always. Just since his mother had married that guy. James never knew his dad who had died when James was a baby. For three years it had been just James and his mom. Then she married again, and James’ life had taken a turn for the worse.

The guy never physically abused James. He just never accepted or approved anything James did.

If James built a stack of blocks, the guy would get up to get a beer and kick the blocks as he walked by.

Whatever James was watching on TV, the guy would always change the channel telling James he was watching crap.

James couldn’t sit right (quit squirming), eat right (don’t eat so fast; or don’t mess around with your food), play right (you throw like a girl), or sleep right (don’t wet the bed, even though James never did).

He either ignored or ridiculed James’ good school work and simply ignored the rest.

Whenever Mom would pull James into her lap and cuddle with him, the guy would tell her to stop wasting her time on that loser and then stomp out of the room. Mom would sadly slide James out of her lap and follow the guy.

James felt like everything he did was going to be criticized or put down. He did his school work and prayed when he turned it in that Teacher would not call on him to read his report or even to answer a question.

He didn’t like sports because there were too many opportunities to screw up. He and Robert played ball, skated, and shot baskets together, but James wouldn’t put himself at risk in front of anyone else.

So James truly believed himself a loser and then later when he and Robert began playing video games, he decided he had become a nerd, too.

James and Robert were great friends and spent all their free time together. Robert was only a little less a loser than James, in James’ opinion, but that was okay. They were comfortable doing things together and could talk freely.

Robert once had asked James why he felt he was a loser. James had thought about that a lot. The only thing he could figure out was that when he started to do something, anything, he would think about that guy putting him down. Even just lying in bed thinking about doing something new would flood his mind with the times the guy would belittle him or his mother would give in to the guy. His thoughts always told him he was an incompetent loser.

Even though his mother had divorced the guy when James was eight, even now, three years later, he could still hear the guy calling him a loser.

Now that he had a friend in Robert who accepted him, James was sort of content. Things weren’t great, but they weren’t awful either.

Then Robert had started talking about the Scouts. It sounded interesting to do the things Scouts do, but James knew that it was just a matter of time before they noticed what a loser he was and he’d have to sit on the log in the dark farthest from the campfire.

Today Robert had said they should go to the meeting in the church basement tonight and James had called them all losers and dorks.

Robert laughed. “Then it’s a perfect fit. You say you’re a loser and a dork; and you say they are losers and dorks. Couldn’t be better! I’ll come by your house at 6:30 and we’ll walk to the church.”

Robert’s only fault that bugged James sometimes was that he could so easily turn James’ words into a logical argument against him. James shrugged and gave in, even though he certainly wasn’t excited at the prospect.

Robert had somehow come up with two application forms and he gave one to James to have his mother complete. She gave him a check for the enrollment fee and the Scout Handbook like it said in the application.

At 6:30, Robert showed up and they strolled over to the meeting.

It wasn’t too bad. James and Robert knew a few of the boys from school. There were two other new kids. They didn’t know the older boys and some of the scouts were home-school boys from around town who they didn’t know. The adults made all the new boys feel welcome and most of the kids introduced themselves.

One of the older boys gave a presentation about an upcoming camp-out and then they broke up into small groups to work on rank, whatever that meant. James and Robert and a few other boys were in a group called Basic Scouts led by a fourteen year-old named Michel.

Michael gave them new Scout Handbooks and they looked at the section for earning the first rank of Scout. It involved mostly memorizing and reciting stuff like the Scout Law and the Scout Oath and James decided he could do that. Maybe he could even recite it in a small group like this.

James and Robert decided as they walked home to work on the Law and Oath and recite it next week at the meeting.

Over several weeks, they enjoyed the meetings and James was able to pass his Scout requirements including one overnight campout. And they started working on Tenderfoot in a class led by Garth, a freshman in high school. There were five boys working on Tenderfoot.

The biggest requirement was a camp-out that was scheduled for a weekend next month. At the campout they would learn all sorts of things like map reading, how to build a campfire, and how to sharpen and handle a knife and hatchet. They would learn the first aid stuff and other stuff in scout meetings.

James started getting nervous. Garth picked up on it and asked him about it after the meeting. James told him that he didn’t usually do well on new stuff and he was afraid he would make a mistake. Garth assured him he wouldn’t let James to that.

The next week, Scoutmaster Jenkins came over and watched the tenderfoot group work. When they finished the practice splints, Mr. Jenkins asked James if he had a minute for a Scoutmaster conference. James didn’t know what this was, but he agreed and they went over to the table where the Assistant Scoutmaster was sitting.

Mr. Jenkins asked James how things were going so far and James responded with the right answers, he hoped. He must have been doing okay because the conversation kept going with both men asking questions about the activities and with James responding.

This was new for him. He wasn’t used to people other than teachers showing him this kind of respect. Then Mr. Jenkins asked James to describe himself as he thought other people saw him.

After a pause, James slowly replied, “I think that most people think I’m a nerd; maybe even a loser. I don’t do things very well and I make a lot of mistakes.”

When James didn’t say anything else, Mr. Jenkins responded, “James, here at scouts, we have not formed that opinion of you at all. I talked with Garth and Michael and they both tell me that you are very capable and that your work is as good as any other new scout.”

“James,” he continued, “I don’t want to know your story because that’s personal with you; but I suspect that when you do new things or when you’re around new people, you start thinking about what a loser you are and how you’re going to mess up. Is that about right?”

Sort of surprised about how Mr. Jenkins knew that, James acknowledged, “Yes, sir.”

“James, you did very well with the Scout Law. Can I share with you three more laws that aren’t in the Scout Handbook? I call them ‘Life Laws’.”

“Yes, sir”

Three Life Laws

Life Law 1 – Whenever a thought enters your mind that will cause you pain or keep you from being the best you can be, you say to yourself out loud, “I will not think about that.” When the thought comes back, and it will, you say it again, “I will not think about that.”

Mr. Jenkins explained that this idea had been around for thousands of years and it’s even mentioned in the Bible. “We simply do not have to let negative thoughts control our lives,” he said.

He explained that we can get so distracted by negative thinking that we sometimes aren’t able to do the things what we’re perfectly capable of doing.

“The reason this works so well is Life Law 2.”

Life Law 2 – When you consistently practice the first law, negative thoughts will come to you less and less frequently until you really don’t think about them at all.

He explained that we all have a part of our mind, called the subconscious, which has the role of helping us be happy and content. If our subconscious thinks that we are happy thinking about negative things and getting all worked up all the time, it will keep feeding us those negative thoughts so we can be happy.

But if our subconscious hears us saying “I will not think about that,” consistently, it will learn over time that we don’t really want to think about those things and it will stop sending those negative thoughts to us. It’s like our subconscious blocks those negative thoughts and temptations automatically.

Mr. Jenkins said that he’s sure this works because he has shared the Three Life Laws with his own family and employees and with dozens of scouts; and it works every time. He said they all have learned to break the habit of negative thinking and create the habit of peace.

Life Law 3 – Use your habit of peace to make the best decisions for you and your family.

When we’re not spending all our time thinking about negative things, we have peace. We can use this peaceful time to think about ways to get along better with others, to do the right things, and to better ourselves for the future.

He asked James if the laws made sense to him. When James responded with a “yes,” Mr. Jenkins continued.

