Child Sets an Example

Quote: “My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones.” George R. R. Martin

Brendan Haas is a 9-year old boy from Massachusetts. He used Facebook to trade a toy soldier for things until he got an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World and then he gave that trip to the family of a soldier that was killed. This garnered quite a bit of attention last week. While he was being interviewed on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts let him know that the Disney company was giving his family an all expense paid trip to Walt Disney World including VIP treatment. He went on to decline it and tell them that there are many other families that could use it. Robin Roberts laughed and said she knew he would do that and that the gift was transferrable.

This child’s choices are creating positive consequences in so many lives. It has set a great example for people around the country. With a spirit like that, he is likely to continue to make positive choices in the future. What a great young man!

Good Teen Citizen is Example of Hero

Quote: “Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” Brodi Ashton, Everneath

We often think of heroes for doing something over the top that makes the nightly news. You need to check out this story about an everyday hero and be glad that there are teens setting a good example and making great choices. Read it and take heart that America isn’t as bad as we may think at times. Then take the challenge at the end to identify an everyday hero in your life to encourage.


Two Similar Tragedies but Vastly Different Choices

Quote:  “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” Bishop Desmond Tutu

Two home fires in the past ten days show the different choices that parents make. The first was a late night fire in Louisiana last week in which four children ages 2 to 8 died in a mobile home. The kids were left home alone and the mother was charged with negligent homicide. She chose to leave them alone and the consequences can never be changed.

The second fire had a similar tragic ending. A couple and two teenage daughters died of smoke inhalation in a fire in New York yesterday. The biggest difference is that the father, Thomas Sullivan, cared so much for his family that he yelled to get his family out. His son was able to get out as a result of that. Mr. Sullivan was in the home trying to rescue his wife and daughters where they all were overcome by smoke. He gave his life for his family.

The result was the same and four lives were lost in each case. However, it is obvious how different the choices were and likely that the choices leading up to these days were very different for the two famillies.

Eight Was Enough to Cause Second Thoughts

Quote: “I wasn’t reflecting enough on the repercussions of my choices.” Nadya Suleman

Much of the publicity has died down over the past three years. However, it is certain that life hasn’t slowed down for Nadya Suleman. She was the mother of six chilfren that had octuplets in Jan 2009. A recent article in the OC Register revealed a different perspective than had been seen in some of the other media outlets.

She was quoted as saying “What was I thinking?” She cannot afford to take care of herself and the children and her house is in foreclosure. She has resorted to earning funds in a variety of ways. Some of those seem to be things that she isn’t proud of and believes will be detrimental to her children.

The article didn’t explore the reason she wanted another child or what her level of involvement in the decisions the doctor made (it was noted that the doctor’s medical license was revoked). However, it is a prime example of three things:

1 – Choices have consequences.

2 – Choices have unintended consequences.

3 – Others are impacted by your choices.

Gossip Town

Quote: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Thumper (from Disney’s Bambi)

Apparently, the people of Mountain Grove, MO have not heard the principle above. Many of them have started posting and reading all the town gossip on the website Topix. Small towns are notorious for everyone’s business being shared or embellished, but the internet has taken this to whole new heights.

Something that was meant for good to keep people informed and make others aware of hte events in town, has been abused and misused. According to multiple stories by NBC News, the New York Times, and others, it appears to have caused fights, divorces, and had other negative consequences.

Any person can hide behind a computer screen and say things (like on this blog), but they should understand the actual consequences and the unintended consequences of their actions. Hitting send or enter may not be the end, it may just be the beginning of something.

Some Special Cheering

Quote: “If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance.” Abraham Lincoln

A variety of programs exist in the country to do just what Abraham Lincoln referred to above. They are giving people a chance. Not just at trying something new or participating in an area that they excel in, but to try something that they probably will never be the nation’s best at. I’m speaking of opportunities that are given to special needs individuals.

The reported on February 27, 2012 about Jerry’s gymnastics in West Virginia where a cheerleading program for children with special needs was started. Another such program exists at the Pittsburgh Super Stars Cheer and Dance company. In a sport that is typically dominated by the most athletic and best looking kids, people are taking note of those who just want to have fun. Parents have an outlet for their kids to participate, get exercise, gain confidence, and be part of a group.

As I watched a story about the Super Stars tonight on TV, I noted the main cheerleaders showing true joy at being able to invest in the life of another. They are choosing to spend some of their limited time to make a difference. The consequence of that choice appears to be more rewarding than anyone might have expected.

Learning from Lightning

Quote: “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose.” Tennessee Williams

The movie Cars is a great example of choices and consequences. If you don’t instantly think of several reasons for that statement, it may be time to watch it (again). The first 60 minutes or so is a series of bad choices one right after another. Lightning McQueen chooses to disregard his team, he chooses to be rude to his sponsors, he chooses to make Mac drive all night. He then chooses to speed, insult others, by sloppy in his work, and on and on the list goes.

The results of his choices impact him in many ways that are frustrating to him. They also impact those around him. He nearly gets Mac in an accident. He destroys part of the town. He hurts the feelings of those who try to get near him, not on purpose, but because he is oblivious.

We tend to make selfish choices at times that result in negative consequences for ourselves and for others around us. It was nice of Pixar to make a movie to help kids understand the choices and consequences

Good Samaritan Returns Wallet

Quote: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” William James

Last night we were at some car races. Sitting in the grandstands surrounded by other fans, I watched someone make a good choice that made me smile knowing that people do the right things. There was a family of 5 in front of us. At one point, the mom reached down a picked up a wallet that had fallen out of the pocket of the man in front of her. She and her husband got the man’s attention and returned it right away.

This act seems simple and expected. However, they could have chosen not to get involved or even worse. The man would have experienced that sick feeling that we are all familiar with and then had all of the trouble of canceling cards and getting a new license not to mention what cash he may have lost and how significant of an impact that could have been for him.

Thank you to the family that made the right choice and to all of you that do the same thing on a daily basis!

Shooter is Not the Victim

Quote: “No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone.” Dr. Shad Helmstetter

TJ Lane was the shooter in the tragedy in Chardon, Ohio last week. As you review news stories, he was a quiet 17-year old that nobody was concerned by. There are no indications that he was bullied or had a problem with any students. What he did by taking the lives of three young people and impacting many others is unspeakable.

There have been reports of a troubled childhood. While his upbringing may have been troublesome, he is ultimately the one responsible for the actions he took. As the quote today says, he choices were his alone. He will soon face the consequences of his choices. Others are already facing those consequences.

Coach/Teacher Chooses to Act

Quote: “A hero is a man who does what he can.” Romain Rolland

Monday, February 27, 2012, is a day that members of the Chardon, Ohio community will remember forever. A young man killed three students and injured two others. More will come about the tragedy portion in our next post. However, the focus today is on Frank Hall. He is an assistant football coach and a hall monitor. According to a story by Peter Krouse in the Plain-Dealer on March 2, Mr. Hall chased the shooter away from the school and stayed with the three students that ultimately died.

It’s moments like this that fortunately few of us have that reveal the real fiber of our character. He chose to act. There are many reactions he could have had. Ultimately, he was unwilling to stand by and let things just happen. Most view him as a hero and yet he does not see himself in that light probably because he chose to do something that he expects anyone else would do given the same circumstances. Would we?