Compassion. Got it?

People naturally have compassion when they are born, but we are hardened by life circumstances and we tend to lose touch with this attribute. Usually we don’t even realize it. I use the word, “attribute”, because sadly, that is exactly what it is in our world now.

I was discussing a life situation with a friend not too long ago, and the phrase, “lack of compassion” came up. I had never stopped to really think about that before. It enlightened me to understanding a long term, hurtful situation in a very different way. It opened my eyes to something I thought was a total loss because that person had been so hardened by life circumstances that their behavior mirrored only what they had grown accustomed to. That’s where the issue lies- that person doesn’t even realize they projected such a lack of compassion toward me, that it did grave damage. I walked away saddened, knowing full well that it would take some realization of the problem on the other person’s part to repair the circumstances. To me, that feels like a dead end and it sucks so much of my energy that it seems not worth my time.

People’s lack of compassion trickles down to affect others who end up paying the price for that sort of behavior. We are all guilty of it. People who are annoyed by something turn around with varying degrees of angst and sometimes lash out at the next person they encounter, or they seem “selfish”, in another’s view.

People are kind in general, but we are toughened by what goes on in the world around us every day. I know this to be true as I age. The fast paced lives we choose to live are to blame for this. I don’t like to use the words, “stressed out” to describe myself, because I know that everything we do is a choice and that phrase has become cliche’. We choose to put ourselves in those situations or make choices in our lives that breed lack of compassion without thinking ahead.  It’s become some people’s first nature to get angry with someone rather than be patient or to try a different approach. Projected anger has become more commonplace, though it is less than acceptable behavior.

Look again at the example, of what’s going on in the airline industry today. When I was growing up, my father worked for a large commercial airline and we dressed nicely when we flew. Nobody on the plane was in any unacceptable attire that I can remember. Today I see adults in pajamas that look like they haven’t brushed their hair in 3 days and they are boarding a flight with men in business suits. Why is that now acceptable in society and why aren’t those people compassionate enough toward themselves to feel worthy of putting on a decent pair of pants for the day? Since when is it acceptable to punch someone for sitting in your seat? These are intolerant (and righteous) actions, and there are kids watching their every move and absorbing it all. Those people have no compassion in trying to work a situation out or being kind to themselves or another. People are seeing it done and so they do it too.

I usually try to see the true reason behind that type of behavior. Maybe they are having a really hard time with something else. I don’t know what is going on in that person’s world and their life may be so out of whack and unbalanced that they aren’t able to grasp their compassion. It’s a good philosophy, I suppose. We all search for the good because it seems there is less and less of it.

So, next time someone cuts me off the road, I will try my best to be more compassionate. Rather than my occasional flipping-of-the-bird when I pass them, I’ll try to remember to flip them a Peace sign instead.

Do you think you are Compassionate?

 

Her mind is wondering. So is mine. Perspective.

My 16 year old daughter texted me this morning.  “Everyone sees me as being a house-wife in the future.” Chuckling, I replied, “What’s wrong with that? If that’s what you want to do- Go For It!” She went on to say that it makes her feel like she is incapable of being successful in the workforce. I laughed again,  first, because I know her dry sense of humor and second, because whatever this girl chooses to do in her life, she will do well. She is strong and capable and takes no crap from anyone.

I told her that she should have something to fall back on, should she ever be in the position that I am in life – single with a family to support.

“I don’t want to be a house-wife, I don’t want people to only see me being capable of that.” She said.  I told her there is nothing wrong with staying home with your family. To be home with your children is a very lucky position to be in. There are millions of women (and now men too) all over the world who cannot stay home with their families because they can’t afford to do so. As a result, the kids sometimes get into trouble because have no one to turn to in a time that they could use some parenting. Meanwhile, it’s coming to light, in my own mind, that her view on staying home with a family is seriously flawed due to our society’s opinion.  That is the only thing wrong with this picture to me.

Her text was enlightening because I have no doubt she will go places in her life. Second, it brought to mind the families who do have 2 working parents in the house or a single parent who works. The guilt they must feel for not being there with their kids when they need them most must be crushing. I have always believed that kids prominently need supervising adults (or parents) in their lives the most when they are in middle school and high school.

I have recently come into a renewed relationship with “Mother’s Guilt” as I call it, or the feeling of not being home when the kids are. Unfortunately, I now know it better than ever right now.  For me, this is very profound because I have always been there with them. I had helpers at times when I was pregnant or when my 7th was on his way and had 5 still in diapers, but I wasn’t one to have full time nannies raising my children. I wanted to do it. I had a husband who didn’t want me to work, although I always had my hand in something design-wise or real estate related. My internal thought process was- If I could earn enough money to pay for a first class vacation to somewhere we hadn’t been before, I felt I was worth something.

