Choose to Dance

I admit – I cant dance.  I also admit – I have never been to this.  But what I will admit too is that a new dance program that is being run with the MS & Parkinson’s Society here in Canterbury is making a difference in the lives of those that attend that have MS or Parkinson’s.

Have I chosen to dance in the past.  Certainly.  I chose to dance at my wedding.  Beer helped me chose to dance on a fair few Friday nights and i did once dance on a stage as a Barley sugar.

Everyone has choices to make on how they live their lives. Have a look here to check out an interview with Adriaan.  He is making a choice every-time he runs a class to help people live better with their illness.  And that choice is one to be immensely proud of.

Choosing to make a difference in life is harder that choosing to dance ( especially when you are under the influence ).   I find it really easy to focus just on me and ignore how others are doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 7 year old boys mind is a weird place.

The mind of a 7 year old boy is a weird and wonderful thing.  It jumps and tumbles around all over the place.  One minute you can be talking about small copyrighted plastic bricks.  The next you will be talking about how cool it would be to be able to see farts. I did advise against this being a cool thing by the way.

The mind of our 7 year old boy is no different, it is a rapidly evolving landscape.  Whirring away at a million miles an hour, always learning, asking, deciding and processing.  But let’s be honest the average 7 year old boy would get lost picking his own nose.

This morning I had a humbling insight into the way our son’s mind works.  We were sitting down having breakfast and he suddenly remember something, a drawing from school during the week and ran off to get it.

During the week his school had given the class an exercise where they had to write something they were thankful for and then draw it.  For those that know Mr 7 it will come as no surprise that there was a picture of Blue Ted.  For those that don’t – Blue Ted has been his favorite Teddy since the day he was born.  His smell is second only in size to his personality.

Cautiously I asked ” What else are you thankful for?”, expecting the aforementioned small plastic bricks to be mentioned a lot.

I was wrong.

After a couple of spoonfuls of porridge and a rather awkward silence he came up with the following list.

“Mum”

“You”

“My friends at school”

“My best friend”

None of these were particularly out of the ordinary.  Until.

“Your Mum and Dad for bringing you up to be a great Dad”

“GrandMa and Grandad for bringing up Mum and Uncle R and Uncle L to be great people”

I Just sat there and stared at my porridge taken slightly aback by the thought process and at the same time feeling immensely proud.

Being a parent is tough at the best of the times.  For my wife and I, with us both having our medical battles it can be really tough.  We both struggle with fatigue, pain and the day to day trials of having an illness, working and running a home.

It is an never ending battle to find the energy to play, to laugh, to teach and sometimes even to sit and read a book with him.  And we only have the one child!

But all of the struggles are worth it when I can see we are helping to create a good, empathetic human and that is surely the primary objective of parenting.

If having MS is helping me to help Mr 7 grow up to become a good person then I can add it to my list of things to be thankful for.

All about choices

A couple of weeks ago I was in Melbourne at my work’s annual conference and it was all about people, one of the major focus’s was how can we make a difference for our clients and for each other.

One of the nights was particularly amazing for the team I am part of and definitely for me personally.  Not only did we all get awards for overachieving for the year but I picked up a special award for customer service.

These awards are proof that hard work alone isn’t enough, they also prove that the people around you make a difference, it’s the encouragement we give each other, the laughs we share and the heartaches that help us to do so well.

The awards pale in comparison with hearing a gentleman by the name of Michael Crossland speak.  I’m not going to go into his story and what makes him so inspiring but I really suggest you look him up online.  What he talked about was choice, the  choice we are all faced with every single day, the choice of being a better person.  The choice of getting out of bed and making a difference in someone’s life, it can be something as simple as a smile to a stranger, the thing is we can all make a difference and not even know it.  Michael made a difference in my life and I was fortunate enough to grab 5 minutes of his time afterwards to thank him for reminding me that I can make a difference.

This year is going to be huge for me.  I have been working with the incredibly talented #originalscripts to turn some of my blogs into a play.  Around the same time I will be releasing a compilation of the posts as an ebook.

More importantly the course that I had the honour of helping create for people newly diagnosed with MS will be run at least twice and also presented at an Australian wide MS nurses conference.

Are you tired yet reading all of that?  I am.

There are other goals I have for the year and I really should set aside some time for some work goals too.

But that is me.  That is my year.  That is some of what I am choosing to do.

With MS no one really knows what is going on inside my body.  It is the same with people.  You don’t always know what is really going on inside.  But a smile, a thank you or a kind word can make a world full of difference.

Michael reminded me it’s not only my choice as to how I live with MS but it’s also my choice as to how I really live.

What about you? Seriously. What will you do? How are you going to help make the world a better place this year?

A quick thought

I’m in the process of writing a speech about living with MS for later this week and I’ve written a line that I thought “I’d share with the group”. I think it sums up everything I’ve been trying to say.

I don’t like having MS, but I do have to live with it and so do my wife and son. It is my choice how well we live with it together

How to be a good man.

Recently I went to my Dad’s best friend’s funeral and it got me thinking.   I wasn’t sitting there thinking away about my MS, or about dying, or about those around me dying. What I was sitting there thinking about was ‘Choice’.  Not as in ‘choice moves bro’.  But as I listened to his family and friends pay  their respects and remember him, I was struck by how he had chosen to do everything he did in life.  Mostly it was how he chose to face life, to always have a kind word, a helping hand and a smile.  Oh,  and most importantly a vest ( sorry inside joke ).

He had chosen to marry, and had chosen to have three fantastic kids.  Chosen to be an awesome Grandad.  I could see this in the eyes of those around me.  Eyes filled to overflowing with grief, with gratitude, and most importantly, with love.

Some of the choices he made must have been very tough.  To change careers and become a school teacher for example.  Choosing to take a young family to Pakistan to work in the Mission Field must have been exceptionally challenging.  And yet it was a path he chose to walk.  To the best of my knowledge he never had any major health issues to face over the years and I am truly glad for that.

He was honoured when we chose him to marry us and to oversee our son’s naming ceremony,  and we were honoured to have him officiate at both.

These Blogs are about how I live with MS.  It is not an easy road to walk,  but as I learnt yesterday, it is all about how I choose to live.

Earlier today I was reading a post about a well dressed young man getting on a bus and not having enough money to pay for his fare.  When the female bus driver insisted he had to pay (she was only doing her job), he started abusing her.  No-one on the bus did anything. The story appalled me and really bought home the importance of being a good man.  Why did no-one offer to pay? Why did no-one stand up to him?  And what on earth made the guy chose to be like that?

To me, my Dad’s friend’s legacy won’t be the trademark vest, beard and glasses,  or his friendship with my Dad.  No, as I sat at his funeral I realised that in his passing he was teaching me the greatest lesson – my life is not just about how I choose the way I live with MS but it is about how I choose to live as a good man.

Written 06/02/16