Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Parenting Story - My First Major Stroke of Good Luck

I was thinking about my mother recently.

A few months before she died, Mom and I shared a phone conversation. We were talking about my seven brothers and sisters, and I joked that she had so many kids because she loved taking care of babies. After a child left the infant stage, she would work on having another. I told her she had a special gift for quieting babies. I had often seen her take a screaming baby from its frantic mother and quietly sing to it until the baby stopped crying.

She said that it wasn't always that way. Then she told me this story.

It was a hot summer night in 1945, and my mother was holding me in her arms, trying to get me to stop crying and go to sleep. A young, first-time mother, she wasn't sure what to do. My father, an Army sergeant, was away performing a military duty. My mother had been drinking, and she wanted to go to bed herself. I must have had a bellyache, because all her efforts to calm me only seemed to make the situation worse. Frustrated, she screamed at me and tossed me at my crib.

It was not a well-aimed toss. I hit the side of the crib and fell to the hard floor. The jolt must have surprised me, because suddenly I got quiet. My mom panicked, worried that her impulsive act may have caused serious injury. She didn't know what to do, so she continued to rock me in her arms until I fell asleep.

The next day she took me to the doctor to check me out. I was fine.

My mom says the incident scared her. It was a wake-up call. She had lost her composure and it almost had tragic consequences. She said after that, whenever she took care of me she saw something delicate and precious. No matter what happened, she would keep her emotions under control.

I now consider this incident my first brush with death - and my first major stroke of good luck. At that age, the skull of an infant is still soft, and a blow to the head could have killed me. As luck would have it, I landed in a way that didn't cause injury.

In life, actions have consequences. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen. But the world isn't on your side. It doesn't care about you at all. You need to give your best effort, and very often this does the trick. But sometimes the world doesn't cooperate, something unexpected happens, and your best efforts don't give you the result you hoped for.

Other times, you're bailed out by something beyond your control. You get lucky.

At this point, somehow it seems appropriate that I should wish you good luck. So here goes...

Whatever you're working hard to achieve in your life, I wish you all the luck in the world!

As if a wish could make a difference. It's a nice sentiment, though. And maybe it will encourage you to keep trying.

More about luck...

Some tips for increasing the odds for good luck...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2012. Building Personal Strength .

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