The Sabbath after finding out about the tumour my kids were met with the usual question in JETS Sabbath School: "What was your high and low this week?" This is a great question and usually reaps a slew of stories including scraped knees, birthday parties, tough tests and family adventures.
The Sabbath School teacher told me, during church luncheon, that she was not ready for the answer from Rachael. The teacher didn't know about the tumour and was quite shocked when Rachael said, "My high and low are the same thing. The doctors found a tumour in my dad's brain."
Everyone sat there in stunned silence. Stumbling for a reply, the teacher said, "Really?"
"Yes," Rachael said.
"That is shocking!" The teacher said, "I can understand how that is your low, but how is it your high?"
"It's my high because now they will take it out and Dad will not die," Rachael said. "If they hadn't found the tumour it would have made him more and more sick, very slowly. And it could have killed him if they didn't find it. So, that's a big high. It's my low too, though, because my Dad has to have surgery."
I was amazed when the teacher told me this story. Rachael is only eleven and such an approach to life is so wise and wonderful. Upon reflecting, and due to many comments coming from readers of this blog, I realise how much of an impact our approach to life has on our children. Jenny and I have decided to take a very open approach to this tumour and allow the kids to see, hear and experience the entire journey. This helps us process our grief conscientiously while also encouraging our children to be part of the journey.
This blog is part of this openness. I'm telling my story as clearly, honestly and often as I can. Each time I write a post I read it to the family. We talk about it. We ask questions. We share the journey one blog entry at a time.
I learned something about myself a few years back: when I write a story, I tell it that way from then on. Leadership guru John Maxwell says, "We don't truly know something until we've written it down." Every story has at least two sides. How you tell it is more important than what actually happened to you! Your chosen attitude and storyline will shape you and all those around you. When we tell our story "off the cuff" we unintentionally put our current mood into the story, even though the story is from the past. When I write something, carefully considering each word, phrase and attitude the story takes a more permanent form. It gets told that way from then on. That's a good thing!
My kids are hearing the carefully considered retelling of the stressful story of this tumour saga. They know I have highs and lows each day, but they remember and believe the story as it is told and retold. And so do I.
"Your story matters! Tell it well. Tell it often."
- Dave Edgren, Storyteller
Invite Dave to speak to your crowd today!
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
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It's great that you are being so open and honest with your children. We try to do the same with ours. When I was in high school my dad had to have major heart surgery. My parents decided to keep the whole thing from us until just before the surgery. Their reasoning was that since they didn't know when the surgery was going to take place they didn't want us worrying for a long time. The problem with that was that when I found out a whole range of emotions hit me all at once and I was a major mess. I had been given no time to process anything and all of a sudden my dad was going to go and have surgery and may not be coming home. That experience was a major learning time of my life and it made me realise that hiding things from or sheltering our children in an attempt to protect them may not always produce the results we want.ReplyDelete