I Want A Relationship With You

“Good relationships are not just about the good times you share; they’re also about the obstacles you go through together…and the fact that you still say I love you in the end.” – unknown author

Several things happened today that made me think of the importance of relationships. I learned about the importance of forgiveness, letting go, compassion, being grateful and do-overs. I’ll share one of the stories today, and perhaps save the others for another day.

My youngest has been needing lots of attention lately and I’m not sure why. He does things a little bit more slowly, a little bit more noisily, he’s a little more needy, and a lot more demanding.  Basically he’s irritating all of us all, well most all, of the time.

This morning when I asked him to get busy with his chores and to get ready for school, he just sat. He then moved to another near by chair and laid over the arm and spun around for a bit, not really hearing my words for whatever reason. This happened repeatedly, as you can imagine and possibly even happens in your home. When I asked him to sit quietly, he tapped his pencil. If I asked him to stop tapping his pencil, he stomped his foot. It was like he couldn’t hear me, or maybe he did, and he rather enjoyed the negative attention he was receiving from his irritated housemates.

So when I told him he was in trouble for not behaving and for creating conflict in our family, he didn’t like that. I sent him to his room, and told him he was to come straight back there after school.  This agitated him because “he did nothing wrong,” of course, and didn’t understand why I was so mean. I explained myself and told him that was it. He disappeared for thirty seconds and returned, asking for a do-over.  He was sorry for being irritating and wanted to start over again. I said no. He hemmed and hawed, and walked away and then came back again with his bed made, dressed and ready to try again. 

He came and sat on my lap and asked for a do-over again. I said no. He then said, “Mom, I want to try again. I want to have a relationship with you and I want to play with you and I don’t mean to ignore you. I don’t know why I do that and I am not trying to be irritating.”  Again, I said no.  I felt like I needed to be kind and firm and I needed to be a disciplinarian and enforce the rules, so that he’ll learn.

He left again, did more work (or messed around) and came back again, asking for the same thing, again with more emphasis:  “Mom, I just want to love you and I want a relationship with you. I learned my lesson and I’m sorry. Please let’s start over again and have a do-over mom.”

This time I listened, even though I didn’t want to. I wanted to do what was right and teach him a lesson. But what I wanted more than that was to have a loving relationship with him, just like he wanted with me.  I looked at him, and opened my arms, and asked him, “Why are you so smart?” And he said, “Because I am.”  

I believed him and gave him a hug and told him I wanted a relationship with him too and we needed a do-over, to begin again and to respect one another. He smiled and let me kiss his face.  I told him how much I loved him and I think he heard me this time.  

Love wins.  

And hopefully we’ll keep practicing the discipline thing together, learning together and loving one another as we grow our relationship.  I want a relationship with him too.



Love is Louder – The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Success

If you want to see love in action, just take a look at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

We, as a community, are speaking up. We are accepting a challenge to connect, to raise awareness, to be giving, and loving and supportive and playful, and grateful.  We are creating compassion and we are doing something good that feels good and right, and not just for ourselves or our families or necessarily something close to home.  We are helping others and that helps heal us and creates happiness despite the pain and suffering that exists in its many forms. And ALS is just one of them.

Love wins.

There will be haters and nay-sayers, but when we are loving and authentic and share from our hearts, love and goodness wins.

ALS Awareness is also winning through our social media online campaign.  Just look at the numbers… over $42 million dollars has been raised in a month by thousands of new contributors.  That is CRAZY good.  I hope this sparks giving all over the place.

We as a society are winning by communicating and connecting and bridging the gaps between our humanity, across religious and political and financial and age differences, one at a time in our own little way.  Woohoo!!

It is amazing to be part of this wonderful movement, and not just for the awareness that our participation and sharing is bringing to ALS, but also to the connection and compassion and kindness we are sharing with one another.

What if we can learn from this successful social media online campaign and apply the lessons to other causes?

What has made this so successful?

Here are my takeaways, in no particular order:

1.  It started with a SPARK.  Pete Frates, a patient with a need, had an idea. He dared someone to take a fun, goofy challenge to create awareness and to raise money and gave them a specific time period to respond, within 24 hours, and asked them to spread the love by challenging friends, creating a personal connection.  He created an inferno!

2. A DARE.  When we are dared to do something, it’s like challenging us to step up. In this case, it was a fun dare that is possible and easy to do, and most everyone can participate without getting hurt (if you’re careful!! – of course there have been injuries)

3. A quick turn around TIME, within 24 hours. The challenge was action oriented, dump ice water on your head and/or donate to the cause within 24 hours. People can’t put it off to do later.

4. Social Media – we have the means to connect quickly via Facebook and Twitter and Email, etc.  People want to be part of something fun and good and it’s catchy. Sharing is caring.  We are connecting communities and feel like we can do something to create change by participating. We can be seen and we can be creative and we like those things.

5. It’s FUN.  It’s fun to be play and be silly and with all our busyness, it’s great to stop in a 24 hour period because we “have to” and to just be goofy.  We are given a pass to play because we accepted a dare.  It’s fun because of the anticipation of ice cold water being thrown on our head and waiting for the cold to chill and shock us and make us laugh and make those around us laugh. It’s like that carnival dunk tank game that makes us laugh every time the ball hits the target and the volunteer falls in the water. We laugh at this. We love the anticipation and clean, safe, fun that surrounds us and we want to play, participate and watch.

6. It’s POSITIVE and we can all connect and share and create community across communities. There is a lot of negative news and we’re tired as a nation of all the terrorism and racism and any other -ism. We need to laugh. We need to connect. We need to share some love and laughter, as a nation and across nations. We’re hurting as a society and we need to love one another. LOVE doesn’t see age, sex, fat, politics, religion, etc.

7. Happiness comes from GIVING. We give each other a challenge. We give each other a laugh. We give a little bit of money to help others. We give ourselves hope. We give each other some lovin’ and that’s a good thing.  Giving is a secret to creating happiness, not just for the receivers but also for the givers.

8.  It’s ENTERTAINMENT.  We use humor to lighten the stress. We use humor to connect with one another. And watching people dump ice cold water on each other or themselves is funny. We can laugh and connect with one another in this simple way, through a smile and a laugh.  And most everyone can participate in this challenge – young and old.  And we’re using humor to create awareness, love and compassion.  And we’re playing first, learning second, and giving third. Play is important.

9. It’s SIMPLE.  It’s easy to do and it’s engaging and quick. We maybe spent 20 minutes between finding a bucket and filling it with ice and water, rehearsing for a minute and recording the challenge. And then going online afterwards to http://www.als.org to donate.  It was fun, easy, quick and simple to do with my kids.  As a family, we played first, watched a video second and learned about what ALS is really about, and then donated money next.  The dare/challenge from a friend is what got us involved and interested in participating and we didn’t want to miss the 24 hour deadline.

10. The intention is AUTHENTIC and by participating and sharing, we make it PERSONAL. We thrive for authenticity and for what is real. This is a real need. There are real people dying and suffering with no cure.  ALS is a horrible, terrible disease that affects the patient and his/her family and community. And we all know someone that knows someone that is afflicted by this and we can feel empathy by sharing in the pain and feel like we can make a small difference.

I hope what this challenge does is helps to raise enough money and awareness so that a cure can be found for ALS and the conversation continues and those affected feel the love and compassion from all of us. I also hope that we continue to engage with one another, play with each other, focus on the positive, and continue to think of others and give money and time to those causes that need our attention, as often as possible.

We can make a difference. We can be the change we want to see in the world.  I dare you to take the challenge and play along and donate to www.als.org and to any other group or organization that needs some lovin’.  I dare ya!  xoxo