“Here’s what I want you to do. Put this index card in your Scout Handbook. Notice that I have put blocks for each day of the week. Every time you discover a negative thought has popped into your mind, I want you to say out loud to yourself, ‘I will not think about that.’ If you’re in class or church or someplace where talking would be inappropriate, put your hand over your mouth like you’re yawning and say softly, ‘I will not think about that.’

“Then put a check mark on the card in the block for that day every time you dismiss one of those negative thoughts. Bring the card back with you next week. Will you do this?”

James probably looked a little doubtful. Mr. Jenkins suggested, ”James, I suspect that you have a negative thought right now telling you that this idea will never work for you. This is a good place to start.”

James smiled and said, “Yes, sir.” As he walked back to his group, he said to himself, “I will not think about this.”

Garth brought him up to date on the camp-trip planning. “James, you have the assignment of helping plan a menu and a budget for making macaroni and cheese for 30 people. Work with your mother and use any resources you have to bring that back to our meeting next week.”

On the way home, Robert was going on about his assignment which was working on a plan to break down the campsite and making sure that everything was back as close to nature as it could be.

Then he asked James about his meeting with Mr. Jenkins. James told him about the Three Life Laws and his assignment for the week. He made Robert promise not to laugh if he heard James saying to himself, “I will not think about that.” Robert promised.

Over the week, he noticed something interesting about his card. The first day he just about filled up the space for check marks meaning he had dismissed a bunch of negative thoughts. The next day, there was two less. He thought back through his day and decided that he hadn’t forgotten anything.

Each day the number of checks was one or two less than the day before. When he gave the card back to Mr. Jenkins at the next scout meeting, Mr. Jenkins smiled and said, “That’s exactly what I expected you to show me.” He then gave James a fresh card and suggested that he keep on applying Life Law 1.

Garth was pleased with his planning for the mac and cheese and he assigned both James and Robert to be on the shopping team to buy the provisions.

The next week, Mr. Jenkins noted his continued progress and told James that Life Law 2 was beginning to work for him; his subconscious was actually giving him fewer and fewer negative thoughts. The card was the evidence.

He began to apply Life Law 1 to other things; like, dreading handing in an assignment, an occasional thought about the guy his mother had married, or worrying that he was going to do something dorky in PE at school.

James and Robert had a great time sharing a tent on the camping trip. The scouts loved his macaroni and cheese. The older scouts led the advancement tasks and all of them congratulated both boys when they passed all their remaining Tenderfoot requirements.

School was more fun and James even surprised himself by suggesting that he and Robert go out for Little League.

James was so excited about the Three Life Laws, he taught him to Robert to use with a couple of issues he had talked about.

James and Robert earned two merit badges that spring and planned to earn more at summer camp. Even though he wasn’t even Second Class yet, James already had a plan for earning his Eagle rank by ninth grade.

As James and Robert walked home from baseball one day, Robert chided him; “James, you know what? You’re not a loser any more; or a dork either.”

James laughed and replied, “I’ll never feel what way again. I know now what to do when of any negative thought pops into my mind.”

He went on, “I don’t know what I’m going to be, but I know I’m going to do something where I can share the Three Life Laws with all the little losers and dorks I can find.”

“Great plan,” Robert said as they high-fived. They laughed and talked about summer camp the rest of the way home.

The end.

This fictional story introduces a principle that has been around for thousands of years. In addition to the Bible, philosophers like Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare, and others have written or spoken about our wonderful capacity to train ourselves not to ruminate on negative thoughts and to minimize the effects of emotional or physical pain in our lives. The danger of ruminating on emotional pain is, in addition to more pain, stress, depression, anxiety, emotional issues, and worse.

Children can easily understand the simple principles of the Three Life Laws. The laws work for many negative emotions that result from almost any negative thinking.

Although the author was a volunteer scout leader in years past, this story in no way claims to be representative of official BSA policy or programs.

 This concept is explained fully in an online eCourse called Finding Personal Peacehttp://findingpersonalpeace.com. The course leads you through these life laws and also covers topics like making good decisions, and dealing with serious stuff like death, illness, abuse, and addiction.

The eCourse leads one through a process of turning a habit of being a loser into a habit of success. You can read other short stories on life issues by searching the category, Short Stories, at the right.

Copyright 2014 findingpersonalpeace.com. Birmingham, Al USA. All rights reserved.

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Roberta’s Story – Saving Children Ten at a Time

Roberta’s Story – Saving Children Ten at a TimeRuth Stratton looked up at a soft knock at her door. Ruth had been principal of Barnard Middle School for five years. She had about 400 students and her school was one of two feeder schools for Central High School in their Midwestern town.

Standing in the door was Lisa Perkins, her guidance counselor, with a short stack of file folders in her hands. This did not generally mean good news, so Ruth held up a finger asking for a minute; cleared the top of her desk; and then asked Lisa to take a seat.

Knowing that both women were busy, Lisa got straight to the point.

“Over the past few days, I’ve been reviewing some of the students I see on a regular basis and I’ve found something that is really unusual,” Lisa began.

“What’s wrong?” interrupted Ruth, expecting the worst.

“Oh, there’s nothing wrong! In fact, I think something is happening that’s very good and I wanted you to see what I’ve found.”

Lisa slid three student folders across the desk and asked Ruth to take a look at them. Ruth scanned them and commented that it looks like three students are doing very well.

“That’s true,” said Lisa, “but up until last year all three were regular visitors in my office. I like to look at old cases to follow up on the students and these three were just some of the ones that popped out. It’s just not typical to see students moving so quickly from bad behavior to much improved behavior.”

Ruth looked back at the folders and noted, “These children are all in CPS (Child Protective Services).”

“That’s right. We have a total of 17 students right now that are in CPS. These three are doing very well and the rest are performing pretty much as we expect from CPS students. That made me curious.”

“Take a look at the responsible party. They are all under the care of a Roberta Stern. That, in itself, is unusual with a single woman acting as the foster parent. But it gets more interesting.”

“And if you look at the history, you’ll see that most of the unacceptable behavior came when the students were in a prior foster home; and the desirable behavior began about the time that Ms. Stern became their guardian.

“I did a system-wide computer search for students at that address. I found three in the elementary school and four more in the high school. When I call the counselors at both schools, I found the same patterns: troubled behavior moving to good behavior coincident with the child being moved into Ms. Stern’s care.”

Ruth thought about this for a minute. “This has gotten my curiosity piqued. I’m thinking that we don’t spend enough time looking at students who are performing well both socially and academically. See if you can get us an appointment with Ms. Stern. I’d like to know what she’s doing to help these children.”

Meeting with Roberta Stern

When the receptionist announced her 3:30 appointment, Ruth Stratton looked up to see Lisa Perkins in the doorway with a plain, but neatly dressed, woman who appeared to be in her early to mid-forties, whom she introduced as Roberta Stern.

“Ms. Stern,” Ruth welcomed her, “it’s so nice to see you. Won’t you both come in and have a seat.”

“It’s Roberta, if you don’t mind. When I hear Ms. Stern, I want to look around to see if my mother-in-law has come in.”

“Then, I’m Ruth and this is Lisa, who I expect you’ve already met. We appreciate your coming by today. We want to talk with you about your children.”

“Oh, please don’t tell me that one of them is in trouble,” Roberta, her face flooded with concern.

