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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 27, 2010 / 19 Tishrei, 5771

When your child suffers

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At lunch last week my friend told me about his frustration at not being able to do more for his child. My friend's son had narrowly survived a horrendous auto accident with a tractor trailer and was now struggling with its aftermath. The physical, mental and economic consequences of this accident had turned a dynamic young man into a battered survivor. The grit and good cheer with which victims face their fate initially, is a thin veneer. When the flowers and appreciation fade, it is tough day in and day out to live in a very small world where you are dependent on others and bills need to be paid. What do we do when friends, loved ones, and children suffer?

During life's journey we encounter inspirational leaders, motivational speakers and those who give spiritual guidance. My mission is less lofty. I try to provide my fellow travelers in life with some road-side assistance. You may yearn for a value driven life - but sometimes you need a tow truck. So, to help my friend, I told him about lotteries and fairy tales.

I buy lottery tickets as therapy and for ethical guidance. Oh, winning a fortune would be nice, but it is irrational to reasonably and rationally believe you have a probability of winning. Motivated by fear and greed, the slogan, "You can't win if you don't play" convinces the masses to buy lottery tickets. One rule is that each year that you should donate more to charity than you spend gambling. My motivation, and rationalization, for buying lottery tickets is different from most people. After thinking what I would buy (as instructed by my wife) I then assess which individuals, charities, and causes would become beneficiaries. Which charities or causes would use the money best? Even more interesting, is thinking about the reaction and expectations of my friends and family. It is clear that many relationships would change and that conjecture has shaped my outlook. The television series, The Millionaire, had lots of happy endings, but many lottery winners today end up unhappy, and often poor. Once you accept that sudden good fortune is hard to handle, you recognize why sudden misfortune, deserved or not, is even harder to handle.

In the lottery of life, you don't even have to buy a ticket to lose. When tragedy or misfortune hits us, how we react often determines our eventual happiness. When I hear of friends and family praising the victims as having a "great attitude" a red flag goes up. The problem with such praise is that it can encourage or mask what is really denial. A sick child shouldn't be made to be afraid, but encouraging suffering children to put a smile on their face and be brave can cause damage. No child (or adult) should be expected to be cheerful when faced with a disaster. Too much praise, by inference, can mistakenly identify a positive or cheerful attitude as courageous. In times of crisis and despair do not place an additional burden by setting unrealistic standards. Stiff upper lips and false bravado aren't meant to be permanent. A Calvin and Hobbes cartoon by Bill Water, pointed out that, "No situation is so bad that it can't be made worse, by adding guilt." Recovering, rehabilitating victims should be able to complain and cry as they fight back from the brink. Anger and bitterness can either be obstacles or necessary to progress. Most family and friends fear these nasty, negative reactions and become uncomfortable with this dark side of recovery. My advice is that you learn to get past those inspiring Hollywood movies where the hero smiles through his pain, and live in the real world. Being cheerful can sometimes get in the way. Get back to work helping your child or friend to focus on their struggle to find and build their new life. After winning the lottery or losing their health, no one returns to their old life. It is gone.

The second story I told my friend comes from child psychiatrist, Bruno Bettelheim's award winning book, "The Uses of Enchantment - The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales." In one of his cases, a child had totally withdrawn due to infantile autism. She would either do nothing or erupt into tantrums. But the imperative that ruled this child's life was to keep her environment the same and avoid any change. Bettelheim felt that one of the causes of the child's terror associated with change was because she couldn't imagine any change for the better. After extensive therapy finally delivered the child from her isolation, she was asked what characterizes good parents. She replied, "They hope for you." Bettelheim concludes that parents must strive to feel hope for their children and communicate this to their children. Parents should create hope in their children, for themselves and for their future.

This isn't about a positive attitude or self esteem. A fairy tale is as realistic as winning the lottery, but our ability to dream is essential to our humanity. We all need our family and friends to affirm their, and our, dreams. Bruno Bettelheim, a holocaust survivor and child psychologist, said, "We need others to uplift us with their hope for us and our future. We can then build castles in the air, half aware that these are just that, but gaining deep reassurance from it nonetheless. While the fantasy is unreal, the good feelings it gives us about ourselves and our future are real, and these real good feelings are what we need to sustain us." Desperate parents have to dream with, and for, their children. The rest of us can make sure our loved ones know that, "We hope for them."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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