A cat and a Dust buster

Last week I invited you on a journey beyond disability. When we are young we do not expect to be disabled. When we see or hear of others becoming disabled, we think it cannot happen to us. Yet, one in five working aged Americans says they have a disability. Yet we do not prepare ourselves or our children for the possibility of becoming disabled. In raising our children do we prepare them for becoming disabled without knowing it?
When I was raising my children, I sought to make them competent adults capable of living in the world that they inherited from me. Even though I had been diagnosed with the disease that will eventually take my eyesight I did not contemplate my own disability or that my kids might become disabled. Instead I tried to instill in them those values skills and ethics that I thought would serve them best. It turns out that many of those skills are what we need to successfully journey through the storm of disability.
It seems that no sooner than we are aware of past and present, we become aware of the future. We also become aware that some events in life are pleasant and others unpleasant, good or bad. It is human nature to be optimistic. Psychological studies have shown this to be true even for pessimists. Yet, we don’t prepare ourselves for the bad.
How often do you see bicyclists not wearing helmets? We all know stories of bicyclists getting severe Head injuries. All cyclists know it is easy to take a spill. Usually we just get a good scrape sometimes a broken bone. Those injuries heal, and we return to cycling. Serious head injuries are another story. So why don’t more cyclists wear helmets? Those cyclists I have asked usually talk about comfort. I know people confined to wheelchairs and the like because of head injuries. Would a cyclist think that was comfortable?
I used to cycle and still hope to return. After my eyesight became poor I continued to cycle. One day while cycling, I swerved to allow a car to pass. My front tire went off the road into a ditch. I was thrown forward onto my shoulder and probably my head. I was wearing a helmet, so the worst I received was a separated shoulder. As I look back on it I am sure the helmet saved me from a more permanent injury…
On that occasion I had prepared for a bad outcome. But do we go through life preparing ourselves for possible bad things? Early in our lives we assume bad things will not occur. Later when we focus on bad things we find ourselves depressed. Are there ways to prepare ourselves for bad events that make us happy?
In recent year’s psychologist have found many ways to do just that. In fact a whole field of psychology has developed around that. It is called positive psychology. It is exactly what life coaches have been seeking to do. These techniques have been shown to be effective when taught in schools. They reduce bullying, truancy, teen suicides and criminal behaviors.
Studies have shown that people with better social and emotional skills handle adversity better. These skills can be learned and thus our ability to whether bad events can be improved. Adults can learn these as well.
The terms emotional intelligence and social intelligence are not well defined. Emotional intelligence generally refers to the ability to sense our own and others’ emotions, to use those emotions to express ourselves and understand the emotions of others. Social intelligence goes beyond that to understand the roles and norms of the social situation. Many authors have attempted to develop tools to measure these intelligences and to teach them.
I would love to know what social and emotional skills you would like to have in your toolkit. I am It is collecting as many of these tools as possible for the book I hope to write. The book will appear in early May.
Coach Dr. Dave [MD [
PS, most cats I know would have as little as possible to do with a dust buster.
Author of the upcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade: Dr. Dave’s Recipe for Thriving through Disability”.

4 thoughts on “A cat and a Dust buster

  1. Hi Dave,
    Great points. I’m one of those people who doesn’t wear a bike helmet, but I only keep close to home.

    You’re right, no one thinks about being disabled. I hang out with a lot of 60 somethings who make comments like, “Shoot me if I can’t walk.” I visit my mom in her retirement community and there are many people hobbling around. How we approach those moments, means everything.

  2. Hi Dave, thanks to Cathy I found your site! You hit it on the nail, it is how we care for ourselves throughout our life that helps us be more resilient to weather the storms that inevitable come along in life. In doing so we need to consider our mental, emotional, physical spiritual, and financial life. We also need to ensure that our relationships are strong so that we have these connections during both the difficult and good times!

    Ang рџ™‚
    Angela Goodeve recently posted..What is one thing that you do in life that makes you forget about everything else? My Profile

  3. Cathy,
    Those existing a a retirement community are expecting to be dependent. My parents, In-Laws and Grandmother live in some good ones. However, that is not what I look for. I enjoy being interdependent (no one is truly independent)
    Don’t ask me how old I am. Most days I think it is twenty or thirty on a bad day. Ignore that my sons are both over 30.

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