“No, no – quite the opposite. All your children are doing very well, both socially and academically. That’s why we asked you to come by. Your children don’t fit what we usually see with CPS children and we understand that your other children in both the elementary and high schools are all performing much the same.”

“You’re obviously doing something right. We’re just curious about your secret. If all students behaved as well as yours, Lisa wouldn’t have nearly the workload she has today.”

Roberta’s Story

“Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Mr. Stern?”

“It’s just me. My husband, Sergeant James Stern, was lost in 2004 in Afghanistan to an IED. We had been married 12 years and he was career Army. But we were never able to have children.”

“We’re so sorry,” Lisa interjected.

“Thank you, I am too. But I guess losing him is why I’m here today.”

“We always wanted a family, my husband and I. We both grew up in large families; but I guess those genes stopped with us. After he died, my pastor asked me if I would consider taking foster children into my home.”

“After praying and with the promise of support from the church, I took two kids, a brother and sister, aged 17and 14 into my home. It was pretty hard because they both had some issues. We struggled greatly, but with a lot of prayer, the boy is now in the Army and doing well and the girl is in community college studying nursing.”

“But like I told my pastor and the CPS caseworker, I couldn’t do that again without having a plan. So here’s what I did.”

Roberta’s Plan

“Both my husband and I had learned that there is power in numbers in a large family. It’s much easier for seven or eight to love and support each other than it is for one to love and support one or two.”

“I also knew that there had to be some way to help these children get rid of the baggage they bring with them. It’s unspeakable how some of them have been neglected or abused. And the older they are, the more weight they carry.”

“Children basically want to be loved and to be secure. When that is torn away from them, they can build some terrible walls to protect themselves. Lisa, that’s why I expect you see so many CPS kids here on social issues. Kids’ walls keep getting tangled up with other kids and trouble starts.”

“So I did two things. First, I went to my pastor and told him that I would not be a foster parent for just one or two kids. But I would consider foster parenting a group home with eight to ten kids if I had the support of the church and the community.”

“Then I went to my husband’s Auntie Frances who had herself raised ten children without a husband around. I wanted to know her secret.”

Auntie Frances’ Story

“Auntie Francis told me that all she had learned came from her Granny Sims, who was a child of freed slaves, who heaven knows could themselves have some powerful baggage to carry around. She told me Three Secrets to Success in Life. I teach these secrets to every one of my kids today.”

Three Secrets

Secret 1 – Whenever a thought enters your mind that will cause you pain or tempt you to get into trouble, you say to yourself out loud, “I will not think about that.” When the thought comes back, and it will, you say it again, “I will not think about that.”

Auntie Frances said she didn’t know how this worked until she talked to her preacher about it. He told her that the Apostle Paul said in the Bible, “…we take these thoughts captive,” and that’s what we do when we refuse to think about something negative or tempting.

Later on, one of her children studied some philosophy and told her that Confucius, William Shakespeare, Martin Luther, and others had said pretty much the same thing for over two thousand years.

Secret 2 – When you consistently practice Secret 1, negative thoughts or temptations will come less and less until you really don’t think about them at all.

She told me that one of her grandchildren, who also lived by the secrets, told her how this part worked. She says that we have a part of our mind, called the subconscious, which has the job of helping us be happy and content. If our subconscious thinks that we are happy thinking about negative things and getting all worked up all the time, it will keep feeding us those negative thoughts so we can be happy.

But if our subconscious hears us saying “I will not think about that,” consistently, it will learn over time that we don’t want to think about those things and it will stop sending those negative  thoughts or temptations to us. It’s like our subconscious blocks those negative thoughts and temptations automatically.

Auntie Frances said that this made a lot of sense to her and she has four generations in her family practicing the secrets to prove it. She says they have learned to break the habit of stress and create the habit of peace.

Secret 3 – Use your habit of peace to make the best decisions for you and your family.

When we’re not spending all our time thinking about negative things, we have peace. We can use this peaceful time to think about ways to get along better with others, to do the right things, and to better ourselves for the future.

Roberta’s story continues

Roberta’s Story – Saving Children Ten at a Time“I’ll be honest”, she said, “I had some hard times dealing with losing my husband. I began to use the Three Secrets in my own life and I found peace for the first time since he died. I still missed him, but I wasn’t grieving over it to the point that it held me back.”

“About this time, the pastor came to me and told me the church owned a house with six bedrooms and a big lot. It was old, but it was serviceable. He had talked to the Board and he had talked to the neighbors near the house, and all had agreed that if the church would sponsor it, and I would serve as the foster mother, they would petition CPS to open a group home for kids.”

“Long story short, I prayed and agreed; the church petitioned CPS and they agreed; and the next summer, the next four foster kids, who are now in high school, came to live with me.”

Roberta explained that it took some structure to make all this happen; and she detailed how it evolved to what’s working so well today.

Every child has what she calls “settling in” time. This is the time when she teaches them the Three Secrets. She learned early on that you can’t really affect behavior before the demons are removed; and these foster kids are carrying some really big baggage demons on their little shoulders. Secrets 1 and 2 help them get rid of the baggage.

The only chore each child has from day one is doing their own laundry. Roberta had a large storage closet filled with good clothes she gets from the Salvation Army or the church clothing closet. Each child can pick three sets of clothing that they like. She decided on three sets because they would have to do their laundry every three days and that would give her time alone with the child while they do their laundry. The laundry time is when she can spend personal time with each child.

This is where she explained Secrets 1 and 2. Of course, secret 2 is automatic if they do Secret 1 consistently.

She tells them that she doesn’t want to know about their past. There really not too much they could do about that anyway. She would explain Secret 1 and encourage them to start dismissing their negative thoughts.

She uses following laundry sessions to inquire how Secret 1 is working and to encourage the children. That usually takes about the time it takes for the tub to fill; so they spent the rest of their laundry time talking about anything that becomes handy to talk about.

After a month, the habit of peace is beginning to take hold and the child is becoming “settled in.” Roberta then begins talking about Secret 3 – thinking about family and future. It isn’t too hard because the child is usually getting comfortable in the home by this time and with the baggage dropping off their backs.

Her laundry sessions are important. She leads age-specific conversations on a wide range of subjects including respect, privacy, personal space, shared responsibility, sexuality, dating, life choices, and marriage. She talks about finances, budgeting, planning, and taking responsibility.

Roberta picks an older child to be a “special” big brother or sister for the new child. This helps ease them into the family routines which are crucial in a big family.

The older children all share the cooking and marketing with Roberta’s help. She teaches all the children how to clean their rooms and to share in cleaning the house. They all work together to keep up the lawn and shrubs.

If a child starts balking about something, often a big sister or brother will talk with the child about the Secrets and encourage them to think of the importance of being part of the family and the importance of thinking about the future.

Roberta uses laundry time as private time with child. Here she can also teach each child to mend their clothing if it gets torn or loses a button. After laundry time, if they have outgrown a garment or are just tired of it, they can take the clean, repaired and folded garment back to the clothes pantry and select a replacement.

After supper comes study time and often older students will help the younger ones with their homework. The children learn to share their reports with their brothers and sisters and encouragement is the rule. They learn to use computers to research projects. Several have learned to make PowerPoint presentations which they share with the family.