Years later, people would ask me why I choose to work in real estate and I would tell them, “Self worth.”

Self  Worth ?! – (WTF?)   It was something I just said.  I never thought about the meaning of it. Hmmmm… Sadly, that’s exactly what it was, and being someone who wears my heart on my sleeve, that’s what I said. If I only stayed home with kids, I was ‘less-than’ to myself, and I didn’t even realize it.  On the contrary, I could actually afford to stay home at the time and didn’t take advantage of that in my own mind. That’s too bad because I missed out on the true fulfillment of that feeling.  Boy, that was a blessing and a gift and nothing to be ashamed of.

What a pity that I was so hard on myself back then and took ME for granted. Now, I look back on that thought process and know how very warped it was. I have always been told things by other people like, I was worth my weight in gold, I created and grew 7 human beings inside my body, and people asked how I did it all. I don’t know how I did it, I still don’t know. I just did it.

Now, I am guiding all my kids and giving them my outlook on life. Let me tell you, it is not easy and I have my work cut out for me. My days include a plethora of challenges with each of them, in addition to work, but this is the life I chose to have and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Now, after 25 years of marriage, I find myself alone. I am expected to work, and contribute to making money to support my family. I don’t have a choice to stay home with them if I want to, although I do my best to be there when they arrive from school.

Interesting how life changes like that.

Well, Hello !

I’ve been told for years that I should write a Book, have a Reality Show, etc.  Here is my first attempt to share my no nonsense lifestyle and raising a big family by myself.

My Name is Michelle Wilson. I’m the mother of 7 children- Twins, Triplets and 2 Singletons, and I reside in the Denver Metro area in Colorado, USA. My oldest is 24, the Twins are 16, Triplets are 14 and the youngest is 11. I’ve got 5 boys and 2 girls. I was married for 25 years before I finally ended it. I am a licensed and seasoned Real Estate Broker with a degree in Visual Communications/Space Design. I also hold a Guinness World Record for the Largest Birthweight Triplets in the U.S.

My blog will talk about family issues, what’s right and what’s wrong in life, lessons taught and lessons learned, my dating escapades and silly opinions in my “say it like it is” way.

Please leave your opinion and let me know in the Comments Section if you would like to see something on my Blog. Be kind, because that is what I strive for every day. 

Thank you for being a part,

Michelle

My Tough Love

My oldest son went to a rough wilderness camp in his sophomore year of high school, at age 15.

He was cutting up at home and would disappear from his school classes daily and I would watch his attendance throughout the day. When I would see him “go missing”, I would load up my stroller with my youngest baby in tow, and FIND HIM (I always found him). I did this for many months and I would walk him back, and put him in his classes every day. Sometimes he even had the balls to leave the class after I went back home.

So, when I had enough of that, I un-enrolled him (with the Dean’s approval and a plan) from high school and sent him to live on the boundary waters between the US and Canada for a month.

He carried canoes across frozen lakes and sometimes camped alone in below freezing temperatures with minimal food. No showers, no soap, and when food was gone- it was gone. He slept in snow, mud and rain, if he didn’t build his shelter properly as he was taught to when he arrived. He learned to lean on the other kids he was traveling with and that he couldn’t physically live without those supportive relationships for that time. He learned to appreciate his family who loved him, but were not there to pick him back up anymore when he fell.

My God, how I cried so hard as he went up the escalator at the Denver airport to board the plane- but I didn’t cry in front of him.   Was I doing the right thing? – He agreed to go. Was I turning my kid over to, what felt like, “men in white coats”? – He agreed to go. Would he really be ok? – He agreed to go. Will he freeze to death? Will he hate me when he comes back? We had no means of contact….   THIS was tough love and I had a profound relationship with the parents of the other 6 kids that went too. Not all children are meant to learn the same way, as we NOW know in our society. I wish we had the same awareness when I was in school.

The experience straightened him out. My son is now 24 and says it was the best and roughest experience of his life; and he graduated from high school- on time and right along with his regular class of 2010. He has a sincere appreciation for the outdoors and is a very kind, calm, creative and caring person. He’s in and out of college on his own schedule at the age of 24 and is a Psychology major with an English minor. I am so proud of my boy.

Not all kids are ready to push through school on regular time, as I have come to learn. They should be able to experience dirt, mud, water, nature, or whatever else is of interest to them. Im a better mother for the knowledge I now have. My children will now do things in their own time, but I will always be there watching to make sure the outcome is gratifying, educational, prosperous, and worthwhile.