Meal time is used to share events of the day and things coming up. Sometimes kids will bring up issues from school and often one kid would say to another, “Think about the secrets.” But they always listen carefully before they respond. That’s part of the respect they are learning.

Meal time is followed by game time. They don’t have TV or smart phones. They carry a limited-minutes cell phone in their backpacks for emergencies. Their CPS stipend is used to pay for the cell phones.

Every child is responsible for signing out on a whiteboard so everybody always knew where everybody is all the time. With ten kids, it’s easy to lose one.

Roberta teaches the kids to keep a journal every day just as she keeps a journal on each child. She retrieved hers from her purse and held it up as an example. When Ruth asked if she could see it, Roberta declined, saying that all the journals were personal.

If kids start hanging with the wrong people or heading toward some other trouble, brothers or sisters would often try to deal with it kid-to-kid. If that doesn’t work, the concerned child would quietly tell Roberta and that became good laundry-time material.

Roberta isn’t too concerned about romances in the home because the kids really are more like brothers and sisters. They all learn how to dress, talk, and act modestly. Older kids are allowed to date, but the girls couldn’t go out with a boy until he had come over for a Sunday dinner. Roberta laughs at the thought of some of these dinner-table inspections. But the kids feel comfortable dating within the family policy.

She said her kids participate in sports and take music lessons. They attend each others games and recitals. They swap chores when one has a conflict. They have become a family in every sense of the word except genetics.

Over time, the family becomes a secure rock for each child. They know they are loved, respected, and accepted there; and they know that other people are pulling for them as well as depending on them.

They always have a big Sunday dinner. When the kids age-out of foster care at age eighteen, they are always welcome to come back for Sunday dinner. Roberta expects that before long, they’ll have to make this a pot-luck dinner because she could envision twenty or thirty people or more coming back to visit their family bringing their own families with them.

The church is planning to add a guest house on the property so kids coming back home to visit can have a place to stay.

Kids learn how to do minor repairs around the house, googling for instructions and borrowing tools from the church maintenance team. They learn how to plan the project and budget for materials.

They all, boys and girls alike, learn how to change the oil and rotate the tires on their car and van. They clean and wax the vehicles to keep them nice. They check the oil and keep a maintenance log.

Church and community members give the kids jobs. They learn how to set up accounts at the credit union and account for their money. They write resumes to apply for jobs.

Part of their CPS stipend goes into a vacation account and they all go to the beach or the mountains each summer. The kids plan the vacation.

Since Roberta doesn’t have to buy clothes so much, part of their stipend goes to them for spending money.

Roberta ended her story by saying, “It’s amazing what children can do for themselves and for each other once they get rid of the baggage they had been carrying around in their young minds.”

Ruth and Liz sat there totally amazed with what this woman was accomplishing with her Three Secrets; and the evidence was in the folders in their hands. They were almost speechless. Finally, Liz spoke up, “That is utterly amazing, what you’ve told us!”

Ruth agreed. “I would have said the same thing eight years ago. But I have seen the Three Secrets work in my ten kids; and I see them working in four generations of Auntie Frances’ family.”

She continued, “I’m convinced that any family or any individual can succeed in life if they can just unload the emotional baggage most people carry around. I’m just as convinced that people can only pretend to be happy if they can’t dump that baggage.”

“The Three Secrets are letting my kids be free to be everything they were meant to be and I’m just glad to be part of the experience.”

The end.

This fictional story introduces a principle that has been around for thousands of years. In addition to the Bible, philosophers like Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare, and others have written or spoken about our wonderful capacity to train ourselves not to ruminate on negative thoughts and to minimize the effects of emotional or physical pain in our lives. The danger of ruminating on emotional pain is, in addition to more pain, stress, depression, anxiety, emotional issues, and worse.

Your children can understand the simple principles of the Three Secrets. The Secrets work for many negative emotions that result from almost any negative thinking.

 This concept is explained fully in an online eCourse called Finding Personal Peace – http://findingpersonalpeace.com. The course leads one through these secrets and covers topics like making good decisions, and dealing with serious stuff like death, illness, abuse, and addiction.

The eCourse leads one through a process of turning a habit of sadness into a habit of peace. You can read other short stories on life issues by searching the category, Short Stories, at the right.

Copyright 2014 findingpersonalpeace.com. Birmingham, Al USA. All rights reserved.

Alicia’s Story – A Girl Deals with Timidity and Shyness

Alicia’s Story – A Girl Deals with Timidity and ShynessAlicia strode briskly into the law offices of Pettinger and Payne, one of the leading litigation firms in the city. As she gracefully crossed the waiting room, the receptionist noted that she was wearing an Armani wool pant suit, navy blue, and what appeared to be a Rovena Ruffle silk blouse, white.  She wore Prada black pumps and carried a Montblanc leather briefcase slung over her shoulder. Everything about her suggested confidence including the classic hair style that curled just under her jaw line and her understated makeup. Undoubtedly she was Mr. Pettinger’s 10:00 o’clock appointment who had appeared 10 minutes early.

Alicia introduced herself and was invited to take a seat; “Mr. Pettinger will be with you shortly.”

Alicia knew the impression she made. It was calculated but not arrogant. She intended to present herself as someone who knew who she was; what she was doing; and where she was going. Which was the truth.

Alicia was a graduate of an Ivy League law school having been admitted after scoring in the top 2% on her LSAT.

She was a summa cum laude graduate of a large Midwestern university majoring in psychology with a minor in English.

The woman waiting for her appointment could not have been more different from the 8-year-old Alica whom she thought of daily. The frequent flashbacks were nothing but simple reminders of how far she had traveled over the past 17 years – from a shy, timid mousey girl slipping, hopefully unnoticed, into any room to the attractive, proficient, professional young woman waiting for an important appointment.

Alicia had never figured out why she had been so timid. Perhaps it was hereditary. Her mother was a quiet, hardworking woman who had provided well for Alicia; and certainly had loved her unconditionally. She had often praised Alicia for excellent school work; but every encouragement was bracketed by a reminder: “But, we are simple people who work hard and we know our place.”

By that, Alicia had come to realize that her mother believed them to be a lower class and less privileged than other people; and that they should be content to assume that place in life without making waves.

Alicia had worn clean, well-mended clothes, often last year’s styles that her mother had found in a thrift store. She ate her lunches from a brown bag brought from home while her classmates selected their food from the lunch bar options at school.

Alicia could never remember being bullied other than the quiet, unrelenting pain of simply being not noticed.

She didn’t mind that so much. If she had had her way, she would have morphed into a desk so she wouldn’t be noticed at all.

She was a good, no, she was an excellent, student always knowing the answers; and always not raising her hand because she an uncontrollable reaction of blushing beet red whenever her name was called in the classroom.

She only had one friend, Valerie, who was only slightly less timid than Alicia. They spent time together, talked and shared freely, and maintained a steady wall of protection from the rest of the class; well, the rest of the world. They had been friends since first grade and planned to spend their lives as BFF’s, using the Facebook slang, with each other and nobody else.

At least that’s the way they planned it.

In 3rd grade, starved for things they could do together other than homework, they decided to join the Girls’ Club which had an after-school program; and which both their mothers had agreed that the cost was within their means.

There were maybe 30 girls who came to the club on a regular basis. Alicia and Valerie walked there after school and played, talked, and studied until around 5:30 when their mothers picked them up.

They didn’t really socialize with the other girls, even though there were invitations to join in group activities. They were content to spend time together and participate in 9-year-old life as observers, not participants.

That plan didn’t last forever.

In the summer before 5th grade, Valerie and her mother moved to another city, leaving Alicia alone, without a friend, for the first time in her life. Maybe, she reasoned, this was to be her station in life like her mother predicted.

Her loneliness didn’t go unnoticed.

Martha was a college student working at the Girls’ Club as a summer program intern. She was fun and planned great activities for the girls; all of which Alicia watched pleasantly from the corner chair that she claimed as her personal domain.

Martha let this ride for a few days. She always invited Alicia to join in the activities and always accepted Alicia’s quiet, “No, thank you.”

Well, for a few days she accepted it. Then one day, Martha started a group activity with the rest of the girls; waited until they all got started; and then pulled a chair just outside Alicia’s comfort zone.

“Hi,” Martha said. “Mind if we talk for a bit?”

“No,” Alicia responded hesitantly. Where was this going?

“I have a question for you, Alicia.”

“Have you noticed that I have a lot of confidence; that I seem to be well-organized; and that I am comfortable leading you girls in the activities here at girl’s club?”

“Yes.”

“Well, would you believe that I have not always been this way?”

Interested, Alicia asked, “What do you mean?”

“Let me put it this way,” Martha began. “If I were to look at a picture of myself at about your age, I would see you.”

“When I was 11 years old, I was basically happy, I did well in school. I got along well with others because I didn’t assert myself into their world.”

“I was also very timid. I was embarrassed when I was singled out by a teacher even though I almost always knew the answer to her question. When someone spoke to me, I would invariably blush, took down at my shoes, and then speak my one or two-word response to their knees. I couldn’t look them in the eye; and I would never dare approach someone to speak to them first.”

“Are you still with me?” she asked; and Alicia nodded meekly.

Martha continued, “A question you may be asking yourself is ‘How can that be? How did she become a confident instructor here at Girls’ Club?’”

“No,” Alicia challenged, “Actually I’m thinking that any adult could learn how to lead a group of kids in doing things to avoid boredom. That’s not exactly high-level stuff.”

“Well, Alicia, would it surprise you to know that I was the captain of the debate team and a majorette in high school? Would it surprise you to know that I was elected class officer all four years in high school? Would it surprise you to know that I’m the leader of my study group in college?”

“So you’re saying that you went from being ‘me’ to being all those things?” Alicia asked.

“Yes!” Martha replied. She waited as if it was Alicia’s turn to talk, but Alicia didn’t respond.

Finally Martha asked, “If there were a way you could have the confidence to do all the things that interest you and meet the people that interest you, would you like to know more about that?”

Alicia sighed to acknowledge that she understood the question, collected her thoughts for a moment, and then agreed, “Yes, if all that were possible, I would like to know how I can do that.”

“Great!” Martha’s smile was warm and sincere. “I’m going to share with you Three Secrets that my aunt shared with me when I was your age. Those secrets changed my perspective on life. I’ll give you the first one today and then we’ll make an appointment to meet again every three or four days. Agreed?”

“I agree,” answered Alicia, still skeptical.

“Okay! Now I’ll give you the first secret today after I give you some background.”

“It’s not important why you’re shy and timid. I’m not going to ask you about anything at home except to ask you this. Are you afraid at home? Is anything happening outside of school or Girls’ Club that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable? [Note: Alicia didn’t realize this at the time, but Martha was screening to see if there were issues like abuse or neglect in Alicia’s life. Had there been, other action would have been appropriate.]

“No,” Alicia answered, “Things are fine at home and things are fine at school so long as I can sit quietly and not be noticed by anyone.”

“Okay. Here’s Secret 1

“Whenever you walk into a new situation, do you think to yourself, ‘I’m not really meant to be here and I hope nobody notices me.’?”

“Yes,” replied Alicia, “I think that and I think that all these people are somehow better than me and I don’t belong here.”

“Well, Secret 1 is this:

Secret 1: Whenever a negative thought pops into you mind like that, you say to yourself, “I will not think about that.” Then you go ahead with what you’re doing. If the thought pops up again, say again, “I will not think about that.” You can say it softly, but you must say it out load to yourself.

“Alicia, you won’t notice any difference at first. But I promise you that if you apply Secret 1 consistently, it will make a difference. Will you do that?”

When Alicia said she could do that, Martha said, “Okay, today is Monday. Let’s have our next meeting on Thursday. I’ll be sitting right here at 10:00 o’ clock. I want you to walk up and tell me how it’s going with Secret 1. Agreed?”

They agreed to meet in three days.

Alicia sat there for a time and then saw some girls setting up a board game. She thought to herself, we might as well see how this works.

As she walked across the room, a thought popped into her mind telling her that she was going to be embarrassed and everybody would laugh at her. She immediately said out loud, “I’m not going to think about that.” The thought went away.

She was almost there and the thought popped up again. She discreetly put her hand over her mouth and said, “I’m not going to think about that.” The next words out of her mouth were, “Can I play?” and she sat down and quietly enjoyed the board game with three other girls.

Over the next three days, she applied Secret 1 at Girls’ Club, with a clerk at the corner store, and with a lady at the library. It worked every time: the negative thought went away. Sometimes she had to say it twice, but it always went away.

On Thursday, she saw Martha sitting in the chair at 10 o’clock and she started to walk over for her appointment. A thought popped up saying this is crazy. This will never work for you.” Alicia softly applied Secret 1 and walked over and sat down by Martha.

Remembering that Martha had told her that she had to initiate the conversation, she dismissed the negative thought by whispering Secret 1 into her hand and said to Martha, “I’ve applied Secret 1 several times every day this week, including just now as I walked over here, and it has worked every time. Sometimes I have to say “I’m not going to think about this” more than one time, but it has worked every time.

“That’s wonderful,” Martha said, “that’s exactly what I expected you would say. That’s exactly how Secret 1 works for me.”

Works for me, did you say? Do you mean that you still use Secret 1?”

“Oh, yes. I use it every time a negative thought pops into my mind; and it always works.”

“Wow, you must be doing this all the time,” Alicia asked.

“No,” Martha answered; “Secret 2 talks about that. Are you ready for Secret 2?”

Alicia was excited. “Yes, please!”

Secret 2 makes this idea very easy. It’s not something you have to do, like in Secret 1. Secret 2 is that you have a part of your mind called the subconscious mind. Among other things, your subconscious mind likes to help you be happy. If you like to think about negative things like, “I don’t belong here,” your subconscious mind will continue to give you negative thinks to think about.”

“But!” Martha said excitedly, “if your subconscious mind learns that you don’t want to think about negative things, it will automatically respond with Secret 1 for you, and it filters or blocks that negative thought away from your conscious mind.”

“After a time, say three or four weeks, your subconscious mind will be completely blocking that negative thought from you. Isn’t that great?”

Alicia was still a little skeptical. “Is this some sort of hypnosis or a cult thing like is on TV sometimes.”

“Oh no! It’s just the way every one of us is made. Many wise people have taught this principle.

For example, Confucius said, To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” By that he meant that any pain or negative thought doesn’t mean anything unless you continue to think about it or dwell on it.

Julius Caesar said, As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men’s minds more seriously than what they see.” He meant that people tend to be more disturbed and frustrated by something that happened in the past or something they only thought happened, rather than by what is happening now.

One more: St Paul said in the Bible, “We take captive every thought…” Simply put, if a thought bothers you or makes you feel bad, take it captive. That’s what you’re doing in Secret 1.

“So to answer your question, this is just the way humans are made. We can control what we choose to think about; and our subconscious helps us by learning what we want to think about and blocking out what we don’t want to think about.”

“So to conclude this meeting, Alicia, keep on applying Secret 1, and be looking for other places where you can apply it. Let’s meet again on Tuesday, okay?”

The weekend was pretty much the same. She applied Secret 1 whenever a negative thought popped into her mind.

On Tuesday, Alicia was able to report that the negative thoughts were still popping up but not as often as before. She was proud to share that she had volunteered to answer a question in Sunday School and how good that felt.

Martha was pleased and shared Secret 3 with Alicia.

Alicia had been wondering how she could make more friends, especially since Valerie had moved away. Martha told her that Secret 3 came from a man named Dale Carnegie in a book he wrote called “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Carnegie had a lot of good points, but Martha explained that one of them was more important, in her opinion, to Alicia and her situation.

Dale Carnegie said that one of the ways to make friends was to “Be a good listener, Encourage people to talk about themselves.”

This was want Martha’s aunt had taught her as Secret 3.

People always like to talk about themselves. You can encourage them without prying by asking questions like “What do you like to do?” “Why do you think that is important?” and “What do you think about . . .” You could always keep the conversation moving by saying “That’s interesting. Please tell me more.”

Secret 3 is a bit harder to do but as you spend less and less time thinking about negative things, you’ll think more and more about how to be a good listener.

On her way home from Girls’ Club that day, Alicia saw Mrs. Wilson, a neighbor, working in her garden. She seldom spoke to Mrs. Wilson, but Secret 3 was fresh on her mind so she said, “Hi, Mrs. Wilson. Your flowers are beautiful. Why do you love flowers so much?”

Mrs. Wilson showed Alicia every flower in the garden and gave its history and significance to her. The spent a very pleasant half-hour together. Secret 3 appeared to work.

Martha and Alicia continued to meet every 3 or 4 days to get Alicia’s progress reports on applying Secret 1 and to let Alicia practice Secret 3 on Martha. Then they would talk about a wide variety of things.

By the end of the summer, Alicia felt quite comfortable around other people.

She shared the Three Secrets in a speech in her speech class.

In Middle School, she was voted friendliest girt.

In high school, her grades soared and she became a junior helper at Girls’ Club. She enjoyed seeking out the girls who were timid and shy and sharing the Three Secrets with them.

She gave the Youth Sermon in her church when she was a senior.

She even shared the Three Secrets with her mother and over a couple of years, her mother had found an interesting and challenging job and was progressing a career.

She dated several guys in high school and college, always having a good time; but she was too busy with life to get seriously involved.

Back to the present

Her interview with Mr. Pettinger went very well concluding with an offer for her to become a litigation associate with the firm. She accepted his offer with one condition.

“I owe everything I am to a young woman in Girls’ Club who took the time to share with a timid, shy, 10-year-old three important secrets. I am committed to passing those secrets on to other girls. I am asking the firm to allow me five hours a month to spend in a local girls club to help other girls. It’s important to me.

“Agreed,” Mr. Pettinger said as he stood and welcomed her to the firm.

The end.

This fictional story introduces a principle that has been around for thousands of years. In addition to the Bible, philosophers like Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare, and others have written or spoken about our wonderful capacity to train ourselves not to ruminate on negative thoughts and to minimize the effects of emotional or physical pain in our lives. The danger of ruminating on negative thoughts is, in addition to more pain, stress, depression, anxiety, emotional issues, and worse.

Your children can understand the simple principles of the Three Secrets. The Secrets work for many negative emotions that result from negative thinking.

 This concept is explained fully in an online eCourse called Finding Personal Peace – http://findingpersonalpeace.com. The course leads one through these secrets and covers topics like making good decisions, and dealing with serious stuff like death, illness, abuse, and addiction.

The eCourse leads one through a process of turning a habit of sadness into a habit of peace. You can read other short stories on life issues by searching the category, Short Stories, at the right.

Copyright 2014 findingpersonalpeace.com. Birmingham, Al USA. All rights reserved.

Jarel’s Story – A Teen Deals with Sickle-Cell Disease

Jarel’s Story – A Teen Deals with Sickle-Cell DiseaseJarel was worried. He was 18 and starting college in the fall. Jarel also has sickle cell anemia and in a few months would be moving away from Dr. Tom, who had helped him learn how to manage his disease with a minimum of pain. He didn’t know what he would do without Dr. Tom.

An idea had been building in his mind for several months. He’d done a lot of research and he was ready to present it to Dr. Tom.

So he called and asked for a visit. When Dr. Tom asked him if he was in pain, he laughed and said, “No. I’m just planning ahead.”

Jarel had had sickle cell anemia since he was three. Actually it had been there all his life, but it started to manifest itself at age three with intense pain. Sometimes he could only scream because the pain was so bad.

His mother would frantically drive him to the emergency room wailing all the way that she had given her son this terrible disease and she should be punished.

The basic treatment he got was morphine to kill the pain; and then sometimes they would do scans to see if they could find where the disease was flaring up. Sometimes they would put him in the hospital to treat the crisis. Sometimes they just sent him home.

When Jarel was 9, he and his mom moved to larger city and he met Dr. Tom at the university hospital where he had gone when Jarel had his first episode in his new home.

Dr. Tom helped Jarel with the pain and the crisis, but it was when Dr. Tom said he wanted to meet with Jarel and him mom that things started happening differently.

First of all, Dr. Tom lifted Jarel’s chin up with his finger and looked him squarely in the eye.

“Jarel,” he said, “Do you want to get rid of a lot of this pain?”

“Yeah,” Jarel had answered, “it hurts a lot.”

“Jarel, I promise that if we can work together as a team and fight this pain together, we can make most of this pain go away. Are you willing to be on the team with me?”

“Yes, sir,” Jarel brightened. Nobody had ever given him any reason to hope that things could get better.

“Jarel, we need your mom to be on our team. Do you think she would want to help us make most of the pain go away.”

“I think so, Dr. Tom,” he said as the both looked at his Mom, Sondra.

“Doctor, I don’t like the direction this conversation is taking. I don’t want you filling my boy’s head with foolishness!”

“Sondra,” Dr. Tom said softly, “I would never say or do anything that I thought would hurt Jarel.”

“Please, Mom,” Jarel begged, “I hurt so bad sometimes.”

“Okay. But I just can’t get it out of my mind that I gave him this disease and I’m causing my boy to hurt.”

“We’ll deal with that later, Sondra. Right now let’s talk about what we all need to do to make this team work for us.”

“Each of us has a role, and Jarel, yours is the most important.”

He picked two cards up from his desk and gave one each to Jarel and his mom. It had three rules typed on it. Jarel remembers wondering how Dr. Tom already had Jarel’s name on the card.

“Jarel, there are three things that you have to do faithfully. Let’s look at your card together.”

Rule 1 – Every time a thought about pain pops into my mind, I will say out loud to myself, “I choose not think about any pain.”

Rule 2 – I will visit Dr. Tom at least once a month for a follow-up and I can call him anytime the pain makes me want to cry.

Rule 3 – Every time a thought pops into my mind that makes me have negative thoughts or makes me sad, I will say out loud to myself, “I choose not think about that.”

“Jarel,” Dr. Tom explained, rule 1 is to train your mind to help you deal with the pain better. Rule 2 is to help me learn more about you and how I can help you. And Rule 3 will help you deal with any other negative issues that pop up in your life. If you don’t keep these rules, especially rule 2, I cannot be part of your team. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir. This will be a lot easier than I thought it would be.”

“This is important, Jarel. I must see you every month and I will trust you to call me when you decide you need help with the pain. If I don’t see you every month, then I can’t help you and you’ll have to find another doctor. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

Doctor Tom picked up two more cards and gave one to Jarel and another to his mother. It’s was labeled Sondra’s Rules.

“Now, Sondra, let’s look at your rules. They are just about as important as Jarel’s rules.”

Rule 1 –    I did not give Jarel his disease. Anytime I start thinking that I have to say to myself, out loud, “I choose not think about that.”

Rule 2 –    If a thought about Jarel’s pain enters my mind, I will say, “I choose not think about Jarel’s pain.”

Rule 3 –    I will make sure that Jarel keeps his appointment every month; and I will trust Jarel to tell me if he wants me to call the doctor.

Rule 4 –    Every time a thought pops into my mind that makes me have negative thoughts or makes me sad, I will say out loud to myself, “I choose not think about that.”

“Sondra, it’s important that you let Jarel become the owner of his pain; and it’s important that you do not remind him of his pain by asking about it.”

“Sondra, you must understand this! If you fret and worry about Jarel’s pain, you will magnify his pain and make it worse.”

“It’s also important that you be a positive support for him by not dwelling on other negative issues.

“Finally, it is critical that I see Jarel every month. If he misses two months in a row, I won’t be his doctor anymore. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I do.”

“I suggest that you each keep your cards maybe on the breakfast table so that you can each say your rules out loud to yourself three or four times a day.”

Dr. Tom picked up two more cards and gave them to Jarel and his mother. These cards read, Dr. Tom’s Rules.

Rule 1 –    I will do everything in my power to find the most effective way to minimize Jarel’s pain.

Rule 2 –    I will always believe Jarel if he tells me that he needs my help with pain.

Rule 3 –    I will do my best to help Jarel learn how to live a long and productive life.

He laughed and said, “Even after 20 years, I still say my rules out loud to myself at least three times a day.”

They ended the visit and Sondra set a date that she would bring Jarel for his monthly appointment. They left with their cards in their hands and Jarel left with hope that his life was going to get better.

Each month, Dr. Tom would give Jarel a thorough examination. Sometimes Jarel thought his fingers were going to probe all the way to the bones in his legs and arms. Sometimes, Dr. Tom would put his hands on Jarel’s muscles and joints and close his eyes. He would hold his hands there for several seconds. He said that he was “listening for heat from the disease. There were always blood tests and sometimes scans or x-rays.”

After a couple of months, Jarel settled into a routine.

He had discovered that he really wasn’t thinking about his pain as much as he had. When he did sense pain, he would say out loud to himself, “I choose not think about any pain.”

He also discovered that if a thought popped up that made him feel sad, the sadness would go away if he said out loud to himself, “I choose not think about that.” And the negative thoughts were happening less and less often.

It took longer for his mom to stop asking him about his pain. He would have to remind her, “Mom, when you ask me about my pain, I have to break Dr. Tom’s rule about not thinking about pain; so don’t ask me about it.”

“Trust me, Mom, if I need you to call Dr. Tom, I will tell you, okay?

He would have a couple of crises a year, but they weren’t as bad as when he was younger and usually a short stay in the hospital got him cleared up.

Jarel also discovered that he liked school. He did really well because he wasn’t having to deal with so much pain and prolonged hospital stays for his crises; he could focus on learning.

He enjoyed math and science; and he really loved reading biographies of people like Dr. Ben Carson and others. He decided that he was going to college, and that was what caused him to start worrying.

Jarel learned that his life was so much better than many other kids with sickle-cell. A lot of kids’ disease got worse when they went through puberty, but Jarel had an easier time because of the Rules. Kids often got better treatment in their crises than adults. Adults often couldn’t get the help they needed in an ER because they were presumed to be there looking for a drug fix.

He learned of cases where the patient had been treated with morphine for the pain only to discover after it was too late that the pain was from appendicitis or a bowel obstruction or something else. But too often, when the morphine stopped the pain, it also stopped the examination. So major problems would sometimes go unnoticed.

He decided he wanted to major in Public Health and he won a full scholarship to go to a school that was about 500 miles from home. He was concerned about keeping his monthly appointments and about what kind of treatment he would get there if he had a crisis.

Then an idea sprang into his mind and over several weeks, it grew to something he wanted to share with Dr. Tom. So he had called for an appointment.

After Jarel and Dr. Tom had caught up on current events, Jarel led the discussion.

“Dr. Tom, I’ve won a scholarship and I’m going to a college in Durham this fall. I’m worried about continuing your protocol from that distance. It’s helped me so much and I need it to continue.”

“That’s not a problem, Jarel. I can refer you to specialists there and you can continue under their care.”

“There’s more to it that that, Dr. Tom; let me explain.”

“I have friends and relatives who have this disease and they are not able to manage it as well as I can. Your approach seems to be unique, especially with the auto-suggestion that you used with me and my mom.” Jarel laughed. “I bet you didn’t know that I knew that word, did you?”

He continued. “I’m concerned about the millions of kids just like me who are living on morphine or high dosages of methadone, or whatever, and who have no real hope of ever becoming a well-functioning adult. You’ve figured out how to manage the disease very effectively for me and your other patients; but you can’t be everywhere at the same time.”

“So here’s my idea,” and he handed Dr. Tom an outline.

He explained, “Nobody knows for sure what will happen to our healthcare system in the future, but one thing for sure, physicians will have to be able to make a good living or they will do something else.”

“I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that there aren’t a lot of doctors who have a protocol like yours to help kids like me.”

“Point 1 –  If you haven’t done so already, would you write a book or a white paper that explains your protocol in terms that any primary-care physician or family doctor can understand and accept? You have developed something that works and it needs to be shared.

“Point 2 – Ultimately, I have to be responsible for my healthcare choices. When I get to college, I will approach a local primarycare physician and give them my history. I’ll then show them your protocol and ask them if they will treat me precisely according to the protocol including the auto-suggestion rules and everything. If they agree, I’ll be their patient; and I’ll commit to finding enough sickle-cell students for their practice so they can afford to devote the time to us that we need. I want them to succeed.”

“If they won’t agree to use your protocol, I’ll thank them and go to the next doctor. “

“Point 3 – I believe that most, if not all, the people who agree to be treated under the protocol will have results similar to mine. Since all the patients are students, I’ll talk to the physician about sending every one of those patients away with a copy of your protocol and this model so they can use Point 2 to recruit a primary care physician wherever they go for graduate school or work. In just 3 student generations, just 12 years or so, there could be dozens or even hundreds of primary care physicians all over the country using your protocol.”

“Point 4 – To support this growing number of physicians using the protocol, you could create a consortium to support and encourage them. The members would pay a fee to keep up with the latest developments. You could start with a periodic newsletter and website. You could add videos that could be distributed by a private YouTube account. Later on, you could host seminars that perhaps could get approved for CME credits. You could have much more than just the satisfaction of helping others.

“I want to major in public health and I want to use this model for my Master’s Thesis.”

“I read a book about FedEx founder, Fred Smith, who got a C on a term paper about the model for Federal Express. His professor said it would never work. Well, the professor was wrong. There will be people who say this won’t work, but if you can put your protocol on paper, I believe it will work.”

“I’ve convinced that other sickle-cell patients can have the success I have using your protocol. I’m also convinced that primary care physicians all over America can build a strong practice using this idea. I’m going to show them the benefit of “paying this idea forward” as their patients go out into the world and we will all prosper.”

Dr. Tom was amazed. “How on earth did you come up with this idea, Jarel?”

“I took economics this year and I’ve spent a lot of time on Google. I’ve learned that any idea that succeeds must be a win-win situation for all the parties. “

“Patients win by having consistent and effective health care with less pain wherever they live. “

“Primary-care physicians win by building strong, unique practices with sickle-cell patients. “

“You win if you are able to build a consortium of all those doctors that could support the use of your protocol across the country.”

“Dr. Tom, I know that you’ve made lots of presentations and applied for lots of grants to build sickle-cell centers around the state. You’ve told me about that.”

“The difference in my plan and yours is that my plan is patient driven. I want the care I’ve had to continue even after I leave here. Remember I’m the one in pain if I don’t get the care I need. And the primary-care physician is the one who can benefit financially by treating enough patients like me the right way. If I can direct just 8 to 10 of my African-American friends to him, he can afford to help us all.

“This may not work, but I want to start by finding a primary care physician in Durham who will treat me the same way you’ve treated me since I was nine years old. I’ll do the same thing wherever I go for graduate school.”

As Dr. Tom considered Jarel’s idea, he thought about the scared, screaming nine-year-old and his equally scared and guilt-ridden mother who brought him for that first visit. This was perhaps the most conclusive proof that his protocol works and Jarel seemed to have a great idea for taking it forward.

Jarel was ecstatic. He was launching his dream to help sickle-cell kids in every community in America find relief for their pain.

Life was good and getting better!

Click here for more information about sickle-cell anemia.

Note to parents:

This story is based on conversations with a nationally recognized hematologist-oncologist in our community who specializes in sickle-cell treatment in children and teens and who uses a concept similar to the one herein to treat his patients.

This fictional story addressing a major health issue introduces a principle that has been around for thousands of years. In addition to the Bible, philosophers like Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare, and others have written about our wonderful capacity to train ourselves not to ruminate on negative thoughts and even to minimize the effects of pain in our lives. The danger of ruminating on pain is, in addition to more pain, stress, depression, anxiety, emotional issues, and worse.

Your children can understand the simple principle that “if I choose to think a lot about something that gives me pain, I can just as well choose not to think about it.”

This concept is explained fully in an online eCourse called Finding Personal Peace http://findingpersonalpeace.com.

The eCourse leads one through a process of turning a habit of sadness into a habit of peace.

The concept works for many negative emotions that result from negative thinking.

Copyright 2014 findingpersonalpeace.com. Birmingham, Al USA. All rights reserved.

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Question: If you could change something in your life . . .

Poll: If you could change something in your life . . .A friend challenged me recently. His challenge seemed to directly affect what I’m trying to do with this blog; that is, help people find personal peace in the face of often increasing negative issues in their lives.

He challenged me that I could not offer meaningful help to someone unless I first knew what help they wanted. He used an example of his own experience: that of beginning a project that he had fully developed and was ready to launch to discover only lukewarm, yet cordial, support from the people he wanted to help.

It finally occurred that he was living in the glory of his plan rather than the urgency of their needs.

So, thusly challenged, I propose this poll to you. I write a lot about dealing with emotional issues. My writing would be more effective if I were writing about issues that are important to you and other readers.

Please complete this little one-question poll. You’ll be telling me what is important to you. And you get to see how your important issues stack up beside the important issues of others. Please come back later as the responses grow. And feel free to share this poll with others.

All the best,

Poll: If you could change something in your life . . .

Rod Peeks

Thanks for reading our blog today. I invite you to respond in several ways: (1) Comment in the space below if you agree or disagree with what I’ve said. A dialogue could be interesting for all; (2) Share the post with your friends using the buttons below; and (3) sign up to get an email with each new post. There’s a place to do that on the right. Then you won’t have to remember to look for our subsequent posts. Thanks again!

P.S. We’ve written several short stories with some good life lessons. You can check them out by searching by the category, Short Stories, at the right. My son told me that Ben’s Story gave him something think about in his life. Thanks.

Blog Carnival – Finding Personal Peace for January 26, 2014

Blog Carnival – Finding Personal Peace for January 26, 2014Welcome to the January 26, 2014 edition of Blog Carnival –  Finding Personal Peace containing 8 interesting articles on a variety of topics related to finding personal peace.

Thanks for visiting our Blog Carnival, Finding Personal Peace. Please review the subjects below and make note of any that interest you. At the bottom of the page, you will find a link that takes you to more information about each post. If you find a post you like, please make a comment to encourage them or even engage in a discussion with them.

emotional issues

  • Leah G. presents Does Your Rational Mind Block Your Intuition?
  • Angie Bowen presents Everyone In Recovery Has Setbacks

marriage

  • Erik Matlock presents Marriage advice with extra cheese
  • Erik Matlock presents Riding the Pendulum, Finding Your Center

other

  • Luke Jones presents You Are Not Your Past
  • Steven F presents Changing of Seasons and Inspirations for Music

stress

  • Lully presents Stop Worrying – What You Think About is Not Real

To view the articles, Click here or click on Blog Carnival in the tabs at the top. You’ll want to check out these articles and share them in your circle of influence. We’ll be receiving submitted articles and posting them each week. Please share with your friends. Thanks.

Blog Carnival – Finding Personal Peace for January 19, 2014

Blog Carnival – Finding Personal Peace for January 19, 2014Welcome to the January 19, 2014 edition of Blog Carnival –  Finding Personal Peace containing 6 interesting articles on a variety of topics related to finding personal peace.

Thanks for visiting our Blog Carnival, Finding Personal Peace. Please review the subjects below and make note of any that interest you. At the bottom of the page, you will find a link that takes you to more information about each post. If you find a post you like, please make a comment to encourage them or even engage in a discussion with them.

emotional issues

  • Chaki Kobayashi presents The Cure for Laziness
  • Marquita Herald presents What Does Inner Peace Mean to You? | Inspired Gift Giving

family

  • Jana presents What Motherhood REALLY is

marriage

  • Erik Matlock presents Who was the best TV husband of all time?

other

  • UB Hawthorn presents ACTIVE NONVIOLENCE: Q&A with Tenpa C. Samkhar of the Active Nonviolence Education Centre | The Mindful Word
  • FindNew Passion presents The longer you’ve been married, the funnier this becomes!

To view the articles, Click here or click on Blog Carnival in the tabs at the top. You’ll want to check out these articles and share them in your circle of influence. We’ll be receiving submitted articles and posting them each week. Please share with your friends. Thanks.